Views: Wu-Tang Vs. The Beatles brings da ruckus

As anyone who has ever seen “Batman v Superman” knows, two great ideas don’t always combine to create something better. Often, one overpowers the other, while on other occasions their thematic cores collide with, rather than complement, each other. Every so often, however, two seemingly-incompatible concepts unite, creating a glorious experience. Like peanut butter and bananas, French fries and a milkshake, and pineapples on pizza (kidding), “Wu-Tang Vs. The Beatles: Enter the Magical Mystery Chambers” is transcendently bold, combining Beatles samples with Wu-Tang Clan vocals.

The album’s creator Tom Caruana, an English music teacher, was inspired by his love for both groups, and out of inspiration emerges innovation. The 27-song project, released in 2010, is a sonically unique entity. Such a mash-up of genres is hardly the first of its kind: in 2004, Danger Mouse’s “Grey Album,” combining Jay-Z “Black Album” vocals with Beatles’ “White Album” samples, as well as “Collision Course,” Jay-Z and Linkin Park’s chart-topping collaborative album, proved that such mash-ups could work.

Nevertheless, Caruana’s creation is impressive both in conception and execution. “Collision Course” and “The Grey Album” benefit from relying on Jay-Z, a rapper with considerable mainstream appeal. The Wu-Tang, with their theatrical kung-fu motifs and zany alter egos, are less accessible to both a more conventional sound and audience. Furthermore, the Wu-Tang, unlike solo artist Jay-Z, is a literal clan, encompassing a diverse array of talents. From the lyrical prowess of MC maestros such as GZA and Inspectah Deck, to the iconic voices of Method Man and Ghostface Killa, the group’s multifaceted skillset is its greatest strength. This quality, however, also illustrates why Caruana’s feat is all the more impressive. In 1 hour and 27 minutes, he carves out a niche for Staten Island’s finest from the Beatles’ discography.

For instance, in “Got Your Money,” the melancholic sample from “You Never Give Me Your Money,” surprisingly lends itself to O.D.B.’s frantic, almost possessed flow. Likewise, in “Forget Me Not,” Inspectah Deck’s exquisite lyricism and delivery is on full display, complemented by an upbeat sampling of “You Won’t See Me.” Perhaps less bombastic than the original beat, Caruana’s rendition of “Uzi (Pinky Ring)” nevertheless stays true to RZA’s cacophony of chaotic sounds, somehow complementing the vocal skills of the Clan in a frenetically enjoyable experience.

To many, this project’s premise resigns it to ridicule or, at best, a snobbish indifference. To those who dare, however, to enter the magical chambers of Caruana’s magnum opus, a transcendent sensory overload awaits. Like lightning in a bottle, the album is accessibly electrifying. Akin to the prehistoric discovery of fire, “Wu-Tang v Beatles” at once enlightens and inspires. Testing the bounds of contemporary music, the audibly audacious project is a must-listen.

Disclaimer: This article is the sanctimonious, self-righteous opinion of Nketiah Berko, so if you find yourself disagreeing with it, you need to find yourself a different opinion.

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