Last week, Eminem surprised fans the world over with a new album, Kamikaze, his tenth studio release.
What came as an even bigger surprise to fans, particularly those who enjoy the hugely popular JRPG Kingdom Hearts, was that album producer Illadaproducer sampled Simple & Clean by Utada Hikaru for the track “Good Guy”, something he confirmed in a Rolling Stone interview:
“That’s me doing my video game thing. Kingdom Hearts. It’s a Japanese video game, and that’s the theme song from it. It’s one of the dopest melodies I’ve ever heard. Shout out Japanese video games 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.”
It might be easily missed, however, the sample is listed on the lyric site Genius.com. This isn’t Eminem’s first foray into sampling video games, either – in the early 2000s he sampled SoulCalibur liberally for the track Hellbound, featuring the game’s main theme and even voice-over work from the game. It’s a rarer mixtape track only given a very limited release, however – this Kingdom Hearts sample is the first on a major album. We’re definitely into it.