Justin Timberlake appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon over the weekend. As it has twice before (here and here), the occasion necessitated a look at the “History of Rap.” The duo once more busted a move dropping lines from classic hip-hip tracks with the Roots backing.
No secret that we love Telephoned. The covers duo of Maggie Horn and Sammy Bananas consistently bring one of the freshest approaches to covers out there. We named last year’s Off the Hook mixtape the third-best covers album of 2010 and now they’ve released another: Good Call. It finds the duo branching out even further to redefine the “cover” concept. Their general M.O. – cover one song while remixing it with another – proves more fluid than ever and the song selection follow suit.
It’s quite obvious that alternative rock band Taking Back Sunday and rapper Kanye West sit on opposite sides of the musical spectrum. But maybe it’s this very fact that makes TBS’s cover of West’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” such an interesting and satisfying listen. TBS lead vocalist Adam Lazzara and guitarist John Nolan manage to successfully deliver a folksy rendition of this downtempo hip hop song using only their voices and guitars.
As a rapper, Nicki Minaj has many voices and characters she uses to tell her stories. There’s “Roman Zolanski;” Nicki’s twin sister that emerges when she’s angry; “Martha Zolanski;” Roman’s British mother; and her Spanish alter ego Rosa, just to name a few. However, her many characters do not include an Iowa singer-songwriter named Jason. But after Jason Reeves’ inspired video take on Nicki’s Drake-featuring hit “Moment for Life,” maybe she should consider emulating him on her next album.
Boston duo Karmin has become one of 2011’s breakout cover stars, thanks to a cover of Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now” and a follow-up Lil Wayne cover. You want proof that they’re getting huge? Check out their latest video. It’s a version of new Nicki Minaj single “Super Bass.”
At first, it features all the hallmarks of a classic Karmin cover. Amy Heidemann strums a guitar while quasi-rapping Minaj’s lyrics while Nick Noonan plays plaintive piano chords. After a minute or so, though, the camera slowly zooms out to reveal Questlove and Owen Biddle of the Roots jamming along, on drums and bass respectively. It’s just another feather in the cap of a duo who is having quite a year. Check it out below.
Last night VH1 Divas Salute the Troops aired on – you guessed it – VH1. It featured an endless stream of female pop stars, including Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Sugarland, and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Whether any of these women are really divas is questionable (Perry, maybe), but it’s hard to focus on semantics amidst this much glitter. Perry parachuted in, Minaj wore a vampire-clown-meets-Alice-from-Dilbert wig, and everyone changed costumes about every thirty seconds.
Mostly the stars pimped their current singles (though sadly no “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”-relevant “I Kissed a Girl”), but a few covers worked their way in. Props to Perry, Keri Hilson, and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland for turning the Andrews Sisters’ “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” into a full USO-worthy production. Less props to Perry and Minaj for covering “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” Hey ladies, I’m pretty sure the focus is supposed to be the soldiers, not yourselves. Still, with Katy Perry, one out of two songs not being entirely self-serving is better than normal.