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10 Epic Metal Covers of Hip-Hop Classics

From the early '90s to now.


No matter how opposite two genres may sound, they're all destined to cross-pollinate at some point in history. From a wild experiment by Anthrax and Public Enemy in the early '90s, to the Pop Goes craze of the 2000s, to the current YouTube era of epic bedroom covers, these are the very best rap-goes-metal tracks.

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The Devil Wears Prada – “Still Fly” (Big Tymers)

Punk Goes Crunk should’ve been a bridge too far, but with the success of Fearless Records’ Punk Goes series, crunk was just too tempting to pass up. The 2008 album didn’t get great reviews, but The Devil Wears Prada (still in the early stages of their career) absolutely crushed “Still Fly” by New Orleans rap duo Big Tymers. The keyboards are this cover’s bread and butter, giving “Still Fly” an atmospheric edge as Mike Hranica delivers a killer vocal performance. 

Throwdown – “Baby Got Back” (Sir Mix-a-Lot)

If you were a metalhead surviving high school in the early 2000s, chances are one of your friends popped an earbud into your ear and made you listen to this cover on their iPod. Throwdown found the perfect balance between hilarious and awesome for their version of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s gluteus classic. “Baby Got Back” was great the very first time you heard it, and it still holds up 20 years later.

System of a Down & RZA – “Shame” (Wu-Tang Clan)

The RZA must have given Serj Tankian a… uhhh… “pass” for this cover. System of a Down’s nu-metal version of Wu-Tang Clan’s “Shame on a N*gga” is a perfect rap-to-metal cut. It’s fun, energetic, rhythmic and makes you want to revisit Wu-Tang’s iconic 36 Chambers. Tankian and RZA trade verses on “Shame,” but Serj holds his own even next to the hip-hop mastermind. No wonder the Rick Rubin-produced track was put first on the Loud Rocks compilation it was released on. 

Anthrax & Public Enemy – “Bring the Noise”

This immortal classic was metal’s version of Aerosmith & Run DMC’s “Walk This Way.” Before the advent of of nü-metal and way before crossover collabs were accepted by most metal fans, Anthrax and Public Enemy broke down the rap/metal barrier with “Bring the Noise” (sometimes stylized as “Bring tha Noize”). Both groups actually released the collab on their respective 1991 albums, ultimately changing the worlds of rap and metal for the better. 

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Rage Against the Machine – “How I Could Just Kill a Man” (Cypress Hill)

Rage Against the Machine’s farewell came in the form of the 2000 covers album, Renegades. The record is absolutely packed with killer covers, including rock classics like the Rolling Stones’ “Street Fighting Man” and Bruce Springsteen’s “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” plus hip-hop favorites like Afrika Bambaataa’s “Renegades of Funk” and Volume 10’s “Pistol Grip Pump.” But arguably, the heaviest cover on Renegades is Cypress Hill’s “How I Could Just Kill a Man.” Sounds like it was destined to become a Rage song.

Tallah – “GOOBA” (6ix9ine)

Tallah wasted no time covering “GOOBA” by 6ix9ine. The controversial rapper released his back-from-prison track on May 8, 2020, and by May 10, Tallah had already posted their cover of “GOOBA” to YouTube. Vocalist Justin Bonitz really shines on this track, proving again why he’s nü-metal’s man of 1,000 voices. It’s about as deranged as 6ix9ine looks, and way too much fun to listen to. 

Leo Moracchioli – “Gangsta’s Paradise” (Coolio)

There are SO MANY great covers of Coolio’s ‘90s mega-hit “Gangsta’s Paradise.” Slaughter to Prevail’s Alex Terrible, Like a Storm, UMC and State of Mine all released notable ones, and Falling in Reverse even collaborated with Coolio himself for a Pop Goes Punk version. For this list, however, we’ve gotta give the nod to Leo Moracchioli. Performed entirely by himself, Moracchioli delivered YouTube’s most fun and dynamic version of “Gangsta’s Paradise,” even giving the classic a killer guitar solo. Check it out!

Bloodywood – “Rockstar” (Post Malone)

Before Bloodywood became India’s greatest force of modern metal, the group made its name doing cover songs. One of their finest reinventions is of Post Malone’s “Rockstar,” where Bloodywood didn’t just cover the song, but wrote their own version of it. Instead of using the original’s party-centric lyrics, the Indian band wrote about what it’s like being a struggling act coming up in the metal underground — chasing the rockstar life while getting turned away at every corner. 

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Miss May I – “Run This Town” (Jay-Z)

Jay-Z’s massive hit “Run This Town” had a ton of star power behind it, including features from Kanye West and Rihanna. It’s one of the biggest hip-hop singles in recent memory, so Miss May I had a huge challenge on their hands when they chose to cover the cut for Pop Goes Punk Vol. 3. Like any great cover, Miss May I hit the perfect balance on “Run This Town,” keeping the song’s classic chorus while going full metalcore on its verses. Well done, boys.

The Animal in Me – “Rap God” (Eminem)

Given the speed of Eminem’s epic “Rap God,” any cover is impressive by default, but this is easily one of the most well-executed covers you’ll ever hear. The Animal in Me didn’t just scream their way through Eminem’s rapid-fire verses, but gave a massive melody to his chorus. Everything about this cover is super high-level, and it’s ridiculous that this video only got four million views in eight years. 

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