Bit-Hop is a fusion subgenre of Hip-Hop and video game music, developed in the mid-to-late 2010s.
In 1982, the rock duo Buckner & Garcia released the album "Pac-Man Fever". It had eight songs, each of which were about a different classic arcade game, and sampled sound effects and music from said game. This was the first album to do so, and the album was considered a novelty hit at the time, selling 1,200,000 copies by the end of 1982.
In 1992, a side-scrolling game called "Super Adventure Island" was released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The soundtrack, composed by Yuzo Koshiro, featured a plethora of classic drum samples associated with Hip-Hop, such as "You'll Like It Too", "Think (About It)", "Funky President (People It's Bad)", and "I Wouldn't Change A Thing", among others. One track is even an interpolation of Eric B & Rakim's "Paid In Full".
In 1996, a rhythm video game called "PaRappa The Rapper" was released for the Sony PlayStation. It is the first video game to focus on Hip-Hop. The raps featured within the game sample classic drum breaks such as "Funky President (People It's Bad)", "Assembly Line", "The Soil I Tilled For You", and even "Amen, Brother".
In 2000, the Hip-Hop duo known as the Cocoa Brovas created an underground single called "Super Brooklyn", two years after the release of their 1998 album, The Rude Awakening. Super Brooklyn heavily sampled Koji Kondo's music from Super Mario Bros. for the NES. However, because they did not have a license to use the sample, they could not officially release the single.
In 2010, Brooklyn rapper Saigon released the non-album single "Get Busy", which was notable for not only sampling the Super Mario Bros. theme, but recontextualizing the characters in the frame of drug dealers. In the song, "Mario" and "Luigi" are names for two brothers who are drug dealers, and the "Koopa Troopa" refer to police. Saigon refers to many video game concepts in this song, including the Konami Code.
In 2015, Atlanta rapper MC Zappa began to experiment with looping samples from NES games over drum breaks, using a Samsung SGH-1497, and writing lyrics about life as a gamer. He developed his experiments further, adding intricate sonic layers and elements. He coined the term "Bit-Hop" to describe what he was doing, and later released the first Bit-Hop album, It's All A Game.
Bit-Hop utilises, at a basic level, samples of 8-bit video game music and sound effects, especially from the NES and Game Boy, over classic drum breaks. Due to the low quality of the game samples, the genre has a very distinctive sound. As in any other genre, Bit-Hop beats are often layered with 808 kicks, percussion such as tambourines or sleigh bells, horns, guitar, and other more "traditional" instruments.
The above is the strictest definition, but an all-inclusive use of the term would include samples from more "modern" games. Two examples of this are MC Zappa's "Ultra Astra (Bit-Hop-Monic)", which samples the orchestral piece "Final Bowser Battle" from the Super Mario Galaxy 2 soundtrack, and "4 Tha Record", a combination Bit-Hop and jazz rap track, which samples "Results" from the Super Smash Bros. For Nintendo 3DS soundtrack. The above definition is often referred to as "true Bit-Hop", to set it apart from tracks such as that.
Lyrical content is based on gaming culture, dealing with such subjects as sexism and misogyny both in games and their communities, girls and women who game, console wars, price gouging, planned obsolescence, and glitches.