The Game: Grand Theft Auto San Andreas
Developer: Rockstar North
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Platforms: PS2, Ps3, XBOX, XBOX 360, PC, iOS
Release: October 24, 2004
I’ve been a huge fan of the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series since I was a kid. My first experience playing the game was when I got Grand Theft Auto 2 on the Playstation One for Christmas when I was maybe 12 or so years old and it blew my mind. I remember spending hours on the game, playing through all of the missions, using cheat codes I had scribbled down in my video game notebook – it was such a fun experience. Unfortunately I didn’t have a Playstation 2 growing up, but I did get to play bits and pieces of GTA Vice City, GTA San Andreas, and GTA III at my friends houses. It wasn’t until about 5 years ago that I bought a copy of GTA San Andreas and even after playing GTA V (which was amazing too), San Andreas is still my favourite instalment in the series.
For one, it is because the game has a complete nostalgic feel for me. Because I was only able to play San Andreas for maybe an hour or so at a time growing up, it always made me want to play the game even more each. When I eventually bought it and played the game, it filled that void that I felt as a kid. I was finally able to play through the game and it instantly became one of my favourites. At the time I purchased the game, I was also getting more into early 90’s Hip-Hop, so the whole setting, soundtrack, story and characters became so appealing to me.
Without giving too much away, the game puts you in the shoes of CJ, a young kid involved with the “Grove Street Gang,” growing up in the fictional city of Los Santos, (pretty much Los Angeles), figuring out his place in the gang, and trying to rise to the top. San Andreas’ setting is heavily influenced by 90’s Hip-Hop culture, and the game really helped me appreciate the songs that were released in that era.
Here are 3 albums that I recommend to listen to while you play Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. For this blog post, since I’m writing about a game with a kid growing up in the streets of the West Coast, I chose 3 debut studio Hip-Hop albums by some of the best rappers to come out of California.
Good Kid M.A.A.D. City – Kendrick Lamar
First off, let me just say that Good Kid M.A.A.D. City (GKMC) is on my top 5 favourite Hip-Hop album list of all time. This album got robbed of the “Rap Album of the Year” Grammy in 2014, which single-handedly made me hate Macklemore to this day (His album won that year). I’m not kidding when I say that GKMC is amazing. With this debut studio album, Kendrick blew up onto the mainstream Hip-Hop scene in a huge way.
Before this album came out, I listened to Kendrick’s previous projects, O(verly) D(edicated), and Section.80, but I only liked a few tracks on the mixtapes. But when GKMC dropped, I swear I had the album on replay, start to finish, for a solid couple of weeks. Kendrick’s West Coast flow and story telling ability is on full display on this album, and its perfect to listen to while playing some San Andreas.
Favourite Track: Poetic Justice (featuring Drake)
The Documentary – The Game
When I think of L.A. gangsta rap, one of the first names that I think about is The Game. The Documentary was released in 2005, when I was in about grade 7 I think, and listening to “How We Do” for the first time at that age changed my life. I was already a huge 50 Cent fan, so with The Game being a part of G-Unit, I already liked him. It really is a shame that the beef between 50 and The Game happened – think about the kinds of collaborations that we could have had during all those years that they were feuding.
The Documentary also produced a great deal of controversy, over writing credits between 50 and The Game. It was a back and forth between the two about who wrote which song, and so forth, but regardless of all that, The Documentary is a great album despite all the drama. It’s almost fitting to listen to an album that has so much history, as you progress through CJ’s story in GTA San Andreas.
Favourite Track: Church for Thugs
Doggystyle – Snoop Dogg
The Doggfather. If anything spells West Coast Hip-Hop, it’s the Long Beach native himself, Snoop D-O-Double G. Snoop was essential in the rise of popularity of West Coast Hip Hop in the 90’s, and a lot of that had to do with Doggystyle. That iconic G-Funk sound with Snoop’s laid back smooth flow was a combination for success, and despite Snoop Dogg’s scrawny frame, Doggystyle birthed a heavyweight for the West Coast in the battle of East Coast-West Coast Hip-Hop supremacy.
Doggystyle could pretty much be the soundtrack to Grand Theft Auto San Andreas on it’s own. This album was released only a year after the beginning of the events of San Andreas, so playing both at the same time puts you in the right mood and helps fully immerse you in the game.
Favourite Track: Who Am I? (Whats My Name?) (featuring Jewell, Dr. Dre and Tony Green)
- Westside Story – The Game
- Sherane a.k.a. Master Splinter’s Daughter – Kendrick Lamar
- Who Am I (What’s My Name) – Snoop Dogg
- Dreams – The Game
- Money Trees (featuring Jay Rock) – Kendrick Lamar
- GZ and Hustlas (featuring Nancy Fletcher) – Snoop Dogg
- How We Do (featuring 50 Cent) – The Game
- m.A.A.d city (featuring MC Eiht) – Kendrick Lamar
- Gin and Juice (featuring Daz) – Snoop Dogg
- Church for Thugs – The Game
- Poetic Justice (featuring Drake) – Kendrick Lamar
- Doggy Dogg World (featuring The Dramatics & Tha Dogg Pound) – Snoop Dogg