The old Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games are timeless classics. Even though their graphics are quaint, the gameplay holds up like a fine wine. The series' downfall is tragic, but fans will always have eight incredible titles to play. One of the best aspects of the series is its licensed music.
Neversoft always picked the best of the best form a variety of genres to include on their releases. The following list will focus on the hip hop selections, highlighting the 10 best tracks. Given the sheer amount of heaters on each game's soundtrack, it was virtually impossible to include everyone's personal favorites.
10 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2: Anthrax And Public Enemy - Bring The Noise
This song is the second version recorded. The original was a more straightforward hip hop jam, but a couple of years later Anthrax approached Public Enemy about doing a heavy metal interpretation, and the collaboration arguably kick-started a new sub-genre of hip hop and rap.
It gets on the list for more than its relevance, however. The song rocks as hard as it grooves, making it perfect for ripping up lines at a school or hangar
9 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3: Del The Funky Homosapien - If You Must
Those unaware of this artist and his tune before Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 must have been mighty perplexed by the bizarre lyrics present in "If You Must." One rarely expects rappers to espouse the virtues of good hygiene.
Despite the strange subject matter, he manages to pull off an impressive flow set behind a catchy beat. It's also great advice for skaters, who are undoubtedly sweaty and smelly after a long day of skating.
8 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4: NWA - Express Yourself
The fourth mainline game was the first one to free players from the confines of a two-minute time limit. Instead, levels were significantly larger and objectives were triggered by talking to NPCs.
With the bigger scope came a larger, more varied set list. N.W.A.'s "Express Yourself" was one of the classics put on the track list. The song features a surprisingly positive rap for the group and is a far cry from the music Dr. Dre would start producing just a couple of years later.
7 Tony Hawk's Underground: Nas - The World Is Yours
Nas was just twenty years old when his debut album, Illmatic, came out. Simply putting out a record at such an age is impressive enough, but every track on it is pure fire. Neversoft was smart enough to include "The World Is Yours" on the series' fifth mainline entry.
Had any other song from the same album been there instead, it still would have made it onto the list. Nas hasn't recaptured the same magic on later records, but having one phenomenal album is more than most other people can ever say.
6 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2: Dub Pistols - Cyclone
Dub Pistols are an eclectic mix of reggae, electronic, and hip hop. "Cyclone" is the perfect balance between all the styles they regularly exhibit. The samples never get in the way of the live music, and vice versa. The song is so good, nobody pays attention to their odd pronunciation of the song's title.
This style of music was huge in the late '90s, so it was a no-brainer to get them in on the soundtrack. Despite the genre not being as popular as it once was, the song manages not to feel dated.
5 Tony Hawk's Project 8: Living Legends - Moving At The Speed Of Life
Tony Hawk's Project 8 was the only good sixth generation game of the series. It all went downhill afterward. As the last fun entry, it still delivered a nice soundtrack with a solid mix recognizable hits and hidden gems.
Living Legends are an underground hip hop supergroup, and "Moving at the Speed of Life" showcases all the MCs' skills. True to its title, the rhymes are lightning-fast, but the groove is simultaneously laid back, giving the tune a unique vibe.
4 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2: The High And Mighty - B-Boy Document 99
The first game's soundtrack mostly consisted of rock tunes, so it was nice to see the sequel diversify its tracklist more with hip hop. They didn't strive for the biggest hits of time, instead going for more underground sensations.
This is no better exemplified than with The High and Mighty's "B-Boy Document 99," which also features Mos Def. While "Hands On Experience Pt.II" is a better song from the same record, its lyrical content would have made its inclusion impossible in a rated T game.
3 Tony Hawk's Underground 2: Sugarhill Gang - Rapper's Delight
"Rapper's Delight" was one of the first hip-hop tunes to introduce the genre to a more mainstream audience. Before the days of sampling, a band had to play the loop over and over again for the entire fifteen-minute track without error.
While some of the text is quaint by today's standards, the record's influence cannot be mistaken. Besides, the groove is still a blast for dancing. Given the series' affinity for the genre, it made sense to include this iconic track eventually.
2 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4: Gang Starr - Mass Appeal
According to the song's producer, DJ Primer, "Mass Appeal" was meant to parody the more radio-friendly hip hop sound, which explains its simplicity. This is exactly what gets the loop stuck in one's ear, making it unforgettable.
These days it stands as one of the best hip hop songs of the '90s, which is an impressive accomplishment when considering the amount of all-time classics released during that decade.
1 Tony Hawk's Underground: Cannibal Ox - Iron Galaxy
Cannibal Ox's sound is difficult to describe. It's futuristic like it came from outer space, but also perfectly encapsulates late '90s and early aughts Harlem where the duo came from. "Iron Galaxy" was produced by El-P, who is more famous now for being one half of Run the Jewels.
The smooth, spacey music is supported by a simple, but hard-hitting drum beat, and is the ideal music for tearing up New Jersey, Tampa, or Hawaii.