Hip-hop fans protect their favorite artists and songs with the ferocity and passion of a mother lion, which is what makes remixes and covers such a precarious endeavor. Even the slightest misstep can turn a genuine attempt at paying tribute into something that makes the internet hate you forever. Lord knows we don’t need any more folk music covers of "Panda" around, no matter how hilariously awful they are.
So when I saw Busdriver dropped a rendition of Chance The Rapper’s "Juice" I was skeptical. It’s not that Busdriver isn’t a unique emcee, but rather “Juice” is one of the best songs of the past five years and one of my favorite Chance songs ever, and so I was worried. I clicked play with my hands partially over my ears, but by the end...holy shit Busdriver's version of “Juice” is fucking crazy. You need to hear it.
What made me initially love the original "Juice" was the simple fact I wasn’t sure if I loved it at all. Was it dope, weird, or both? There’s no real consistency to the record, it’s constantly shifting and has this weird, meandering path. Yet somehow Chance still glides over Nate Fox's production, maneuvering with an almost alarming nonchalance.
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I never thought I’d come across another emcee who'd be able to pull that off and yet Busdriver stays true to the original, all while putting his own spin on it. I love how he plays with the Donny Hathaway sample a little more than Fox, and on the mic he’s just as engaging, finding pockets to flow in and then jumping out of them a few seconds later.
While it’s not quite as uniquely special as the original, it takes what I love about Chance’s version and magnifies it. It's the perfect blend between paying homage to an original and creating something new, something most covers and unofficial remixes fails to do. As the biggest fan on the plane of Chance's "Juice," I'm using my completely made up authority to co-sign Busdriver's version.
Holy shit you need to hear Busdriver's cover of "Juice" because holy shit Busdriver's cover of “Juice” is fucking crazy.