A couple of weeks ago I covered Team Teamwork's beautifully done hip-hop/gaming mash-up album Vinyl Fantasy 7. Well turns out he's not the only one to think that Final Fantasy 7 and hip-hop belonged together.
Enter gaming music giant Random aka Mega Ran and Lost Perception who decided to take things to the next level. Rather than mash together Final Fantasy 7 and popular hip-hop tracks the duo decided to focus their efforts on storytelling. In this case retelling the story of Cloud, Sephiroth and co. via original rhyming verse.
The results are nothing short of brilliant, and more than a bit nostalgic. Get your tissues out!
While the Square-Enix star child can at times prove divisive in the gaming world its legacy and impact can't be denied. And the attachment many feel for it can never be replaced.
And all the haters are just jealous.
Final Fantasy 7 has always held a special place in my heart. I couldn't tell you how many times I've played through the game, how much of my childhood was spent testing out every single urban legend surrounding an Aeris ressurection, or how infatuated I've always been with one Cid Highwind. I would spend countless hours with my cousins playing through our respective save files, taking turns as player and navigator of sorts with the strategy guides and angelfire faq print outs.
I recently popped in disc one and started a new game and was immediately flooded with nostalgia unmatched.
Being that I'm on the pro-FF7 team as well as a big fan of hip-hop, if you haven't noticed by now, when I heard about Random and Lost Perception's project, titled Black Materia, I was more than a little giddy. And then I listened to it, and was even giddier.
Listening to this album is like returning home for the first time in years. Everything is surprising yet familiar and with each surprise you feel the sides of your mouth pulled into unctrollable smiles. Along with the smiles will be plenty of head-bobbing.
The production is pitch-perfect, utilizing Final Fantasy 7's soundtrack for samples without losing them in overly produced beats. You might get a drum beat or hear some loops, but the original tracks as laid down by Nobuo Uematsu remain largely untouched. Whatever touches they have added work in favor of the theme and genre, rather than their own personal tastes as many remix artists tend to work from. The duo keeps things simple and recognizable, with just enough extra to keep things fresh.
Try listening to Tifa, centered around everyone's favorite busty bartender, without feeling the tiniest bit sentimental.
Listening to Random and Lost Perception flow about Cloud's exploits manages to be surprisingly universal. Subsitute Tifa's name for your childhood crush and the lines remain true. It speaks to both their lyrical talent and how approachable FF7 is that these songs can be about very specific fictional characters and still be easy to connect with on a personal level.
Look no further than this Cry For The Planet remix they did in the wake of the recent tragedies in Japan. Giving the song a real world context reminds us that the themes of Final Fantasy 7, destruction of the planet and devastation hitting the less fortunate, ring as true in 2011 as they did back in 1997.
Random and Lost Perception put themselves into the minds of these characters and allow them speak through them, each guest MC playing the part of a different cast member, and the honesty in the lyrics shines through. Each line feels painstakingly hand crafted. It could never be said that these guys aren't true fans; they've dug deep down into the title for each word, going beyond just wink-nod shout outs in favor of exploring both the external and internal struggles of AVALANCHE's members.
Listening to this album as I wander around town just gives me the urge to rush home and play more Final Fantasy 7. I've got a ton of new games that need my attention, not to mention a rekindled love affair with Animal Crossing, but playing Final Fantasy 7 for the umpteenth time still manages high priority.
By now I'm sure you've realized that Random is indeed Mega Ran, aka Raheem Jarbo the former middle school teacher from Phillie known for his Mega Man themed raps and soulful inspirations. You can be certain he'll be getting another feature focusing on him and the rest of his work right here very soon.
Random is without question one of gaming music's crown jewels and this album is just a a taste of his shine.
Please please please hit up Random's Bandcamp and purchase this album. You will NOT be dissapointed. It's the kind of album that, in my biased opinion, has the potential to surpass one's personal taste in genre of content because of how flat out good it is.
That wraps it up for this week's Audio File Friday. Expect more on MegaRan aka Random as well as updates on a few other people who've been covered here before in the coming weeks. As always if you've got any suggestions for artists
even if the artist is you you'd like to see spotlit here on gaygamer.net be sure to let me know in the comment section.
Until next week.
BRB escaping Midgar.
Cue haters hating in three...two...