The Tony Hawk skateboarding video games helped form many people’s music tastes with fantastic soundtracks, introducing old-school punk, hip-hop and metal to those who may have otherwise never discovered some great artists. Whether it was highlighting classic punk and rock icons or newer artists, the soundtracks still hold up today as solid mixes to introduce anyone to good tunes.
Given when the games were at the height of their popularity, though, there’s a lot of new bands and artists who never got the chance to be exposed to a massive audience in the same way as those featured on, say, Pro Skater games.
With rumors of a new game on the way, take a look below for songs we feel would have been awesome for a Tony Hawk video game soundtrack.
1. Suicidal Tendencies – “Possessed To Skate”
Suicidal Tendencies did make their way onto some Tony Hawk soundtracks, but this is the quintessential skateboarding song from one of the most important punk bands associated with the sport. Whether they included the original version or the rerecorded funky take they pumped out in 2010 doesn’t matter, but kids deserve to discover this track through skateboarding in the same way they did with “Institutionalized.”
2. Bones Brigade – “Thrashin’ USA”
Not enough overtly skate-punk songs made it into the Tony Hawk series, and Bones Brigade’s “Thrashin’ USA” would be an ideal pick to fill out the gaps. With lyrics such as “Skate with your gang all fucking day, we’re thrashin’ USA,” the track is built for trying out some gnarly tricks and would fit alongside any of the games in the series.
3. Teenage Bottlerocket – “Skate Or Die”
Teenage Bottlerocket’s “Skate Or Die” name-drops enough skate tricks that it’s basically a beginner’s guide to learn the various terms in skate culture. Given the audience for Tony Hawk games leaned closer to the younger side, its message of perseverance through the pains of skating would’ve been the song kids take from the video game to the streets when they try their first tricks in real life.
4. Machine Gun Kelly – “Skate Cans”
Machine Gun Kelly’s “Skate Cans” video features pro skater and friend Ryan Sheckler, so he’s already got the seal of approval in the skate world. The track would’ve been a perfect match for Pro Skater games and highlights the rapper’s love for the sport to fans who may not have otherwise known he skates himself.
5. Municipal Waste – “Guilty Of Being Tight”
Municipal Waste weren’t a household name when the Tony Hawk games were in their heyday, but they’ve since become synonymous with skate and party culture in metal and would be a perfect match. Their high-octane thrash-punk energy is built for busting kickflips and would have fit on a Tony Hawk soundtrack like a pair of well-worn Vans.
6. Trash Talk – “Exile On Broadway”
If you’re playing a Tony Hawk game, you know there has to be a few speedy hardcore tracks. Sure, the midtempo songs offer up something to cruise around the map to, but when you want to rage in the game, these songs come in handy. Trash Talk’s “Exile On Broadway” is exactly the right track to let loose and go as hard as you can to.
7. Rotting Out – “Laugh Now, Die Later”
Skating isn’t always about speed and banging out as many tricks as possible, and countless hours have been spent in Tony Hawk games just cruising around. Rotting Out’s “Laugh Now, Die Later” has a solid hardcore groove suited best for these moments and could have easily been the song played on repeat while players wasted time bouncing around the game.
8. Tyler, The Creator – “Yonkers”
Tyler, The Creator’s influence in real-life skate culture never really made its way into the video games for the sport—save for becoming a playable character in 2015’s Pro Skater 5—but his early beats are a perfect soundtrack for it. His music started taking off after the games were done dominating the video game industry, but had he started a few years sooner than he did, Tyler would’ve been an easy pick.
9. Danny Brown – “Ain’t It Funny”
If you remember some of the wild races and maps from some of the Tony Hawk games, you surely remember how weird they looked sometimes. No rapper would be quite as well suited for these moments as Danny Brown given his extremely out there beats and samples. “Ain’t It Funny” has wacky bumping grooves that match this feeling to a T.
10. Kendrick Lamar – “m.A.A.d city”
Skate culture has always been heavily rooted in California, so who better to include than the current king of Compton? Kendrick Lamar’s music is already solid to skate to in real life, and tossing it into a video game about the sport would make sense. The hard beat on “m.A.A.d city” is ideal for laying down a line of tricks.
11. Vince Staples – “Run The Bands”
Vince Staples’ songs are a perfect match for a skate session, and if his music took off while the Tony Hawk games were still massively popular, he would’ve been a shoo-in for the soundtracks. “Run The Bands” in particular has a sick street vibe, and Staples has a history with skating himself, so it only makes sense to include him.
12. Career Suicide – “Tighten The Screws”
Canadian hardcore vets Career Suicide are the exact kind of speedy punk energy the Tony Hawk games highlighted, and their lastest album, Machine Response, is jammed with songs that would make a perfect soundtrack for the game. “Tighten The Screws” has a kicked-up energy anyone could get down with busting kickflips to, from its punchy midtempo riffs to its full-bore aggression.
13. Every Time I Die – “Decayin’ With The Boys”
Every Time I Die have a wild energy to most of their discography, but their later material has just enough edge and aggression to match up with a skater’s energy. Pretty much any of their songs would be good for a Tony Hawk soundtrack, but “Decayin’ With The Boys” has just the right tones and kicked-up beat to shred the skatepark to.