The Fray’s cover of Kanye West’s “Heartless” in 2009 is one of the more celebrated covers of a rap song.
by Sean Smith
The internet is littered with covers of popular rap songs. Thanks to Youtube, anyone with a webcam and an internet connection can self-publish a cover of their favorite hip hop song. The results can range from horrendously cringeworthy to artistically brilliant. So I thought I would share, in no particular order, six of my favorite covers of rap songs that in my opinion are as good or better than the original.
1. The Gourds cover “Gin and Juice” by Snoop Doggy Dogg
The bluegrass style in which The Gourds cover this rap classic in, which seems like it shouldn’t work at all, is surprisingly good.
2. Ed Sheeran and Passenger cover “No Diggity” by Blackstreet
This cover of the 1996 classic by Blackstreet was done in March of 2013 and also includes a bit of Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” toward the end.
3. Ben Folds covers “B*tches Ain’t Sh*t” by Dr. Dre
The Ben Folds Five frontman breathed new life into the explicit lyrics of this Dr. Dre song with his 2005 cover. Ben Folds version actually broke into the Billboard Hot 100 peaking at #71.
4. Obadiah Parker covers “Hey Ya” by Outkast
This cover of Outkast’s “Hey Ya” was originally performed by Parker in 2006 during an open mic night, and when a recording of it hit the internet it went viral.
5. Dynamite Hack covers “Boyz In The Hood” by Eazy-E of N.W.A.
This gangsta rap cover was the biggest hit of the alt-rock band Dynamite Hack’s career, peaking at #12 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart in 2000.
6. The Fray covers “Heartless” by Kanye West
The voice of The Fray’s frontman Isaac Slade makes this sincere Kanye West track somehow even more honest with the emotion he is able to bring out with each lyric of this 2009 cover.