Aloe Blacc – Billie Jean Cover

by | May 14, 2012 | Sound | 2 comments

Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III, known as Aloe Blacc, exists on the fringes of the mainstream music industry. If it wasn’t for the friend of a friend passing on a copy of his 2010 album Good Things, he would probably wouldn’t have registered on my radar. The song he is most known for is I Need A Dollar, which is also the opening title track for the US television series, How To Make It In America. Catchy and relevant, I Need A Dollar is one of those songs that just lingers with a hook that takes some doing to get out of your head once it lodges itself in there.

It seems he started out as a rapper but I reckon that, with his distinct voice and perspective, we are all fortunate that he made the shift to R&B / soul. He is one of those artists I hope is able to break through the noise and establish a career that is fruitful, long and fulfilling. Randomly browsing recently, I came across this video of Blacc covering Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean with a string quintet. It is such a beautiful version of the song, I had to share beyond the normal tweeting and stuff.

The potential for disaster is high when covering a song that has been a significant part of the soundtrack to millions of lives, especially the song of an artist like Michael Jackson. I truly believe Aloe Blacc does it justice and hope he gets greater recognition in future. He deserves it.



  1. Molete Mathaba

    Finally! I’ve been wondering for a hot minute know who sings “I need a dollar.” I will make a note to check out this brotha’s music

  2. Ayob Vania

    Ntate Baffoe, I don’t think I have ever thanked you for this post even though we’ve talked about it a couple of times.

    Aloe Blac’s cover of Billie Jean has been on high rotation in the soundtrack of my life since reading this article in 2012. I was so taken by it that I have tried to listen to as much of his work that I can find as possible, including his work in Alt French band Rouseux and hi collaboration with producer Exile under the group name Emanon.

    In 2017 when I first started working in radio I went so far as to base a whole feature for the show I was producing on what Aloe’s did with Billie Jean.

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