The ten best non-rap covers of rap songs

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In the past few years, it has become fashionable for non-rap artists to cover rap songs, and it's often with an overwhelming irony. Most of the time, though, the best covers are ones that take the tune seriously enough to create something that expands on the original in a creative way. Here are the ten best non-rap covers of rap songs.

See also: The ten best rap videos of all time

10. Dynamite Hack - "Boyz In the Hood" originally by Eazy-E
This is the one ironic rap cover that predates and out-executes the vast majority of the others. Dynamite Hack is brash and assuming in its status as a tourist in rap culture, and though they make light of Eazy's subject matter in a way that could be taken as disrespectful, they do respect the song. They know when to lay on the cheese and when to pull back, and the result is a thoroughly enjoyable adaptation of a classic rap song.

9. Alex Pelzer - "Crew Love" originally by Drake
It's not surprising that if any rap song would translate well to acoustic guitar, it would feature Drake and the Weeknd. Alex Pelzer brings this airy, finely-tuned product back down to earth with warmth and simplicity. Not only is Pelzer a great singer who can hold his own with the Weeknd's vocals, he does a decent job of rapping Drake's part, as well, though he doesn't quite capture the fire of the original.

8. The Gourds - "Gin and Juice" originally by Snoop Dogg
"Gin and Juice" is a song about a party and having fun, but it's also about being super cool and chill at the same time. The Gourds threw any and all inhibitions to the wind and threw down out as only a bluegrass band can, and focused purely on the fun. The aesthetic of the song is so different from Snoop's original, but in the end, it's still simply about having fun, just in a different way.

7. Tori Amos - "'97 Bonnie & Clyde" originally by Eminem
This song was already creepy when Eminem released it, but Tori Amos takes the creep factor to a whole new level. Apparently, she was disturbed by the thought of people grooving to a song about a man butchering his wife, so she re-recorded it, not changing any of the words, to give the song a female voice. She barely follows any rhythmic pattern and uses no melody except for the haunting "Just the two of us" refrain and the eerie strings in the background. This is less a re-imagination of music than a refusal of music and a protest.


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23 comments
briski
briski

Check George Barnett's cover of Swimming pools , originally performed by Kendrick Lamar 

teababe27
teababe27

I would have honestly put #10 and #7 higher. #7 genuinely creeps me out to this day, and I love that cover for it.

steppesmusic
steppesmusic

Not that I expect this music writer to know every "non-rap" cover of ever rap song out there, but Nina Gordon's cover of "Straight Outta Compton" needs to be mentioned here.  That voice singing those lyrics is just remarkable.

Candie Bernard
Candie Bernard

I've always loved The Gourds' version of Gin and Juice. I'm glad it made the list.

Chad Kreutzer
Chad Kreutzer

I can't believe Jonathan Coulton's "Baby Got Back" didn't make the list.

Chris Winkler
Chris Winkler

Kevin Lyttle's 'Turn Me On". Re-done by Cocorosie. Sexiest song I ever did hear.

Knick Turner
Knick Turner

The Tori Amos cover of 97 Bonnie and Clyde creeps me out.

Glen Eastwood
Glen Eastwood

How is Tricky - black steel, public enemy cover not on this list. Fantastic cover.

J. Reece Baer
J. Reece Baer

Strawberry Girls did a great cover of Swimming Pools by Kendrick Lamar

Beth Olsen Borman
Beth Olsen Borman

Tricky - Black Steel ("Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" by Public Enemy)

lynnewes
lynnewes

The Civil Wars cover of I Want You Back by the Jackson 5 is great. Not rap, but it definitely took me a while to put two and two together! 

Jonah Fox
Jonah Fox

Bitches Ain't Shit by Ben Folds. So mellow. So much TROOF.

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