Earlier today, 2 Mello dropped his highly anticipated mashup album Final Fantasy — The 3-6 Chambers, combining the incomparable wordplay of The Wu-Tang Clan with the amazing soundtrack of the Final Fantasy 6 Super Nintendo game.
As with any mashup project, there’s a high likelihood for things to go awry. That great-sounding track might not sync so well with off-kilter rap lyrics.
But Mello pulled it off. In a big way.
Here are five reasons why his new project is a must for hip-hop heads and video game geeks.
The Ol’ Dirty Bastard
I guess it’s no surprise that the most animated member of the Clan makes by far the strongest showing here. “Got Your Treasure,” arguably the album’s best track, pair Big Baby Jesus with the iconic tribal drums of Final Fantasy’s The Veldt. It’s absolute magic. And speaking of magic, ODB’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” works way better than expected over the theme of befuddled magician Strago.
Final Fantasy’s glorious soundtrack, composed by Nobuo Uematsu, is far and away the best music ever composed in a video game — it’s mind blowing that music that good was crammed into a 16-bit cartridge. The orchestral themes are a great fit for the Wu, who are no strangers to rapping over subdued tones. Mello takes Uematsu’s sounds and adds his own signature touches (a guitar here, maybe speeding up a few notes there) so that the Clan’s lyrics flow seamlessly.
Spoiler alert: Not all of the Wu’s greatest hits are represented here — and that’s a good thing. Hearing forgotten favorites like Inspectah Deck’s “REC Room” and Raekwon’s “Clientele Kidd” submerged in the realm of Final Fantasy are pleasant surprises for Wu stans and prove the Clan are far from one-hit wonders.
The respect it shows the Wu’s legacy
A few of the tracks feature long-form outros that help advance the album’s narrative. These could have easily been overbearing but instead they add to the experience. For instance, gamers who may have little knowledge of the Wu get a primer from Method Man about the Clan’s eclectic personalities. And ODB’s death, referenced in the album’s storyline, gets a tasteful real-life tribute from Raekwon. It’s those little touches that put the Wu’s spirit in the forefront.
Personally, I’ve heard these Wu-Tang Clan songs hundreds of time, and Final Fantasy 6’s soundtrack has spent countless hours blaring through my TV speakers. Although none of this content is technically new, blending both together make them both fresh and familiar. It’s like revisiting your old childhood neighborhood – it might look different through older eyes but man, it still feels like home.