Release day review of the free-to-download mashup adventure.
The 2 Mello mashup trilogy comes to a close with The 3-6 Chambers, available to download or stream now over at Scrub Club Records. Seems Mello saved the most intense for last, a 14 track collection of mashups featuring the music from Nobuo Uematsu's Final Fantasy VI soundtrack, remixed and remastered beneath the eclectic flows of classic Wu-Tang Clan.
2 Mello's story-based mashups (as well as other artists like Tovarisch) have forced me to find a new term for this combination of videogame based hip hop storytelling. Henceforth, albums of this caliber will be known as mashup adventure albums. This term means that the album not only collects a variety of catchy tunes and hot vocals, but that attention is also payed to the original meaning of the source material, and becomes remixed and mashed up to convey the heart and mind of the original artists.
Mello sums up the idea of a mashup adventure album well in his own liner notes
This attention to storytelling is something I love in video games and hip hop, and evidently I also crave in my video game hip hop, no matter the source material.
As a hip hop head, living in Southern California put me at quite the disadvantage in hearing much Wu-Tang in my youth. This means I'm not nostalgic for classic Wu-Tang in quite the same way as when I heard Jay-Z and Nas, both of whom were featured in Mello's previous mashup collections. This means I not only get the chance to hear a brand new collection of head bobbing Mello mashups, but can also up my hip hop game by getting more familiar with the Wu.
The album dropped this morning, and I am giving it my first listen as I type up these words, so instead of a full review, for now I'll give my initial impressions. On first play through, the album is surprisingly laid back, likely due to the beat choices, which juxtaposes the playful, endless grassy field imagery of classic RPGs with the big city New York rap style of Wu Tang.
On first play through, stand out tracks are currently the opening and closing tracks, "Magic Ruins Everything Around Me", and "The Crew is Back" respectively. Of course there is plenty of meat sandwiched in between.
I have to admit I didn't give the album a straight play through as planned, thanks to "Got Your Treasure" a mixture of ODB and The Veldt (Wild West). I had to hit rewind quite a few times, and really take in the mood of Final Fantasy within the lyrical context of Dirt McGirt. The song takes on the mood of a cocky adventurer busting into caves and dungeons and getting that money.
Catchiest track award has to go to "Da Mystery of Shadow-Boxin'" for the beautiful fusion of the somber Shadow's theme with Da Mystery of Chessboxin.' Headbanger award definitely goes to "Battle Pit." which combines the hard hitting sounds of Gravel Pit with FFVI's main battle theme. It's the FFVI equivalent to Team Teamwork's classic FFVII mashup of M.O.P.
I hope to have a fuller collection of thoughts on the album sometime in the future. I now live in a world in which a mashup album could be one of the most layered and deep albums of the year for me. Isn't that something? Enter The 3-6 Chambers for free via the Scrub Club Records album page. You can also follow 2 Mello's Twitter.
Some day, there will be an RPG in which the battles really will have rap music about fighting. That is my dream. A hip hop Persona, or urban Earthbound...