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A Short History Of Public Enemy's Video Game Appearances
February 12th, 2017

Public Enemy's rise in the eighties coincided with the rise of video games as a mainstream entertainment platform, so perhaps unsurprisingly, Public Enemy and their music have made frequent appearances in video games throughout the last three decades.

Always eager to embrace new technology and new ways to deliver their message, Public Enemy's music has appeared on the soundtracks for some of gaming's biggest hits, including Activision's Tony Hawk Pro Skater series, as well as Rockstar's envelope-pushing megahit Grand Theft Auto franchise. Remixes of "Bring the Noise" have appeared in Activision's Guitar Hero and DJ Hero franchises as well.

While most artists would be content with simply having their songs grace the soundtrack for dozens of hit games, Public Enemy has embraced the medium much further than simply appearing on the soundtrack -- members of the band have appeared as playable characters in multiple games throughout the years.

Public Enemy's first playable appearance in a video game was in the mostly forgotten about 1995 Super Nintendo basketball game Rap Jam. Published by Motown Games, a short-lived spin-off of the Motown record label, Rap Jam gathered some of the biggest hip hop acts of the early 90's, including LL Cool J, Warren G, Queen Latifah, and of course, Public Enemy, and put them against each other in a game of street ball.

Flavor Flav made a bigger appearance in Electronic Arts' hip hop themed brawler, Def Jam: Fight for New York, which was released in 2004 for the Sony Playstation 2, the original Microsoft Xbox, and Nintendo's Gamecube. The game, which also featured appearances from Method Man, Joe Budden, Red Man, Fat Joe, Snoop Dogg, and avid gamer Ice T, pit hip hop's biggest superstars against each other in a brutal, no holds barred street brawl. Flav brought a unique, humorous fighting style to the game, and players could earn his iconic medallions to customize their own characters with. The game was well received by critics and maintains a dedicated cult following to this day, more than ten years after the game was originally released.

Michael Lacerna for PublicEnemy.com