Known for recording and performing intriguing covers, Meshell covers Whodini’s classic “Friends” (originally released in 1984) on her new album. The track premiered on Vibe today.
“I think people sometimes think that hip-hop isn’t sophisticated musically,” she notes. “But I grew up listening to hip-hop, and I wanted to show how intricate the music is, if you really listen deeply. On this track, for example, if you take away the vocals, it’s got really intricate things going on. There’s keyboard element, which on my version is the guitar. And then they added a half beat to each bar, which is why it has a kind of shift in it. There’s something in music called ‘chopped and screwed’ where you ‘screw’ the track, which I wanted to emulate. If you hear the original version on the record, you’ll understand.”
The track is also particularly interesting in the age of Facebook. “I’m very interested in words, and what they mean,” she explains. “Friends’ is such a malleable word, I’m not even sure we know what it means anymore.”