Rap eats its old. At least that’s the story the media sells but it’s slightly untrue. Rappers revere the reigning elders, yet don’t celebrate them in song as much as maybe they should. Unfortunately, this is much different than another genre like Rock where an upstart band can cut its teeth doing covers of musical influences while simultaneously sharing in sort of oral folk history, keeping alive the names of songs and bands from yesteryear. Death Cab For Cutie can remake a whole Tom Petty song while an older rapper will want to beef with his younger counterpart just for “biting” a single punchline. Being tastemakers, we would like to see Hip-Hop adopt a change in format where covering older songs is acceptable. To begin, here are 15 suggested songs we would like to see covered and the artists chosen to do so.
1. Big Sean for 2Pac’s “I Get Around”
Beyond his introspective and often controversial exterior, there was a side of Tupac who simply wanted to get high, get p#ssy and party. We’re pretty sure Detroit’s G.O.O.D. spokesman dabbles in all three on occasion. The summertime cookout with his people and half naked women running around seems like his type of environment. Plus, who wouldn’t pay a pretty penny to see Kanye don the Groucho Marx shades and do Shock G’s part?
2. The Kid Daytona for Jay-Z’s “Feeling It”
Harking back to the days when swag was more superficially substantial, who else would be better to tackle the Jiggaman’s paper tales than The Kid Daytona? Let’s see: distinctive New Yorker dialect to dignify everything spoken? Check. A penchant for dropping neatly packed metaphors underneath larger ones? You betcha. Daytona already entertained his love for revisiting storied material with his latest project, thus making him a viable candidate to do Jay-Z justice beyond a reasonable doubt.
3. Freddie Gibbs for Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s “Down ’71 (The Getaway)”
Swap I-71 for I-65 and Cleveland’s original kings, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, for Gary, Indiana’s Freddie Gibbs, and you have a potentially brilliant tongue-twisting remake on your hands. Not only is the Baby-Faced Killer Midwestern rap’s golden child, but his rapid-fire delivery has its roots in the Ohioans’ machine gun linguistics. Sprinkle gritty lyrics of Bones’ infamous escape onto the already malicious beat and Gibbs has another scorching track to add to his growing resume.
4. Waka Flocka Flame for Pastor Troy’s “No More Play In GA (We Ready)”
If the North has “Ante Up,” then the South has “No More Play In GA.” There aren’t many more songs in the history of music with the intensity, ignorance and excitement than Pastor Troy’s shot towards Master P and No Limit. And you’re crazy if you’re telling us Waka Flocka couldn’t do this track justice given the chance.
5. Danny Brown for Eminem’s “My Name Is”
There must be something in the water in Detroit as that city creates certified wack jobs. Danny is a more melanin-endowed crazy spitter that would make Marshall Mathers proud. Name-dropping C-List celebrities and a bevy of drug references would make The Hybrid’s take a fitting modern-day rendition.
6. Jay Rock & Kendrick Lamar For Dr. Dre’s “G Thang” Feat. Snoop Dogg
Already linked up gang tight, this current Cali connect have the chemistry to channel their big homies quite easily. Jay as Dre and K Dot as Tha Doggfather. Couple that with the fact this other Lamar from LA is currently overdosing with the Good Doc, so getting the nod shouldn’t even be too hard. Remaking Snoop’s flow, though, that’s the tough part.
7. YelaWolf for Tech N9ne’s “Psycho Bitch”
Everyone knows one or two females who fit under this heading. Luckily for us, good rap songs come from crazy ladies. One of the best is Techa Nina’s sinister stalker anthem that samples Michael Myers theme-song and would be a perfect template for Yela’s AK-47 flow and backlog of weirdness.
8. Dom Kennedy for Ice Cube’s “Who’s The Mack?”
Regardless how you may view the guy these days, there weren’t many rappers better at lacing game than Ice Cube during the late ’80s and early ’90s. The man was literally a walking pamphlet on how to operate in the world. Westside Dom’s recliner-like flow would bode well for paying homage to Oshea’s ode toward the world’s oldest profession.
9. Vado for Kool G Rap’s “Great Train Robbery”
Swift with it and vivid, G Rap’s rap flow has been the influence for many an artists’ style, whether he’s directly cited as the source or not. And while Vado’s vocal flair is commonly associated with Uptown’s flashy approach, his rhymes actually share a likeness to Kool’s ability to add in the gritty details that make songs like “Great Train Robbery” audio equivalents to page-turning books.
10. Nicki Minaj and Drake for Lil Kim’s “Crush On You” Feat. Lil Cease
Getting Nicki to wear the various shades of clothes would be well worth the price of admission. However, watching Drake mimic Cease with his ridiculous hand movements is hilarious just thinking of the possibilities. Still, this could be tricky territory and might serve as a catalyst for Kim, who might see it as the ultimate form of disrespect. This would probably lead to a series of diss tracks and YouTube videos with aimless threats no one would bother to remember 12 hours following their release.
11. Odd Future for LL Cool J’s “4,3,2,1”
Odd Future might not be able to drop science like Canibus or career-ending one-liners like LL, but Erick Sermon’s grimy beat would definitely inspire demented rhymes to rival Meth, Red, & X and do the now-classic movie-monster video justice.
12. XV For The Pharcyde’s “Passin Me By”
Elastic flow, earnest to the point of self-deprecating, and never one to take himself too, too seriously, the kid from Kansas City, XV, could very well have been the fifth member of The Pharcyde if he were twenty years older. His verse alone on “Love Lockdown” could fit into any number of the Cali crew’s tracks about the opposite sex.
13. B.o.B. & Playboy Tre for N.W.A.’s “Automobile”
The idea of a genial Bobby Ray tackling a misogynistic might seem too far left field but the key factors are there. Great singing abilities, Tre’s ability to play multiple personalities on record and his comedic sensibilities. Add in a small dose of B.o.B strumming the guitar while singing Eazy’s lead and there’s a winner lying in wait here.
14. Grip Plyaz, Pill & Aleon Craft for Youngbloodz “85” Feat. Big Boi and Jim Crow
Youngbloodz interstate ode floats like a bowtie suited and booted box Chevy. To adequately cover the tune requires charisma and an ability to carry a tune. Therefore, Grip Plyaz, Pill and Aleon Craft seem suitable. Pill gets Big’s verse while Grip’s drawl easily covers for both J-Bo & Sean P. Rounding it out, Aleon croons the chorus and the music is made.
15. Wale & Kid Cudi for Onyx’s “Da Nex Niguz”
Direct correlation? None whatsoever. Song’s relevance to the artists? Nada. We’re just of the opinion that there needs to be more homage paid to Onyx’s Bacdafucup. To match the raw aggression of the “Official Nastee Nigguz,” it’s going to require a certain level of tension in the studio and who better than these two bitter rivals?