Dublin's Malaki is no stranger to tradition. I don't make that statement in the pursuit of limiting the rising hip-hop star to a well-bordered, stale box, but rather, I make it in the knowledge that it is exactly his comfort with tradition that allows him to challenge it. While that usually entails him producing original content alongside longtime collaborator, Matthew Harris, today it sees him paying tribute to a fellow Irish legend by releasing a re-imagined cover of Van Morrison's heartfelt single, "Someone Like You."
Released via Hot Press Music Label—an imprint created specially for this release following Malaki's performance at the magazine's celebration of Van Morrison's 75th birthday—"Someone Like You 2" may have started out as a pleasant surprise, but it's turned into a true treasure. Sampling Van Morrison's vocals alongside Harris', "Someone Like You 2" starts off under the guise of an innocent cover—isolated piano chords striking where it hurts, chilling verses filling up the empty spaces. But then just as quickly, a drum beat drops, and Malaki's easy spoken word flow turns the classic from a Bridget Jones soundtrack addition to a realtime confession. "Myself and Matthew spent quite a while deciding the best route to take," he admits. "We chose the track because of its simplicity, and that it was full of themes I discuss regularly. I made the decision to write my own verses to allow for change."
While the original may have been comforting, even wistful in certain moments, this new rendition is downright bone-chilling. And while its origin is admittedly older than its new creator, Malaki offers it the same grace and patience Van Morrison did almost thirty years ago, standing to prove that romance isn't dead—it just prefers a more modern take.