White Girls Covering Hip Hop Hits

Illustration for article titled White Girls Covering Hip Hop Hits

Before Kreayshawn, there was the white girl covering hip hop hits on YouTube. Or, more precisely, there were many.

Here, in fact, is a version of the Willis Test in action (how would that lyric sound sung by a woman?) with the added element of race and appropriation.


Karmin's cover of Chris Brown and Busta Rhymes' "Look At Me Now" debuted in April and has 21 million hits to its name. Even more striking than her matching (or coming close to) Busta: Her demure yet giddy facial expressions. For whatever reason, there's an entire subgenre of cute, young white girls attempting this on YouTube.

Sung by The Voice contestant Dia Frampton (who, for what it's worth, is half-Korean) Kanye West's "Heartless"'s refrain of "to a woman so heartless" takes on a rather chipper tone.

Anya Marina's version of T.I.'s "Whatever You Like" made it onto Gossip Girl. I can't handle this "sexy baby" voice and vote for the original.

Of course, a capella has long been mining this novelty. Here, back in 2008, were a bunch of girls in self-conscious tennis outfits merrily singing/rapping "Bitches Ain't Shit."

The next step, naturally, is original music. Here's a blonde, blue-eyed girl that World Star Hip Hop has been praising, which prompted one commenter to demand, "wtf do white girls have to rap about? daddy issues? and im white!"

All of these girls are young and attractive; the implied joke is the contrast between their presumed innocence or girlishness and the "hard" men who made the songs famous. In real life, the gap isn't so big, at least when it comes to the primary consumers of hip hop, if not the producers. Songs that contain exaggerated misogyny, like "Bitches Ain't Shit," get recontextualized and maybe disarmed in the process. And most the comments are either elaborate surprise or about how cute the girls are.

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There was an incredibly smart, interesting, well-informed discussion on this very topic in the comments section of Jezebel about a year ago, when all the old timers were still here. I wish I could find it, because it was like, 50 comments deep. Even though I didn't necessarily agree with all of it, I loved reading it. Anyway. Maybe someone else remembers it better and would know where to find it?

The best white-girl cover of a rap song is Jenny Owen Youngs, "Hot in Herre."