When will it end? I guess once people stop posting incessantly on their blogs about them xD.
So here’re a pair of pairs to celebrate this “quickly getting old” genre of ironic (and not so ironic) covers of hip hop by jealous white musicians ;-).
by Jamie Cullum
Jamie smokes it up in this cover of Pharrell’s bawdy hip hop star boast-fest ;-). Apparently Pharrell loved it and wouldn’t leave the show he heard it on until they gave him the name of the artist and CD. Nice work by the Jamester!
Outkast’s “Ms. Jackson”
by The Vines
Awww… it’s Andre’s song about his breakup with Erykah Badu (apparently)… and the Vines turn it into a whiny rock cover – nice!
Ones that didn’t work…
What constitutes ‘failure’ to me? A cover that essentially amounts to a totally new song in your own style simply with another song’s lyrics inserted to garner a laugh or two. To qualify that, I do like songs that are a complete reimagining/reinvention – but if you’re going to cover a song you should have more of a reason to do it than to simply score a few ironic chuckles. Unless you’re Richard Cheese, of course – but in that case, it’s okay cos your whole act is based on that sort of schtick.
Nelly’s “Hot In Herre”
by Jenny Owen Youngs
In a stunning about turn I’m going to quote a Youtube commenter here (stunning because 95% of Youtube commenters are either socially inept or 10 years old and I barely even read half of them, let alone quote them):
I’m a big non-fan of Nelly, so I’d love any opportunity to see him ragged on. This video, though, is sad, and reinforces stereotypes of caucasian folksingers as rhythmically challenged, completely out of touch with modern music, and seriously lacking musically.
Horrible idea, even more horrible execution. To cover a song well, whether you’re paying tribute or poking fun, you need to have some idea of what makes the original song work. (maxhomie)
Needless to say, I have to agree to some extent… If you’re going to cover a song – even if it’s a mock – at least have some comprehension of the song or genre you’re mocking so you can present that in some way (or your take on it). Slapping the lyrics over an unoriginal and uninspiring chord progression doesn’t constitute a cover to me *shrug*. I prefer covers that bring something unexpected and fresh and/or showcase the virtuosity of the cover artist. Sadly, Jenny does neither (and I like her other song).
N.W.A.’s “Straight Outta Compton”
by Nina Gordon / Jay Brannan
I couldn’t find Nina Gordon’s cover but I guess she should get kudos for being one of the pioneers of folk/hip hop cover mockery. Imo that’s the only reason she got any coverage – because of the uniqueness of the idea at that time. Her song didn’t stick around on its own merits like Matt Weddle’s “Hey Ya”.
Niggaz With Attitude launched Dre and the whole gangsta rap movement. And gangsta rap reminds me of the World Wrestling Federation – lots of prat – I mean frat boy posturing and testosterone laden unintentional comedy (and I love gangsta rap btw – I’m going to wax lyrical about my love for g-rap in a future post and scare away my two readers one day). That’s two things that Nina got right with her cover – she reinvented the tune at least, and her version highlights the ludicrosity of the posturing in the lyrics (don’t hate on me – I love you Dre!).
So she did do something original… which is a bit more than we can say for Jay Brannan here, who does a cover of her cover… O_o (just kidding, Jay – I like the Left-Eye rap from TLC’s “Waterfalls” you added in the middle – now it’s a TOTALLY different song. Ed – apparently he didn’t add that – it’s in the original… my bad xD Well! I said I didn’t like Nina’s cover… how’m I expected to remember every detail of it… ; )
Note: Parental Advisory – Extreme Lyrics