Saturday, 29 October 2016

Saturday Soundtracks: GTA San Andreas Theme Song

GTA 3 was big, a full playground in three dimensions that full realised what the meagre Playstation was trying to achieve with the first two releases. Vice City expanded on the former, with a full story with all the 80s music and tropes you could ever wish to have in all of the main and side missions, plus helicopters, boats and loads more besides. 

But at some five times the size of Vice City, itself a large world to play in, GTA San Andreas is an absolute monster of a game and at times it's amazing to think of how Rockstar managed to pack so much into just a Playstation 2 disc.

As I didn't have a PS2, it was a good few years later that I got to play this title on the PC, with my brother and I taking Carl Johnson back to Grove Street. Running round a perfectly rendered simulation of downtown LA in the early 90s, the soundtrack just just about everything covered - from rock, new jack swing and pop to funk, rap and hiphop.

But for me the opening theme sets the scene so well in the same way that Vice City did and immediately establishes the tone and West-Coast P-Funk styles that you are going to expect from the game. It is almost as if Dre had composed this on a whim; a simple, clean beat with a deep bassline and high-pitched MiniMoog lead that could have been taken from any of his hits. A perfect entrance to the last PS2 GTA title: this is clearly about 90s West Coast street gangs and violence with a hip hop bent, something that you are reminded of each time with little samples carrying the leitmotif each time you complete a mission.