Tracy Chapman's “Fast Car” is six years older than Justin Bieber — if the song were a kid, it would have graduated kindergarten by the time he was born — but that didn't stop the singer from attempting a cover of the '90s classic, along with a surprising rendition of 2pac's “Thugz Mansion,” for BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge.
Bieber donned some torn flannel, picked up an acoustic guitar, and did his best to invoke the smoky, uplifting intimacy of Chapman's original. He said it was a “part of his childhood,” a song that his mom would play all the time when he was a kid, and after a brief flub at the beginning, he eventually found his key and croons his way through the track. (You gotta feel for him when you see him wince as he finds his footing.)
The low-key mood was well-suited to his cover of “Thugz Mansion.” After the performance, Bieber shared a bit about his relationship to hip-hop — namely, to Kanye West. “I forget how I met him,” he said. “We just clicked and vibed. It was cool.”
Maybe Bieber was phlegmy and flummoxed from drinking too much milk before his performance? Even then, Bieber on a bad day still sounds better than the majority of Average Joes belting out “Fast Car” in their respective automobiles on their best day, so he gets a pass on this one.