Cover’s are a great way to pay homage to an artist’s work. In the recontextualization of the original song, it both redefines the work, if done well and transcends the music itself; cover’s act as a generational glue. Denzel Curry’s Cover of Rage Against the Machine’s classic song “Bulls on Parade” could be the poster-child of a cover done right. Set up by the Australian radio station Triple J, Curry is backed with live instrumentation which is both clean and viciously heavy. Curry explodes on the mic, ripping through the verses with a ferocious, tight flow. Offering some of the same great energy and anger that was so prevalent on his latest release “TABOO”, Denzel is able to both stay true to his own style, while at the same time doing Rage Against the Machine, and Zach De La Rocha very proud with an honest, raw, and unrelentingly vicious rendition of this song. It both pays homage to a classic song, and redefines, it for the current moment.
This idea of recontextualizing songs is a bit abstract, but it can be seen in a more concrete sense in the way that Denzel uses the guitar solo portion of the song to include one of his bars from “SIRENZ” (a song on TABOO), in which he discusses Donald Trump. “Bulls on Parade” was originally about subliminally oppressive world leaders and the way they act like bulls on a parade (literally!) destroying and conquering by any means necessary for their own gain. The way Denzel talks about Trump, “Bulls On Parade” takes on new meaning. We, in essence, re-recognize the song as coming from a previous time while still being crucial and relevant to today; that gives us a new perspective on the song itself and, ultimately, ourselves. Just as for many young Denzel Curry fans this may have been an introduction to Rage Against the Machine, for many Rage Against the Machine fans this was an introduction to Denzel Curry. In this cross-over, which is special in music (and other artistic genres), cover’s done as well as this one transcend the music altogether. What remains is a generational commonality (or glue if you will) that binds us all together in our appreciation of music. Music gives us this inter-generational commonality that, I think, shines a light on what makes music crucial. What it really leaves us wondering: When is Curry’s punk album coming out???