Hip Hop Tracks for a Gambling Playlist

For a long time now there’s been a connection between hip-hop and gambling culture. The obvious tie-ins are in the endless collections of lyrics that deal with themes about money and glamour, and sometimes even directly gambling. But there are also plenty of examples of major hip-hop stars who have active places in casino culture. For example, Nelly has been known to compete at the World Series of Poker, and Lil Wayne is a gambling enthusiast as well. There is even a video of Lil Wayne, Bow Wow, and Birdman doing some impromptu gambling on a pool table during a recording session!

But beyond lyrical tie-ins and connections of hip-hop stars to gambling tables, sometimes it just seems as if hip-hop is the right genre for poker and other casino games. That’s not to say every single hip-hop song can get you in the right mindset—for instance, a slow-burning lyrical masterpiece like Eminem’s “Stan” might just make you think too much, or something particularly upbeat like Kanye’s “Monster” might be distracting. But generally speaking, the rhythm and flow of a lot of hip-hop songs can be perfect for keeping you focused and engaged while you gamble.

This is particularly helpful in online gaming, where you have the freedom to throw on whatever music you like as you play. Most online gaming platforms actually come complete with various soundtracks and sound effects, all meant to keep you entertained and attached to the games. The strategy has been employed for nearly two decades at Intercasino, the oldest online casino still in operation, where games come complete with musical themes. For example, the “Aladdin’s Legacy” slot game has musical accompaniment reminiscent of Ubisoft’s Prince of Persia games, which so many associate with the Aladdin fiction. This familiar music helps to keep the game engaging and satisfying.

But a lot of independent gamers who play online would still prefer to rely on their own soundtracks and favorite songs, rather than trust the built-in music to keep things interesting. Particularly when you move past slots and arcade games and into blackjack and poker, having the perfect tunes on can help you get zoned in on the game—so why not turn to the genre that’s already tied so frequently to gambling?

Here are a few hip-hop tracks we’d suggest to get your gambling playlist off to a good start.

“1,2 1,2 ft. Snoop Dogg” – Raekwon

We highlighted this track in a recent post, noting its raw quality and the production skill of Scoop DeVille. It’s not the most soothing track for “zoning in” on an online poker game, but its gambling ties make it appropriate. For starters, any blackjack player will see cards in the title (even though it’s 1,2 and not “21”), and the horns that play in the background almost call to mind the big band culture associated with the early days of Vegas.

“P.I.M.P.” – 50 Cent

“Come get money with me,” “we could pop some champagne,” etc. This song is pretty much all about excess and riches, which makes it perfect, thematically. It’s also strangely hypnotic for a fairly upbeat track, and its reggae-ish steel drum background can at times almost sound like some of the big winner alarms and sirens you hear throughout a real casino.

“It’s OK” – Eminem

This largely forgotten track from Slim Shady is oddly haunting, and has a calming, repetitive quality that can be perfect for helping you to zero in your focus. It was also listed by Las Vegas Advisor as one of the ultimate gambling songs, probably due to a second verse that starts off, “I’m going for broke, gambling and playing for keeps.”

“Never Too Much Money” – Gucci Mane

The title is pretty much a giveaway for why this Gucci Mane track would be good for your gambling playlist. But the song itself has a nice fit and the never-ending up-and-down beat can lull you into a deep focus.

That should be a good start. Keep in mind, particularly with online gaming, music is part of casino culture anyway. When you have the ability to create your own soundtrack, you may as well take the time to design it well!

Eminem annotates classic lyrics

Here’s the most fascinating story this week in hip hop.

Eminem went on Genius and annotated 42 lyrics from his extensive, classic catalogue.

Oooh, this was awesome. Among the tidbits revealed were how Eminem did “My Name Is” in one take, the origin of his Slim Shady persona, inspirations and creative processes for the likes of “Lose Yourself”, “Stan”, and “Sing for the Moment” and even the shoulder-shrug way he, 50, and Dre decided “In Da Club” would be the first single off Get Rich or Die Tryin’.

Here’s the link for all of the annotations and some of the excerpts below.

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Eminem recalled his first studio session with Dr. Dre and the creation of “My Name Is,” a song that was recorded in one take and launched him into superstardom:

Dre put on the Labi Siffre record, and I was just like “Hi! My name is!” That beat was talking to me. I was like, “Yo, this is it, this is my shot. If I don’t impress this guy, I’m going back home and I’m fucked.” I knew Dre wasn’t an easy person to please. I made sure that everything he had a beat for, I had a rhyme ready to go, or I came up with a rhyme on the spot

“My Name Is” was the first thing that came out of my mouth that first day I was at Dre’s house. I don’t know if we released what I did the first day or if I re-did it, but it was basically the same. I didn’t understand punching, or believe in it. So I would just go from the top of the song all the way down. I was never flying in hooks. Everything was live, one take. If I got all the way to the fucking end, and messed up the last word, I’d be like “Run it back, let’s do it again.” I remember Dre was like “Yo, are you fucking crazy? Let’s just punch.” I didn’t like that concept because I wasn’t used to it. When we were recording here in Detroit, in the beginning, I was saving up my money to go in. We only had an hour, you know? I’m like “One take down, alright, let’s go to the next song. Fuck it.” That’s what I was used to.

Marshall explained where the name “Slim Shady” came from in an annotation on the song “Just Don’t Give A Fuck”:

Coming out with an alias was part of Proof’s whole idea. He said, “Let’s be in a group called D12, and there will be six of us, and we’ll each have an alias. We’ll each be two different people.” When I started rapping as Shady, as that character, it was a way for me to vent all my frustrations and just blame it on him. If anybody got mad about it, it was him that said it, you know what I’m saying? It was a way for me to be myself and say what I felt. I never wanted to go back to just rapping regular again.

On how the lyrics of Dido’s “Thank You” helped inspire “Stan”:

When I heard “your picture on my wall,” I was like “Yo, this could be about somebody who takes me too seriously.” So I knew what I was going to write about before I wrote it. A lot of times when I’m writing songs, I see visions for everything I’m writing. This was one of those.

On the decision to make “In Da Club” the first single off 50 Cent‘s Interscope debut:

We couldn’t decide on the first single from Get Rich. It was going to be either “If I Can’t” or “In Da Club.” We were torn, so me, 50, Paul, Chris Lighty, and Jimmy Iovine decided to flip a coin.

Eminem also annotated a vintage Biggie/2Pac Freestyle from 1999, commenting on past and present MCs:

There’s people who rap to make songs, just because they enjoy doing it and want to express themselves. And then there are people who rap competitively. I believe that anybody who competitively raps — like Drake and Kendrick and Jay Z — raps to be the best rapper. People diss each other, but it’s more in the vein of “How can I kill you with record sales? Or with a flow? How can I be better than you at making records, at punchlines, metaphors, wordplay, syllables?”

But when you have two rappers like Biggie and 2Pac getting into it, you get the hip hop community torn. No one wants to see something real happen. If for a second you entertain the idea of that being entertaining, if something ever happened out of that? No. That’s not healthy.

New Eminem in ‘Southpaw’ trailer

Up above is the all-new, first look trailer at Southpaw — starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams (love her.) Gyllenhaal is a boxer with a wife and a daughter, but after a tragedy he turns to drugs and alcohol before cleaning up and planning one more comeback. The story has more depth than what I just surmised in just the trailer above so watch and see some of the other events that unfold. In fact, it may have given away too much but I am absolutely hooked and want to see this movie now (so job well done, trailer makers.) Plus, if you can’t draw a parallel to Eminem here…

As you can see, the headline is indeed part of the reason for posting too. Eminem prefaced sharing the trailer as a “sneak peak of some new stuff I’ve been working on.” The song, at the end, sounds pretty good so far and I wonder if it’ll stick over the long-term more than “Guts Over Fear” ended up doing for me and the masses last year.

Also starring in the movie by the way: Forest Whitaker, 50 Cent (you’ll see him in the trailer), and not in the trailer but on IMDB: Rita Ora and Tyrese.

G-Unit ‘The Beast Is G-Unit EP’

G-Unit is back again with their first project since last fall — a 6 track EP titled The Beast Is G-Unit.

It’s available on iTunes and streaming on Spotify below. I’ll see if 50 & Co. have another hit or two up their sleeves here.

50 Cent details new Eminem collab

New 50 & Eminem?! I’m always in for a listen to that. And from 50’s quick conceptual preview, I’m even more intrigued about what will be called “Champions.”

It sounds like one of those hit records you’ve heard from Eminem in the past with an R&B singer on the chorus. It’s one of those songs that he wrote his portion of the song before I got there.

– 50 Cent

I wonder who the singer will be. Watch the full interview below. #TBT on the pic too.

BONUS: Here’s a preview of G-Unit’s upcoming EP, Before The Beast. “Boy Boy” features the crew, sans Lloyd Banks, over production from !llmind, Jake One, and G-Koop.

http://dopefile.com/embed/dfpd/player.php?c=mwvqnyp53h8m&t=01-05-%20Boy%20Boy%20%5BExplicit%5D.mp3&id=hide

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