Elina Felice ft. Cat – First World Problems
Canadian hip-hop songstress cleverly reworks Chance The Rapper rarity.
Elina Felice is a Canadian born singer-songwriter and rapper, currently operating in Dublin. Over the course of her career, she has turned heads with a distinctive style which sees Elina experiment with blues, soul, hip-hop and spoken word to create a distinct musical identity. Since 2018, Felice has released a string of impressive singles and EP’s and has also attracted attention for ‘Red Vine Records’, her very own musical consultancy group.
Eline looks to build on an already strong resume in 2021 with her new single ‘First World Problems’.
‘First World Problems’ is a cover of a deep-cut track from famed Chicago MC Chance The Rapper. This, however, is far from a simple reproduction of the song. What Elina has done here is cleverly taking the essence of a song that clearly means a lot to her and re-imagining it to fit her own narrative, keeping the original’s central guitar motif but rewriting the words to create something unique.
For the purposes of this review, I listened to Chance The Rappers original version followed by Elina’s version and I must say that they complement each other beautifully. Both are a peek inside the performer’s heart and are full of honesty, conviction and soul. Elina’s soliloquy feels like a fresh skin for the song, a 2021 update, if you will, dealing with both her personal journey as well as the sweeping changes that have been taking place around her. The chorus remains the same in both songs and is as effective in summing up Filice’s monologue as it was for Chance.
It is very apparent that this is more a companion piece, and launching point, than a cover.
Elina’s rapping style sits beautifully atop the aforementioned central guitar lick. She has a warm tone to her voice and her words ring true in earnest because of it. Listening to her lyrics feels like getting a peek behind the curtain and her undiluted train of thought is both intriguing and endearing.
The inflections in her voice are conversational rather than performative, even when tackling social issues and this further heightens the intimacy of this piece. These are Elina’s hopes, dreams and fears, delivered in their undressed state.
Praise must also be given Dublin singer/songwriter Cat who provides a hypnotic backing vocal which hangs delicately alongside the main vocal, increasing in intensity as we move through the song and as Elina’s passions are gradually fired.
To summarise, Elina Filice’s interpretation of ‘First World Problems’ does what any great cover should hope to do. It not only pays homage to the song in which it is based, but gives the original an entirely new coat of paint and is beautifully compelling as its own piece of art. The only dilemma we must now face is deciding which version we like better. First world problems eh?