A viral singer driving under the “influence” of the power of both rap and opera has created a mashup for our time.
“What opera sounds like in my head,” was the title of his YouTube video which shows him singing “Largo al factotum” from the Rossini masterpiece Barber of Seville with a more modern masterpiece, the hit track “Humble” from Kendrick Lamar’s acclaimed 2017 album DAMN.
His performance, which is tailor-made for the internet, showcases the singer’s knack for modern music, his superb pipes for the classics, and his keen ability to merge both in a jam that matches up perfectly.
In an interview with TIME, he said that making a video of his genre blending was a real first.
“I’ve always noticed similarities between the two. I generally kept this to myself and played with them in my head or in the car because the opera culture can be very conservative,” he said. “But the few times I’ve slipped and sung some opera to a hip-hop beat, it’s been well-received.”
The Nigerian American vocalist did it all while he was behind the wheel, which makes him a consummate musical multi-tasker, endearing him to the 60,000 people who liked the clip and redditors who have fully embraced the song.
“People love the dichotomy,” he said.
He told TIME that he first loved the aria when he saw Robin Williams sing it in Mrs. Doubtfire and that when it comes to West Coast hip hop artists, Lamar is his absolute favorite, which made for the ideal match.
Babatunde Akinboboye is a baritone opera singer who has belted it out with the Opera Santa Barbara, Opera San José and the LA Opera. He’s also played Guglielmo in Così fan in Tutte and Horace Tabor in The Ballad of Baby Doe, according to his website, which notes that fusing genres is all part of his repertoire.
Clearly this is the mashup that we not only need, but deserve.
Watch the opera and hip hop mashup below.