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Genre Motif / Hip-Hop

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Back in the days of old school rap, Hip-Hop was often used as part of someone who is Totally Radical. With the rise of popularity of hardcore hip-hop and the far more aggressive gangsta rap, rap is now used as a motif for anything related to the darker aspects of street life. If you hear hip hop in the soundtrack, you can be sure that everything is taking place on the wrong side of the law.

"Conscious" hip hop artists such as Mos Def, A Tribe Called Quest, or Common may be used in a soundtrack to give an urban-yet-indie feel.



  • The Fast and the Furious series runneth over with this kind of motif. Even the third movie which takes place in Japan (I WONDAA IF YOO KNO HOW THEY RIIBU IN TO-KY-O!!! IF YOO SIIN IT AND YOU FEERIIT DEN YOO KNO YOO HABU TOO GO! FAST AND FURIUUUUUS!!!)
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas also plays this one; although you can listen to any kind of music in the radio (although you a busta if you do,) most of the music featured in the cutscenes is gangsta rap.
  • The delinquent hotrods in Cars are introduced blasting hip-hop from their speakers.
  • The Wire doesn't have any actual soundtrack, but gangster characters are often introduced by a steady hip-hop beat coming from their car stereo.
  • Samurai Champloo:Hip Hop::Cowboy Bebop:Jazz
  • Pretty much completely averted in Skins when Cassie's kindly middle-aged driver starts blasting "Move, Bitch" by Ludacris.
    • The background character Posh Kenneth pretty much exists solely to take the piss out of this trope.
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    • And referenced in a crazy Funny Moment in JJ's S4 episode when he and his equally nice mum are in a ludicrously cute 2CV singing along to "Vicks", "My Hooker" and "White Ladies" (written for the show by Fat Segal and Daniel Kaluuya - the bloke who played Posh Kenneth - but you can probably guess what they sound like from the titles).
  • Unsurprisingly all over the Def Jam Series since it was licensed by the record company of the same name and featured many Hip Hop and Rap artists as fighters.
  • The announcement that MadWorld would have a hip-hop/rap soundtrack surprised many people. Then the game came out.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann uses rap as a general motif of sticking it to the man in some of its songs, most notably the aptly titled "Rap is a Man's Soul", better known as "Raw Raw Fight The Power". It may also contain the only example of a song combining rap and opera.
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  • Dance Academy has the sweet but rebellious girl Kat Karamazov live and breathe hip-hop. When there is street-dancing in the series, it tends to involve hip-hop.
  • Starbomb is heavily influenced by hip hop.
  • The gangster controlling the block in Attack the Block produces his own Gangsta Rap, which shows off how much he's romanticised his own image of being a gangster. The other character in the movie shown prominently listening to hip-hop is the wealthy white college student who goes to the block to buy weed from the gang members, whose taste in music combined with his clueless contribution to the social conditions that produced all the music he likes is used for deliberate irony.
  • Spoofed in A Touch of Cloth in the "Undercover Cloth" arc. Jack goes into a Bad-Guy Bar and pounding hip-hop starts playing, but the lyrics literally describe what the characters are doing.
  • In Ain't No Grave, Bucky Barnes, despite being a white guy who was born nearly a hundred years ago, develops a fondness for gangsta rap. He is a tough guy with a Dark and Troubled Past so it fits thematically, even if it is amusingly incongruous when Captain America's buddy who grew up during Prohibition starts making Wu-Tang Clan references.
  • The Dynamite Twins And Friends is heavily influenced by hip-hop and graffiti. Especially from the 80s and 90s.


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