Since Machine Gun Kelly has hopped out of the hip hop game into the punk rock genre he has been the center of much derision. His relationship with Megan Fox has increased these feelings of distaste from the public, however MGK’s recent cover of Frank Ocean’s song Swim Good is magnifying them.
Frank Ocean is a revered and highly respected singer-songwriter that is idolized by fans for his avant-garde approach to R&B. Ever since his 2012 hit song Thinkin Bout You from his Grammy-winning album Channel Orange he has been held-up as one of the preeminent contemporary soul singers of our generation.
So any artist that covers any of Ocean’s songs, especially a song from his iconic 2011 mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra, would have been heavily scrutinized just like MGK is being.
“An MGK cover of Swim Good AND an awful TikTok dance to Lost [another Frank Ocean song]? What did Frank Ocean do to deserve this?,” someone tweeted.
After listening to MGK’s cover of Swim Good I was actually in for a pleasant surprise. The 31-year-old ex-rapper didn’t completely butcher the song, and he actually had a nice emo-ish voice tonality for the cadence of the record. MGK of course punk’d the track, switching out the alt R&B production of the original for a folky punk rock one with hip hop undertones.
Overall MGK’s cover was actually decent, and wasn’t completely unbearable to listen to. What the Bloody Valentine crooner did with Frank Ocean’s 2011 record isn’t uncommon for members of the rock community. Rockers have been covering hip hop songs for years—like in 2007 when the hard rock band Framing Hanley did a rock rendition of Lil Wayne’s Lollipop. Or the countless times Outkast’s Hey Ya! has been covered by various rock bands and folk singers.
With that being said, MGK covering a hip hop/R&B artist like Frank Ocean doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Although MGK is just exercising his creativity musically—remaking a song he’s probably wanted to since it dropped over a decade ago—many aren’t here for it.
“Just listened to MGK do a cover of Frank Ocean’s swim good. And I must say, it ruined my morning,” someone tweeted.
Some are so anti- MGK’s Swim Good that they refuse to listen to his remake.
“I’m never going to listen to the MGK version of Swim Good. I’d rather wait another decade for Frank to drop a 2 second snippet of an album that’s coming out in another 10 years,” someone tweeted.
No one should listen to anything they don’t want to, however I would encourage everyone to listen to MGK’s cover before making a snap judgment. It might sound better than you think…