When it comes to hip hop covers, often than not you’re left thinking “why would they even attempt covering THAT song!?” But then there are those that cause you to begin dancing around your room with excitement.
But what’s most surprising is when those covers are done by non-hip hop artists. I don’t know if it’s the initial shock of “oh my god, this actually sounds good,” or the weird juxtaposition of when the song is done in another genre entirely. The bottom line, though, is that they’re good and all we want to do is listen to them.
Here are 10 of the best hip hop covers from non-hip hop artists.
Ed Sheeran and Passenger — “No Diggity / Thrift Shop”
A pretty recent cover comes from music’s most soulful ginger, Ed Sheeran, who teamed up with Passenger’s Mike Rosenberg during a recent visit to Australian radio to give us an amazing mash up of Blackstreet’s 90’s hit “No Diggity” and Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop.”
Ed Sheeran — “Empire State of Mind”
Ed Sheeran makes another appearance on this list with his cover of Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State” of Mind for BBC Radio 1. Ed can do no wrong, so it’s no surprise that this cover (like everything he does) is nothing short of perfection.
This is starting to look like an Ed Sheeran list of covers, but what can I say, the guy’s a genius!
You know when you hear a cover and you recognize absolutely nothing about that song until you search it and your mind is completely blown!? Yeah that was me when coming across Ed’s cover of Genuwine’s 90’s hit “Pony Ed” recorded for ThisisRnB.com. Side note: I had no idea how dirty this song was until hearing this. So, thanks Ed.
Justin Bieber — “Thinking About You” ft. Jaden Smith
Frank Ocean may not exactly be hip hop but this cover from Canada’s very own “golden boy” Justin Bieber and Will Smith’s son, Jaden is so good I had to include it. In their rendition of Ocean’s”Thinking About You,” JBiebs and Jaden didn’t stray from the original sound and vibe of the song, bringing us a very mature and soulful cover. I’m sure Mr. Ocean would be proud.
Demi Lovato — “How to Love”
When I first came across this cover, I was admittedly scratching my head but Demi knocks the original to the corner. Giving Lil Wayne’s “How to Love” a whole new definition of raw emotion, the girl proves she can sing just about anything.
Katy Perry — “Paris”
Who knew Katy Perry could cover a hip hop song like Jay Z and Kanye Wests’ “Paris” so well, right!? Well that’s exactly what she did during a visit at BBC. Showing a different side to her vocal abilities, Katy donned on a New York cap and strayed from her cotton candy “California Girls” pop sound.
Karmin — “Started from the Bottom”
Proving girls can do hip hop just as well as dudes, in their most recent cover, Amy of Karmin took on Toronto’s very own Drake singing his latest single Started from Bottom. There’s no denying the girl can rap and hearing this version kind of made me like the song more.
Cody Simpson — “Evenings in London”
Another Drake cover comes courtesy of Australian cutie Cody Simpson. Putting his own take on Drake’s Marvin’s Room, Cody changed the lyrics and called it Evening’s in London. Would I dare say, he actually made it better than the original!?… Yes I do. Sorry Drizzy.
Conor Maynard — “Diamonds”
During a visit to London’s BT Infinity, Connor Maynard covered Diamonds by Rihanna. This unplugged version is pretty amazing and may cause swooning.
Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake— “The History of Rap”
I feel to not add this would basically be a crime so I’m ending my list with everyone’s favourite history lesson. Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake got together to create what could be dubbed the best hip hop/rap medley ever with “The History of rap.” And during last week’s “TimberWeek” on Late night, everyone was wondering if there would there be a part 4 from this budding bromance and to our excitement they did not disappoint.
Young The Giant — “Ignition”
Asides from being class acts, Young the Giant kills the R. Kelly tracks in pre-“Thrift Shop” fur coats. Pimpin’ never looked this good.