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A Brief History of Ed Sheeran Covering Hip-Hop on Acoustic Guitar

Ed Sheeran: the God MC?

Image by Chippy Nonstop

Confession: I love Ed Sheeran. I think it’s totally dope that a rapping white dude from England who plays acoustic guitar and looks like a combination of Ron from Harry Potter and a Hobbit could somehow end up being one of the biggest pop stars in the world. He’s like the first iteration of Plan B crossed with Jamie T, plus Taylor Swift. He is the world’s acoustic guitar guy at the party.


One of Ed Sheeran’s favorite tricks is covering hip-hop and rap songs, which the world realized yesterday when he covered O.T. Genasis’s “CoCo,” with the smoothness and semi-corniness that only a white dude with an acoustic guitar can muster. So today, Ed Sheeran, we at Noisey celebrate you with a history of your acoustic covers of hip-hop songs.

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“CoCo” by O.T. Genasis

Why did Ed Sheeran do this? Why is the sky blue? Why do throw pillows from Ikea suck? Some things just happen, and it’s hard to explain why.

“Pony” by Ginuwine

“Pony” is one of those boilerplate hip-hop songs that acoustic guitar people like to cover, but Ed Sheeran acquits himself admirably (read: non-embarrassingly) here, even as he over-enunciates Ginuwine’s Equestria Daily-core lyrics.

“Dirrty” by Christina Aguilera feat. Redman

Man, remember Xtina? That shit was tight. One thing dudes tend to do when covering songs by women is changing the pronouns in the track so they’re singing about having sex with women instead of men, which is sort of lame. NOT ED SHEERAN THO, shouts out to him for singing about getting dirrty with his girls with his bouncy lil acoustic guitar. He also gets bonus points for dropping Redman’s verse too, which holds a special place in my heart because it hearkens back to a time when Redman was a genuine pop star while still living in a beat-up house in Dirty Jersey.

“My Hitta” by YG

Big Eddie Style flips “My Hitta” into a song about how he needs sunscreen, which is definitely… something.


“Paranoid” by Ty Dolla $ign

One day, the world will point to Ed Sheeran’s pronunciation of “Boogerwolf” as evidence that world peace was inevitable.

“Empire State of Mind” by Jay Z feat. Alicia Keys

The increasing effects of globalization have led to the line “BK is from Texas” being sung in a British accent. The world is flat, indeed.

“No Diggity” by Blackstreet vs. “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore

OH SHIT GODDAMN ED SHEERAN THE GOD MC OOH KILLIN’ EM WITH THE ACOUSTIC MASHUP. Here, Sheeran covers Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” (whose slippery cadence he dipped into for his Rick Rubin-produced smash “Don’t”), which he improbably pits against Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop.” It’s peak Acoustic Guitar Guy at the Party.

“Drunk in Love” by Beyoncé

Ed Sheeran covering Beyoncé? OF COURSE Ed Sheeran covering Beyoncé.

“We Found Love” by Rihanna

The inherent issue with Sheeran covering a lot of these songs—specifically “We Found Love”—is that a lot of hip-hop songs aren’t just great for their lyrics, but also the intricate instrumentals that accompany them. Without Calvin Harris’s rain-on-a-summer-day-ass synths, this is kinda lame.

Bonus: “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line

I gotta be honest, this was a HUGE disappointment. Even though it’s tagged as a Florida Georgia Line cover on YouTube, you don’t get to the good stuff until about 5:30 in, and then he does about 30 perfect seconds of “Cruise” before giving up and singing the word “boobs” in a southern accent. This is Ed Sheeran Cover Clickbait, which is a term that I just made up.

Drew Millard is the Features Editor of Noisey. Follow him on Twitter.