Over the course of the '80s, rappers and funky rock stars alike combined melodic harmonies with hip hop to perform songs such as Biz's popular rap-rock tune "Just A Friend." Though Biz can be held responsible for popularizing a movement of off-key vocals in hip hop, performers such as Ice-T and Vic Mensa in the '90s and early 2000s both proved they could carry a tune in their metal and rap-rock bands, respectively.
As of the 2010 decade, popular hip hop singers such as Kanye West, Post Malone, and Machine Gun Kelly have showcased their surprisingly impressive vocals with their covers of rock and indie songs. And though we already know rap singers like Queen Latifah and Drake can hold their own when it comes to harmonies, fans went wild for Post's acoustic cover of Nirvana's "All Apologies" and MGK's version of Linkin Park's "Numb."
Which rap singers have the best vocal range? And which ones should just stick to making rhymes?
Post Malone is more than just a rapper. He has produced several songs that blend musical genres like rock and R&B. The singer/songwriter/record producer has a long history of covering popular artists, including Sublime, Bob Dylan, Aerosmith, and Metallica.
One of his more impressive covers came in 2017 at the House of Blues in Boston when the artist sang an acoustic version of Nirvana's hit single "All Apologies." The song is off of the trio's 1993 third and final studio album, In Utero.
Lauryn Hill has an impressive career as a singer, songwriter, and rapper. Her first solo album, 1998's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, was the first hip hop record to win the Grammy for Album of the Year in '99, on top of several other awards. She is a legendary artist in the rap world, and in 2015, she contributed to the compilation cover album Nina Revisited... A Tribute To Nina Simone along with 12 other artists.
The album contains 16 tracks from several acclaimed musical artists like Usher and Mary J. Blige. Hill sang six Simone tracks, including an impressive rendition of "Feeling Good." Simone's own version is a cover as well; it was originally recorded for the 1964 musical The Roar of the Greasepaint. Simone recorded "Feeling Good" for her 1965 studio album I Put a Spell on You.
Eminem displays his own version of rap-rock in "Mockingbird," the 2004 love letter to his daughters, Hailie and Alaina. Though "Mockingbird" is first and foremost a rap number, he samples a singsong lullaby, "Hush Little Baby, Don't Say a Word," during the chorus.
Most of Eminem's songs are deeply personal, but "Mockingbird" - which peaked at 11 on Billboard's Hot 100 in 2005 - is special because it describes his troubled relationship with his ex-wife Kim and the difficulty of having to be apart from his daughters because of his music career.
In 2004, he told Rolling Stone:
When Mom was on the run [Hallie and Alaina] didn't understand it, and I'm not the greatest talker in the world, especially when I'm trying to explain to two little girls what's goin' on with someone who's always been a part of their life and just disappeared. So ["Mockingbird"] was my song to explain to them what was goin' on, probably the most emotional song I ever wrote.
Following the loss of Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington in 2017, rapper Machine Gun Kelly wanted to pay homage to the frontman. MGK recorded a raw and emotional version of Linkin Park's 2004 Billboard hit single "Numb" as a tribute to Bennington.
"Numb" is one of the alt-rock band's most popular tracks. The cut is off of their 2003 second album Meteora.