System of a Down’s “Aerials” Mashed Up with Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” Is Surprisingly Beautiful

Serj Tankian by Carlos Tischler

Most of the time, mash-ups exist to make us snicker at the combination of disparate genres. When someone brings together, say, Ozzy Osbourne and the Beach Boys, or Slipknot and Barney the Dinosaur, we can all chuckle at the idea of these two songs finally meeting one another, as it were. But every so often, a mash-up actually yields the kind of track that not only makes a listener feel something, but also elevates both songs that were used to create it. Such is the case, oddly enough, with this mash-up of System of a Down‘s “Aerials” and Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise.”

The mash-up comes via YouTuber William Maranci, and combines the vocal parts, including the choir parts, of “Gangsta’s Paradise” with the instrumentals of “Aerials.” While this sounds incongruous on paper, one quickly realizes how somber and deep both tracks are, and how well the message of the one goes with the minor-chord sadness of the other. We, like you, first saw this mash-up and thought, Ha, classic. But upon hearing how well these two melancholy songs go together, we were struck by how powerful this merging is.

Check out the mash-up below:

It’s not as though the System of a Down dudes are entirely divorced from the hip-hop world. According to a recent interview, bassist Shavo Odadjian was at one point bosom buds with rapper Kanye West.

“I used to be very good friends with Kanyé [West, Kim Kardashian’s ex],” said Shavo. “Though this was a few years ago now, I’ve been to their house a lot. They’re just like you’d imagine they’d be: very cool, personable people. In fact, when System Of A Down was asked to play in Armenia in 2015, come to find out that Kanyé had just played the same venue a week before we did. Yeah, I like the Kardashians a lot.”

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Words by Chris Krovatin