|Not to be confused with Gangster Friday.|
It is an important song in the Grand Theft Auto series, as it defined how songs in a GTA game should be like, and convinced the development team of GTA 1 on including music as a central part of the game. It also plays in the main menu of GTA 1.
History and recording
The song "Grand Theft Auto" has a huge part in the history of the whole GTA series: as we know through interviews with the early GTA developers and staff members, it is the song that definitely convinced them to incorporate music as a central part of the game, at a time where they were still trying to figure out what things should the game have.
The inclusion of diferent radios with different music styles that played depending on which car the player was driving, based on stereotypical owners of such cars, was one of the first proposals, but at first this idea wasn't really accepted by all the staff and had some skeptics, owing to a drawn-out "development hell" that had been going on and on for years.
They didn't have the resources or the support of the music industry to feature well-known mainstream hits, something they really wanted, and as such they went into recording original songs.
Colin Anderson dealt with rock, funk and country tracks, meanwhile Craig Conner dealt with electronic, pop and hip hop tracks. Conner, then indie music producer recently hired, started to draft the hip hop tracks, but soon began to struggle as he was more of an electronic music enthusiast and had never rapped, so he teamed up with Johnny Wilson (who adopted the alias "Robert De Negro"), who was "a tall, black guy who was a student of Chemistry at Dundee University", in the words of early GTA developer Dave Jones. They had one clear objective: making a hip hop track that synthesized all what a Grand Theft Auto game is. This song became "Grand Theft Auto". After finishing it, it was so succesful within the staff that the company was definitely convinced on making music a great element of the game and have different radios; the song itself became the blueprint for the later songs produced, showcasing all what a GTA game's song should have.
The song was written by Craig Conner, one of Rockstar's in-house musicians, and is a stereotype of 'gangsta rap', with blatant lyrics concerning (appropriately) car theft, drug use, running from the law and the possession and use of firearms. Conner also played all of the instruments in the song.
The track first appears in Grand Theft Auto 1, where it is credited to the fictitious band Da Shootaz, fronted by rapper Robert DeNegro (an obvious pun on actor Robert De Niro, who starred in many of the gangster films that have been cited as inspiration for the GTA games). The song plays in the main menu of GTA 1. It later reappeared on the soundtrack for Grand Theft Auto III as a nod to the original game, in the radio station Lips 106. It should also be noted that in this second appearance the two uses of the profanity "fuck" in the song are censored through the overdubbing of Lips 106 taglines, somewhat ironic given the otherwise gratuitous and mature nature of the game.
The opening hook of the song also appears throughout the GTA series. In GTA III, the player's pager plays out a primitive rendition of the hook whenever a message is received, while the Commodore 64-like opening of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City features the same hook in a more vibrant 8-bit tone. GTA III's pager ringtone is also recycled as a selectable ringtone on the player's mobile phone in Grand Theft Auto IV, simply titled "Pager".
As one would expect from a song written as a theme for Grand Theft Auto, the track's lyrics make many references to the kind of criminality associated with the games, and even mentions the phrase 'GTA' specifically.
(Good shot kid, you got him)
(Good shot kid, you got him)
Hotel, downtown, speeding all around
An AK-47 got the power in it's barrel
To move any mother that gets in the way
Just another power machine on the freeway
Riding with me is my MC homeboy
Knowing the rules ain't part of his program
Finding the right way around this map
Might be pretty hard 'cause he's fucked on crack
G - grand theft auto
You gotta make a mark and move where you want to
T - theft
Determination to steal what you can and run from the nation
A - hey, what do ya say?
We automate the sequence and speed for my getaway
Take it to the edge, there's nowhere to hide
And call up the boys, let's go for a joyride
Let's go for a joyride
Stop the violence from the police
Is what my dad used say but now he's deceased
He got caught in a jam, threw in the can
When the cops from Brooklyn said he'd killed another man
Street knowledge was my main game
To figure out the law, to figure out the frame
Just when I thought I knew justice
A cop behind me said, you just been busted
Don't fuck with me