Imitation is the best form of flattery. It demonstrates the borrower’s love for the originator’s idea by recreating it through their own vision. From movies to books to music, creators emulating work has facilitated fantastic renditions time and time again.
A few weeks ago, Chance The Rapper performed a live cover of Drake’s “Feel No Ways” on BBC Radio 1Xtra. He calmly asserted his presence on the soulfulViews hit through injecting his soft-spoken, slightly raspy flow that grew into an emotional conviction on the song’s hook. He effectively made it his own while paying Drake homage to create a moving musical piece. Just further evidence of Chance’s versatility, and why he’s a superstar.
Without imitations or covers, we would never get to experience art’s deeper beauty. They provide different dimensions of the original piece to unlock hidden potential. It’s not competing to see who can produce the best version, it’s to test artistic boundaries; to reimagine.
Take a look below at 10 of my favorite covers by Hip Hop artists (in no particular order):
“Feel No Ways” by Drake, covered by Chance The Rapper
“So Into You” by Tamia, covered by Childish Gambino
“Heard Em Say” by Kanye West, covered by G-Eazy
“Feeling Good” by Nina Simone, covered by Lauryn Hill
“L$D” by A$AP Rocky, covered by Raury
“First Day of My Life" by Bright Eyes, covered by Mac Miller
“All Together Now” by The Beatles, covered by André 3000
“No One’s Going to Love You” by Band of Horses, covered by Cee Lo Green
“Why Go” by Pearl Jam, covered by P.O.S.