The Music of Grand Theft Auto IV

Common Sense Media says

Some innocuous songs, some R-rated ones.

Age(i)

2
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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

It's a mixed bag here. One song idolizes the gangsta life and all the negative things associated with it, but another song is a sweet song declaring "I'm not the kind to be running games, I'll make it simple and plain…I want you, like trees to sunshine/like bird to the sky." The "N" word is used several times. Women are referred to as "bitches" in one song.

Violence

A few songs have violent references. "Dirty New York" celebrates the gangsta life ("I'm gonna rap a n---a up in a box and send it to his folks") and talks about guns and killing quite a bit. Other hard lyrics on the album: "I'll slice you with my razor," "I came a long way to see you now I wish you were dead/I want to shoot you down now for the things you did," and ""Go and die/Go and quench (destroy)/Put am for reverse/Go and kill/Go and die."

Sex

Sex isn't really the problem here. The title of "No Sex for Ben" is worse than the song.

Language

In the songs that do have swear words, there are a lot of them -- everything from "f--k" to "s--t" to "motherf--ker" to bitch. Some songs don't have any foul language at all.

Consumerism

Car brands, alcoholic beverages are mentioned by name. The idea of making a lot of money is important in one song.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A few references to drinking, smoking, and doing drugs (pot and cocaine), but it's mostly in passing and not bragged about: "Get smoked up," "I smoked the finest," and "blow in the drawer."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although Grand Theft Auto IV features more than 200 songs, 16 of them were culled for a special edition CD available only through Amazon's MP3 downloads -- or free if you buy the special edition of the game. The songs are mix of genres and appropriate-level (some repeat multitude swear words and are very violent while others are sweet love songs or instrumental).

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Busta Rhymes, Bob Marley, and Fela Kuti, contribute just three of the 200 or so songs in Grand Theft Auto IV, 16 of which make up THE MUSIC OF GRAND THEFT AUTO, available only via download on Amazon. There's a blend hip-hop, reggae, dancehall, southern rock, R&B, Russian rap, and even electro. Some of the songs aren't appropriate for teens' -- even older ones -- ears, but some are fine.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

With music crossing all genres and appropriateness, this collection of songs -- a "soundtrack" of sorts -- wants to appeal to all teens. Unfortunately, as a whole and played in order, it's quite disjointed. It's best to pick the tracks that are OK for your kid and just download those. Some highlights: Fela Kuti's 12-minute "Zombie," with its deep afrobeat percussion -- packs a political punch by dismissing the "zombie"-like nature of the military ("Zombie no go stop, unless you tell am to stop/Zombie no go turn, unless you tell am to turn/Zombie no go think, unless you tell am to think"), and if parents can look past the few "N" words, the for-older-teens, determined, not-gratuitous, well-written "War is Necessary" ("War brings hate/war brings peace/war brings pain, but war is necessary") by Nas.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether the music plays a part in Grand Theft Auto IV. If the video game's content is definitely not for kids, does the music make such a difference? Families can also talk about mixing consumerism with video games. How do you feel about being able to buy an MP3 of a song you hear within the game instantaneously on Amazon?

Music details

Artist:Various Artists
Release date:April 29, 2008
Label:Rockstar Games
Genre:Soundtrack
Parental advisory:Yes
Edited version available:No

This review of The Music of Grand Theft Auto IV was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byMohawkskull October 4, 2013
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

gta songs

inappropriate it says the f word
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Parent Written byhelper + February 10, 2012
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

more crap as usual

looks like crap!!!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byliekey October 9, 2010
AGE
15
QUALITY
 
love
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Great messages

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