First, let’s clear one thing up: For those of you that don’t know, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. is not a person and there is no relation to the legendary NASCAR family. Rather, they’re an indie pop band out of Detroit. Why the name? In an interview with NASCAR.com, band member Daniel Zott explained that is was “to identify our crazy new project that had no limitations. People have no idea how we are going to sound, and so it gives them a reason to actually take some time to listen to the music.” This turned out to be a good philosophy.
Since the band formed in 2009, with no real intention of recognition, they have been signed by Warner Brothers and have even found a fan in the real Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Recently, Jr. Jr. decided to cover “I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today” after digging and eventually sampling Nina Simone’s version of the 1968 original by Randy Newman. Their take on the classic song greets you with reggae beats, faint yet sarcastic lyrics, and synth splashes reminiscent of old Nokia ringtones. You wouldn’t know from listening to their interpretation that the song’s content is from the eyes of a homeless man who has nowhere left to turn.
This is just one track on their soon to be released mixtape, “Produce,” which is comprised of track collaborations with the likes of Chuck Inglish, Asher Roth, Murs, Quelle Chris, and Slim of the R&B group 112. The unlikely pairing of hip hop and indie pop is intriguing and, if consistent with this cover, should be a worthwhile venture.