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Meet the composer behind the legendary 'DK Rap' from 'Donkey Kong 64'


As far as video game music goes, the "DK Rap" is one of the most iconic songs of the fifth-generation era and gaming in general. Grant Kirkhope, the composer of the song, had no idea when he made it that it would be a hit several years down the road.

Donkey Kong Rap

The song opens up the 1999 Nintendo game Donkey Kong 64, made originally as more of a joke and something fun than anything else. Kirkhope was inspired by hip-hop artists like Run DMC when composing the original track, having written the lyrics and produced the beat himself. When the song was released, it was well-received, but not as much as it is by gamers today, who see the song as a relic of the N64 generation.

This song was one of his earlier works, but not necessarily his introductory piece into the scene. Having started working for Rare in 1995 after years of playing in a band, Kirkhope found himself composing music for some of gaming's most iconic titles, such as Goldeneye, Banjo Kazooie and Perfect Dark. He has since been nominated for multiple BAFTA, ASCAP, and IFMCA awards for his work.

Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle | Full Soundtrack

To this day, Kirkhope continues to work on numerous titles as a composer, with one of his biggest contributions being to Nintendo's Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. He appreciates all the fan support that has enabled him to continue to work on titles like Mario, which he considers to be "video game royalty."

Even now, he still interacts with fans who recognize the "DK Rap" and can even recite it in its entirety, despite having been almost 20 years since its initial release. To learn more about Kirkhope and listen to more of his work, visit his website.

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