Here Is an Extremely Good Cover of the Best Song of All Time, “Return of the Mack"

Pioneer 11 give a proper rendition.
February 16, 2017, 6:10pm

If you can prove that the DJ didn't play "Return of the Mack" at least once before last call, the judge will absolve you of all legal repercussions for instigating a liquor-fueled riot. If the DJ doesn't play "Return of the Mack" at your wedding reception, your civil union is null and void. If the DJ doesn't even have "Return of the Mack" in his/her Serato…

I lied to you, but gross hyperbole doesn't make the import of "Return of the Mack" any less real. Ask anyone at the Noisey office. They'll tell you Mark Morrison's platinum-hit has been the unofficial song of the summer since 1996. An equally empowering anthem for victims of infidelity or pretty much any human misfortune, it surpasses last-call-peers like Montell Jordan's "This is How We Do It" and Bell Biv DeVoe's "Poison" in replay value and poignancy. It is pained but joyous, emotional yet ecstatic. Who doesn't love a comeback?

Today, the list of "Return of the Mack" YouTube covers is inexhaustible and mostly acoustic/a cappella. The number of rappers who've referenced it or sampled it in some way is also far too long to list here. (The late Doe B's "Return of Da Mac Remix" is the indisputable champ.) For anyone keeping score, the number of psychedelic rock covers has been zero—until now. Pioneer 11 (formerly Red Ferguson), the L.A. based duo of Bryan Gomez and Alex Hastings, have filled the void we did not know we needed to fill. Following last year's Paul White produced Phosphorous Philosophers, which is the best amalgamation of Darkside and Dilla you're apt to hear, they've bestowed us with their "Return of the Mack" cover.

When asked about the cover, the group had this to say: "We didn't want to cover "Return of the Mack," we had to cover "Return of the Mack." Especially now, we need the Mack more than ever, and when it's time for The Mack to return, who are we to stop it?"

Backed by sparse, MPC-percussion, the Gomez and Hastings capture the rhapsody of the song's peaks while discovering new, lysergic permutations. Guitars warble with the warmth of the desert, the tambourine sounding like a sunbathing reptile. Throughout, Gomez's vocals strike that elusive Morrisonian balance between the somber and the triumphant. With the song's shimmering, ethereal coda it's clear that Pioneer 11 have made a cover every bit as it is as expansive and nuanced as its source material. They've done what so many covers fail to do: be original. Pioneer 11's full length debut, Gravitorium, will be out this fall on POW Recordings. Hire them for your bar or wedding while you still can.