Just because rappers don’t always sing, that doesn’t mean that what they’re doing isn’t musical. It very much is, just not quite in the same way. Rappers have a different but overlapping set of concerns from singers, concerns that are musically just as valid: Maintaining a consistent pace, staying in rhythm, managing their breathing, and so on. Cover songs don’t seem to be as popular in hip-hop as they are in other genres, but they happen sometimes. Here’s one: Striking Matches, a duo consisting of Sarah Zimmerman and Justin Davis, have shared their guitar-only interpretation of Kanye West’s “Gold Digger.”
Davis starts by banging out the rhythm on an acoustic guitar before Zimmerman hops in and plays the main melody. As for the “rapping,” that’s handled by Davis, switching to an electric guitar and soloing in a rhythm and tonality that pretty closely approximates Kanye’s flow on the song. What results is a bluesy and rhythmic track, which makes sense given that it’s based on both hip-hop and Ray Charles’ “I Got A Woman.”
It’s a bit of a silly idea, sure, but ultimately it works, and comes across as sounding like if Jack White got more into hip-hop (which hey, on his latest album, he kind of is). Watch Striking Matches perform “Gold Digger” above.