Review Summary: Is Mac Roc’s attempt at the cover worth it? Well, yeah, it sure is, but it doesn’t completely do justice to it.
Here is another cover of Korede Bello’s hit song ‘Godwin’ by rock producer Mac Roc with Luciano featured as the vocalist (Listen to it HERE). Clay has also released a rock cover of ‘Godwin’ and it is widely accepted by the Nigerian rock community, a lot of them who did not initially like the Original version of the song, now jam the song often on their media players. Between Clay’s cover of Godwin and Mac Roc’s cover, I heard Clay’s cover first and I’ll be making a lot of comparison with it here, but I’m not here to talk about Clay’s cover of Godwin, but to share my opinion on Mac Roc’s cover of the same song. The point where Hip-Hop meets Rock has been crowded for years with millions of rock covers of Hip-Hop songs with only a few bands being able to truly capture the perfect combination of the two genres. Finding the correct mix between Hip-Hop and Rock can be difficult because of this oversaturation, but that doesn’t stop new bands from giving it a try, like Mac Roc. Great musicianship and heartfelt lyrics offer a platform for new fans to really be drawn in and connect with an artist.
A lot of rock bands and rock solo artists have done great covers of hip hop songs. Take for instance 1LastAutograph’s cover of ‘Yes/No’ by Banky W; 1LastAutograph took it a notch up with a more heavy rendition. The Nigerian Post Hard-Core band turned up the tempo and the flow as if they were casually performing it in their living room. The approach to the song takes it from bass heavy hip-hop to an almost pop rock feel; even with Banky W’s quintessentially current lyrics. Now that’s the way to go when doing a cover of a hip-hop song, infuse a unique feel into it that would differentiate it from the original hip-hop version.
Personally, I had not heard either of Mac Roc’s earlier productions or Luciano’s singing, but when I first jammed this cover of Godwin, I was a bit impressed. The opening piano intro gave the impression of a country song. The clarity of the vocals, I mean there was a clear distinction between the vocals and the instruments. Both the guitar and Luciano’s voice were balanced out and you could hear both clearly without having to strain your ears. And then he also included a guitar solo, an actual guitar solo. Now that gives this cover some credit and a reason to want to listen to it again. It was the first thing that caught my attention. Maybe because it is missing on Clay’s cover. The cover acts as a perfect storm for Mac Roc, with the drums rolling through parts of the song like distant thunder, whilst the guitars act as the lightning; powerful, yet beautiful. Overall, I’ll like to give some credit to the vocalist for audibility, and the production of the song. Nice infusion of the instruments, but a bit of creative drumming would’ve made it a lot better.
Yes, Mac Roc has managed to pull off a cover for the hip-hop song ‘Godwin’ but the simple fact is that the cover itself has its issues. Luciano’s vocals though clear and audible, as they were on this cover, just did not do enough justice to this song. When compared with Clay’s version, the difference is glaring. No emotion was put into the singing. The instruments were a good mix, but lacks creativity which made them boring and bland. The song has no emotion or creativity to hold the entire song together between the half-hearted choral swells. These oversights show that Luciano is simply lazy, because despite his ability to sing good melodies, he somehow refuses to address errors that are repeated throughout the song. More often than not during this cover’s soaring chorus, Luciano forms vocal melodies that differ noticeably from what other rock artists are doing, creating a feeling of vocal-driven music in a genre that should not be structured that way. Rather than taking the evolution shown within other covers like the example of 1LastAutograph I stated earlier and realizing that a formula that reinvents itself on the back of shifting, evocative guitar riffs is the best way to approach this “radio rock” style, he instead opts for the simpler path of tossing around chords and hoping they fall into some sort of intelligible order.
That’s fine, though, I understand that Rock is not yet fully accepted and developed in Nigeria and in fact, I think it’s entirely unfair to compare Rock artists/bands in Nigeria to other Rock artist/bands in developed countries simply because there was a time rock artists/bands in developed countries were at this stage of development. Considering the pace at which rock is developing in the country, this cover still is a forgivable misstep.