Eminem’s surprise album drop over the weekend contains an even bigger surprise for JRPG fans: one of the tracks samples Square’s Kingdom Hearts throughout. UPDATE: Actually, it doesn’t.
UPDATE 7pm, Sep 4: The album’s producer Illaproducer originally told Rolling Stone that the track sampled was Simple & Clean by Utada Hikaru, the intro song to the original Kingdom Hearts. He’s since corrected that to say it’s actually Donna Burke’s Glassy Sky, from the anime adaptation of Tokyo Ghoul.
The original story follows:
The track is “Good Guy”, with the sample being the female vocals in the background:
Producer Illadaproducer confirmed that it’s a Kingdom Hearts sample in this Rolling Stone interview:
RS: What about “Good Guy,” what’s the sample there?
IL: That’s me doing my video game thing. Kingdom Hearts. It’s a Japanese videogame, and that’s the theme song from it. It’s one of the dopest melodies I’ve ever heard. Shout out Japanese videogames and Japanimation for inspiration. Filtered it, did some chops, did some processing to it. I basically made it unrecognizable, but I know they would have still found it. That’s why we had to deal with the clearance. But when I do anything I try to make it to where it’s not fully recognizable.
If it’s hard to make out just which theme song it is—he does, after all, say he’s “basically made it unrecognizable”—the track’s listing on credits/lyrics site Genius.com has the sample as Simple & Clean by Utada Hikaru, the intro song to the original Kingdom Hearts.
Rappers and producers sampling video games is almost as old as hip-hop, I know, but it’s one thing to hear Street Fighter sounds for 25 years, and another for Kingdom Hearts to make it onto an Eminem album.
That said, it’s not like this is even a first for Kingdom Hearts; J Cole fans might remember that in 2011 his Dollar And A Dream III was backed by Kingdom Hearts II’s Darkness of the Unknown.