When singer-songwriters cover rappers, the results can be cringe-inducing. For every Gourds, there’s a dozen Karmins – groups wink-wink-nudge-nudging at a different culture without much thought or respect given. (Plus, far too many of them cheerfully quote the n-word.)
Rayland Baxter’s new Mac Miller tribute EP feels like a different beast entirely. For one, the late rapper sang himself, which helps others’ versions of his songs avoid the rap-cover clichés of ironically slow-crooning tough rhymes over a ukulele or something. For another, Baxter’s appreciation for Miller’s work runs deep. His tribute comes from a place of real respect, and sadness at a promising young talent gone far too soon.