2K1 Brings “Da Goodness”
Following up the success of NBA 2K, SEGA and Visual Concepts came back on another level. A.I. was once again tapped for the cover, but new online gaming possibilities were one of the first features that helped the 2K series stand out. Keeping Iverson as the front meant a lot, as far as popularity goes, who was bigger than him in 2001? The only bigger than the cover, was the main menu track, instrumentals from Redman’s song Da Goodness.
The illest element to this feature was placing just the instrumental on the game is such a hip-hop thing to do. It said that developers got the pulse of the culture, by believing that all gamers interested in the series needed to set the tone of the game was a great beat. Redman’s classic was a top choice.
2K6: The Stars Align
Fast forward a few years into the series and NBA 2K is sold to Take-Two Interactive and spearheaded by game publishers at 2K Sports. With new backing, comes new ideas and by time we reach NBA 2K5, a soundtrack sold separately from the game is available for fans. The real innovation came by NBA 2K6, when well known hip artists like Redman, The Roots and Common and producer J. Dilla made classic cuts for the 2K soundtrack: NBA 2K6: The Tracks.
2K7: The Warm Up
By the time 2K7 rolled around, gameplay features like the Signature Style, that captured individual stars actual movements (i.e., Kobe’s fadeaway jumper, Dwyane Wade’s two-step) and The Association mode, a precursor to what now is the MyPlayer and MyCareer experience, had put it over the top. Even the subtle tilt control free throw features was ill. Who can forget icing a game and looking over at your friend with a smug smile while calmly moving your hands forward with a follow through? Classic shade.
And the music? Not only had 2K reached new heights with current artists of the time like Slim Thug, Fabolous and Mos Def, but they brought us back with classic tracks from A Tribe Called Quest. Some hip hop producers can’t even do that for an album, today.
2K11: MetaWorld Music?
The soundtrack for 2K11 featured some true rap heavyweights. Cassidy, Drake, Big Boi from Outkast all had songs featured on the game. Snoop Dogg even did a theme song for game. But nothing beats out Metta World Peace, aka Ron Artest, aka the Pandas Friend blessing the rap world with his song champions.
2K13: Jay Z Makes His Takeover
In terms of other choices for basketball video games, competition was none for the 2K series at this point. To make matters worse for the opposition, 2K coupled with the current curator of cool, Jay Z to have the leader of Roc Nation executive produce the soundtrack. Kanye West’s Amazing (a song also used by the NBA for promos), Nas’ The World Is Yours and Jay’s own Public Service Announcement were just a few of the tracks that stood as a testament to just how popular the game had become. Hip hop had helped bring the game to new heights and by working with Jigga, the guy who sets a tone for pop culture, the NBA 2K series could loudly say the same about running the gaming world.
2K15: Happy To Have Pharrell
The game’s current installment, NBA 2K15, is curated by hip hop’s current king midas, Pharrell. Everything he’s touched happily turns into gold and the games soundtrack is no different. A Tribe Called Quest returns with perhaps their most well known song scenario, while Pharrell himself can be felt all over the soundtrack through songs from Clipse, Snoop Dogg and the Happiest guy in rap himself. They even threw Skateboard P in the game for a little added dopeness.