Rare's Donkey Kong games hold a permanent place in gamers' hearts for many reasons, but the soundtracks might be the most memorable thing they gave us. Yes, there's the meme in music form known as the "DK Rap," but even before that Rare was giving us absolute bangers. And the hypest of these has to be Donkey Kong Country's "Funky's Fugue."
Even without clicking on that video, you can probably hear the "HI-YAH!" chant. Thinking about the track now, however, there are some things that seem odd about it. For one, it's very upbeat for what is essentially a fast travel menu. It also doesn't seem to mix quite as well with the rest of Donkey Kong Country's music, almost as if it was composed by a different person. In fact, that's exactly what happened.
An old video from DidYouKnowGaming? revealed that "Funky's Fugue" sounds a lot like the background music from a promotional video about the fighting game Killer Instinct. Since both games were made by Rare and came out around the same time, DidYouKnowGaming? theorized that one probably borrowed the song from the other.
Inspired by the discovery, a fan reached out to Robin Beanland, the composer credited for "Funky's Fugue." Beanland explained that the track was indeed created for Killer Instinct, but that Nintendo thought it was cool enough to use for Donkey Kong Country's E3 promotion. That in turn caused Rare to like it enough to put it in the actual game.
Beanland also shared the original version of the track, matched with the Killer Instinct footage he wrote it for.
Thanks 🙂— Robin Beanland (@TheRealBeano) February 22, 2019
Yes it was originally written for an internal update/progress video for KI. @NintendoAmerica liked the track enough to use it for DKC promotion at E3...Tim loved it on the promo video and wanted it on the game. Here’s the original version 🙂https://t.co/W8EuNFzHEK
When paired with footage of Killer Instinct, everything about the track's composition clicks. The use of synths matches Killer Instinct's style perfectly, and the purpose of the "HI-YAH!" is revealed to be building hype for this revolutionary fighting game.
Beanland is still working with Rare writing music for Sea Of Thieves. But he might never again reach the heights of "Funky's Fugue," a song so iconic it was included in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's soundtrack over 20 years after its initial release. Maybe he should include some hype bro chanting in his next Sea Of Thieves piece.