The art form known as the mash-up, like many of the things floating around the Internet, can potentially suck away minutes of your life that you can never get back.
But there are some novelties that can still put a smile on your face and make those lost minutes somewhat worth it. This is especially true in this particular case for all of the Gen Yers who grew up listening to ’90s grunge and hip hop.
Philadelphia-based DJ and producer Benja Styles recently released a new mash-up. This one takes Nirvana’s Unplugged cover of the Meat Puppet’s “Lake of Fire” and pairs that with “Big Poppa” by the Notorious B.I.G.
The result is titled “Big Poppa Fire.”
This seems like an appropriate project since a photoshopped picture of Biggie and Kurt Cobain rolling together in a car went viral last week. Perhaps this image spawned the inspiration for this particular remix.
In any case, the tune takes the acoustic ensemble of “Lake of Fire” and uses that as a backdrop for Biggie’s verses. The rhythms of both songs are a simple 4/4 beat, which makes them easy to synchronize. Biggie’s refrain is embellished with Nirvana’s dusty guitar licks. The result is simple but enjoyable.
Nirvana has gone through its fair share of mash-ups. One of the most popular is a mash-up of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” with Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” It’s aptly called “Never Gonna Give Your Teen Spirit Up.” There’s a video on YouTube that has reached almost 3.5 million views.
Which is confusing because the two songs don’t go together at all–you keep expecting Astley’s melody to pop out of Teen Spirit’s chord progression and it just ends up a disassociated mess.
Biggie has also had a good number of mash-ups. One of the most popular on YouTube is called “Midnight Dream.” It takes Biggie’s “Juicy” and combines it with the M83’s “Midnight City.” These two songs actually work really well together.
Compositionally, the mash-ups that seem to be most effective take the melody of a good rock or pop tune and use that as a springboard for one of our favorite rappers. Otherwise, we end up with clashing melodies. The happy place somewhere between familiarity and fresh gets thrown off.