Hip-Hop Week continues! Let’s take to the streets where Just Blaze provided a soundtrack to streetball that still bangs today!
NBA Street Vol. 2 is a high watermark for arcade sports games. It found a brilliant balance between accessibility, depth, and swag for days. Though it’s been a while since I played it, one of the things that always stuck with me is its music. Look past the licensed tracks and you’ll find a killer selection of beats by Just Blaze, who was one of the hottest producers at the time, and still one of my faves to this day.
Here’s a pair of tracks that really stand out to me, but you should check out the whole soundtrack when you get a chance!
Starting off with a swaying drum beat, “Wurlitzer Track” builds on itself with growly Wurlitzer chords, organ stabs, and tops it off with a few piano twinkles. Always loved the strutting pace of this track, especially in contrast to the higher-tempo songs that make up the rest of the game’s soundtrack. Can’t stop nodding my head any time it comes on.
A chunky guitar line is offset by assorted synth beeps, a knocking beat, and assorted vocal samples. Love the blend of old-school and new-school sounds on this one. Not sure if either of these beats ever got used in actual songs, but it would be awesome to hear rappers spit to this, even if these beats may not be in fashion at the moment.
This game and its music was a bit of a watershed moment for me. In an age of Napster, it was the first time I had access to video game music outside of the games themselves. This is one of the first video game soundtracks I listened to removed from its original context. Finding great original hip-hop music in video games can be tough, but these still stand as some of my faves!