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!