D-I-P-S-E-T meets J-E-N-O-V-A
It’d be easy to assume that hip-hop and Japanese role-playing games share nothing in common. Both are acquired tastes within their respective industries that rarely intersect outside of the suburban bedrooms of nerdy white kids. But like hot sauce and mac ‘n’ cheese, hip-hop and JRPGs secretly work well together.
Don’t believe me? That’s fine, just listen to Cam’ron rapping over Final Fantasy VII‘s “One-Winged Angel” on “Troublemakers.”
The track came out ten years ago, but it’s still one of the best examples of a rapper co-opting a classic JRPG tune and turning it into a magic mash-up of niche interests. Cam’ron raps with his usual swagger, all pointed rhymes and colorful braggadocio that, when coupled with the orchestral chanting of “One-Winged Angel,” hits you like a Harlem wrecking ball.
It’s fitting that Killa sampled “One-Winged Angel” all those years ago. Both Cam’ron and Sephiroth are titans within their worlds who share a preoccupation with dressing in bold and outlandish wardrobes. Hell, Cam’ron has a signature line of designer capes. Even a JRPG villain wouldn’t dare do something that ostentatious.
While Cam’ron wasn’t the first rapper to lift a sample from a video game, nor was he the last, his decade-old verse on “Troublemakers” remains larger than life.