Apr 122010
 

I get nostalgic remembering all the turn-of-the-century fuss over a potty-mouthed white rapper corrupting the nation’s youth.  With two wars and an economic collapse to deal with these days, such worries seem almost quaint. Eminem began his comeback last year with some hits (“3 a.m,” his show-stealing verse on Lil Wayne’s “Drop the World”) and some misses (his still-parodying-1999 “We Made You” video, most of Relapse), but the world of absurdist violence and middle-school homophobia just wasn’t the same without Marshall Mathers.

Lounge-O-Leers – The Real Slim Shady
The Lounge-O-Leers occupy the same territory as Richard Cheese, bridging the gap between music and comedy.  Here the duo recites pensive spoken word over a lounge-hop beat.  Bonus points for coming up with so many sound effects to play over the naughty words.  [Buy]

Destressed – Just Lose It
You know that jugband-bluegrass “Gin and Juice”?  Same approach here.  But with more cowbell.  [Buy]

Royal Native – Criminal
The band posted a disclaimer with this piano-and-melodica cover: “We would like to point out that all the lyrical content…is Eminem’s not ours – especially the homophobic stuff, which is most of the song.”  Helpful.  [Buy]

The Script – Lose Yourself
In many people’s minds (read: the media, parents) Eminem stands for violence and misogyny.  No doubt he’s done plenty to fuel such perceptions, but this self-empowerment anthem still sounds more honest than all the blabbering about chaining his ex-wife in the basement.  [Buy]

Tori Amos – ’97 Bonnie & Clyde
Amos set the gold-standard for Eminem covers with this heart-wrenching ballad, delivered without a hint of irony.  [Buy]

Bryce Larsen – Crack a Bottle
You may have already forgotten last year’s big comeback single “Crack a Bottle,” but believe it or not it was Em’s second ever number-one hit.  [Buy]

Aislin – Guilty Conscience
If my conscious was a screamo vocalist, I’d avoid robbing convenience stores too. Actually, I’d probably avoid that regardless.  [Buy]

Jeffrey Lewis & Laura Marling – Brain Damage
This must be the only rap song ever to use the word “ornery.”  Study S.A.T. vocab with Professor Mathers!  [Buy]

Streetwize – My Name Is
I can’t believe I did a post on Dr. Dre and never came across Does Dre, an “urban jazz” album covering songs written or produced by the Doctor.  [Buy]

Emily Reay – Sing for the Moment
When you cover “Sing for the Moment” you get two songs for the price of one, since the original so heavily samples “Dream On.”  Reay wisely avoids attempting that falsetto.  [Buy]

Nov 172009
 

In the music world, Dr. Dre must have the highest influence-per-album ratio this side of the Sex Pistols. He dropped The Chronic in 1992, 2001 in 1999 and Detox in…well, don’t hold your breath. The man can be forgiven for turning his third album into hip-hop’s Chinese Democracy though. After all, it takes time to produce practically every hip-hop hit of the past twenty years. Dr. Dre discovered N.W.A., Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, Eminem, 50 Cent, The Game… The man’s production discography is ridiculous (see for yourself), but here are some high points.


The Escape Frame – Nuthin’ but a “G” Thang (Dr. Dre)
Dre’s first hit single came out in January 1993, rocketing to #2 and bringing guest star Snoop “Doggy” Dogg along for the ride. This emo-tastic cover comes from the Punk Goes Crunk compilation, which sounds exactly how you would expect. [Buy]

Kevin Davis – Fuck tha Police (N.W.A.)
Ben Folds pioneered the ironic-white-boy gangsta rap cover (and we’ll get to him), but Kevin Davis took the genre to another with this folksy acoustic number. Friend Jason Lamb joins in on harmonica, turning this into a feel-good fireside jam. It’s a laugh riot, but Davis’ admiration of the original comes through in every acoustic pluck. [Buy]

Bryce Larsen – Crack a Bottle (Eminem)
Em’ released his grand comeback album this spring. Yet, alas, it wasn’t so grand. Blame it on releasing this average song as the first single (with Dre guesting) or blame it on the “We Made You” video skewering the exact same people Shady did ten years prior. On his Hip-Hop Un-Popped! covers disc though, Larsen makes the case for Marshall Mathers 2.0. [Buy]

The Gourds – Gin and Juice (Snoop Doggy Dogg)
Like thousands of other uninformed users, when I first got this one off Napster in the dark ages of music piracy I thought it was by Phish. This is despite the fact that this bluegrass-twang singer sounds nothing like Trey Anastacio. Phish phans though, don’t despair… [Buy]

Phish – California Love (2Pac)
…cause we’d never leave you hanging! This one is by Phish, taken from a 1998 Portland jam in the middle of “Tweezer.” Wah-wah guitar and pulsing synth give it a space-age vibe that makes you want to get up and noodle dance. [Buy]

Ben Folds – Bitches Ain’t Shit (Dr. Dre)
The Dre cover against which all others will forever be judged. And for good reason. Would anyone even remember this non-single without Folds? This recording comes from his Bonnaroo 2008 performance, where he claimed to be retiring the song because people would approach him on the street as…well, listen for yourself. [Buy]

Skinny Beats – In Da Club (50 Cent)
You probably thought the world had no need for a reggae 50 Cent cover. How wrong you were. [Buy]

Aislin – Guilty Conscience (Eminem)
Dre plays the role of Eminem’s conscience here, being all, “Hey buddy, maybe let’s try not raping and murdering everyone you come across today.” The fact that Dre’s part is recreated here but some thrashcore shouter though seems more like the angel on your shoulder busting your face with a lead pipe. [Buy]

Brady Harris – Who Am I? (What’s My Name?) (Snoop Doggy Dogg)
Hey Snoop, make people would know your name if you didn’t change it so darn often! Born Cordazar Calvin Broadus, he became Snoop Doggy Dogg, then dropped the Doggy, threw in some random “izzles” and confused a nation. Yeah man, what is your name? [Buy]

Nina Gordon – Straight Outta Compton (N.W.A.)
Gordon recorded this “coffeehouse” cover at a 2005 concert, miraculously keeping a straight face throughout. Sadly she quits after Ice Cube’s opening verse, leaving MC Ren and Eazy-E straight outta luck. [Buy]