Last summer, jazz trio Bad Bad Not Good showed the world another side of the depth and darkness of the music of Tyler the Creator and Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All with their Goblin medley. Now, the guys have returned with a new mixtape that attacks on all genre fronts.
The boys (and girl) of Odd Future became certified sensations earlier this year, with Tyler, the Creator and the mysterious Earl Sweatshirt inspiring seemingly thousands of think pieces about hip-hop, violence, and misogyny (in other words, Eminem 2.0). In the middle of all the noise, though, one much quieter member of the Odd Future family snuck outside the OF circle to become a certified star in his own right. He appeared on Jay-Z/Kanye West’s new album and earned a couple of crossover hits that it’s hard to imagine his peers having. It’s Frank Ocean, whose “Swim Good” could become this fall’s cool song to cover.
Odd Future vocalist Frank Ocean’s mixtape Nostalgia/Ultra includes several catchy pop gems, but none as moody and ominous as the grammatically-incorrect standout “Swim Good.” Picking up on the darkness in the song, Providence, RI native Gavin Castleton just released what he calls a cover/mashup/remix of the track, using a newly-recorded vocal track and samples from “Roads” by Portishead as well as Lee Oskar’s “Our Road” and Ananda Shankar’s “The Ocean.”
It’s hard to know what to expect from covers of rap tunes. You’ve got your lyric-for-lyric covers, often ironically repurposed for some new genre; there’s the occasional trimmed-down electro cover, instrumental except for the chorus; every so often, there’s a rapper rearranging and reproducing and really covering the original. Then, occasionally, we see something like Bad Bad Not Good’s Goblin medley – something new and transformative and requiring no familiarity with the source material to appreciate it.
This Week on Bandcamp rounds up our favorite covers to hit the site in the past seven days.
This week’s Bandcamp selection is kind of a downer. There’s a cover that sounds like Suicide and a cover of a guy who committed suicide. There’s the story of an orphan sent to New York and the story of a young rap prodigy banished to a Samoan reform school (purportedly). For once, Bon Iver seems the cheeriest person around.