Album Review: Wu-Tang vs. The Beatles – Enter the Magical Mystery Chambers

[Tea Sea; 2010]

All this is probably The Grey Album’s fault. Since then, DJ’s (or just plain whomever) have been flooding the internet with more often than not middling mashups of hip hop and rock. There have been successes: Blue Eyes Meets Bed Stuy is pretty damn good, recommended if you haven’t sought it out. Jaydiohead came around, put Minty Fresh Beats on the map, and was pretty good as well. There was another Radiohead hip hop mashup, don’t recall that one as well, there’s been so many of these things, who knows anymore.

Amongst all this drops Enter the Magical Mystery Chambers. The Beatles “vs.” The Wu-Tang Clan. Never felt that the “vs.” concept fit any of these mashups, from the hood internet to these, the combinations at least should complement each other rather than compete. An easy, natural sound as if it could have been the original recording – versus implies clashing sounds, so let’s drop that concept.

This record is pretty complementary. Both godfathers of their crafts, it’s an epic listen. Sure, Jay-Z is Hova and yadda yadda, but who really thinks he can touch the Clan? Or any of their members individually for that matter, aside from perhaps U-God. Essentially: I may like this tape more than The Grey Album.

The tracklist draws from more than Wu-Tang’s discography, verses from Nigga Please to Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… among others. From the latter, Yesterday might just manage to make “Criminology” even more epic than it already was. There are moments like this throughout the record; it’s truly a great listen.

That’s not to say the record isn’t without its minor detractors. Interwoven throughout are interviews with The Beatles and their fans. It’s obviously an attempt to remind the listener of the band’s greatness and continuing importance, which is a noble goal, alas one that hurts this new record itself. The Beatles essentially serve as the beatmakers for this album, so quite simply The Wu are, and should remain, at the forefront of the mashup. Hence, screaming fans babbling about The Beatles just seem out of place amongst the flow hurled about by The Clan.

Aside from this, some of the tracks sound a tad busy, while others simply don’t work as well. For example, Ghostface’s “Mighty Healthy” clashes a bit against The Beatles’ selection. This is to be expected though; every mashup is going to have its strongest and weakest moments. That said, this record is a behemoth: it comes in with 27 tracks at 80 minutes. Its creator perhaps should have considered trimming it down a bit.

Regardless, this record is a classic mashup. It’s good, great, good enough to justify itself as a piece of art separate from the records it draws from. While aware that I’m speaking in January, I’d be surprised if this doesn’t place highly on end of the year lists for those that catch it. Go get this.