Although Dreamville duo Earthgang is primarily known as inventive rappers in the vein of fellow Atlantans Outkast and Goodie Mob, on many of their tracks they’ve shown some impressive singing chops as well. Today, group member Olu really showed off his eyebrow-raising range with a tender cover of Marvin Gaye’s classic hit “What’s Going On,” dedicated to Olu’s late father Milton Ahdwele Fann. Olu explained why he chose the song and released the cover in a guest editorial on DJBooth.
Olu says that “What’s Going On” was one of his father’s favorite songs, but that singing was cathartic for him as he struggles with the dark thoughts brought on by a seemingly endless coronavirus lockdown and rising racist sentiment both online and IRL. “This cover is my gift to my father and anyone separated from loved ones, or feeling low or apathetic about the current state of our world,” he writes. “Y’all keep your heads high and your spirits higher. We will get through this and love more and more on the other side.”
“We all had plans for 2020. We all had goals to better our lives,” he continues. “And here we sit, fighting a global disease, struggling to eat, struggling to keep a roof over our head, struggling to educate our children and keep them safe, struggling to save the world from climate change while fighting racism, sexism, classicism, and individualism… It’s a lot to deal with. It’s a lot to process. So singing becomes this cathartic activity when you can’t cry because you aren’t exactly sure what you are feeling.”
What Olu is feeling, he says, is a sense of hope inspired by the words of Mr. Gaye. “It’s a reminder that somewhere, some of us, most of us do care. We see with our hearts and think with them, too. That even if we’re trapped in the rat race, we know this isn’t the answer. We know there is more love in us.”Watch Olu’s sweet cover of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” above.