Elliott Smith has come to be an inspiring force behind a lot of today’s musicians, and it turns out that includes Slowthai, whose brand of in-your-face hip-hop isn’t exactly the kind of thing Smith did. Still, Slowthai is a fan, so he decided to cover Smith’s “Needle In The Hay.”
The cover comes as part of Slowthai’s Apple Music Home Session, for which he also recorded a rendition of “ADHD.” It’s not often that Slowthai sings, but he does his best singer-songwriter here, with vocals accompanied by an acoustic guitar. He says of both recordings, “The lyrics to both tracks mean a lot to me. ‘ADHD’ because I feel it’s inward-facing and ‘Needle In The Hay’ because that song got me through a lot of down days.”
Slowthai has spoken about his love for this song before. In a 2018 interview, he discussed Smith after being asked about an old artist he recently discovered, saying, “Did you know he died by stabbing himself in the heart? I knew ‘Needle In The Hay’ from The Royal Tenenbaums, but I’d never really gone into his discography. I was listening to that again recently and thought, ‘I love this tune,’ so I downloaded a couple albums and fully went for it.
Check out Slowthai’s cover of “Needle In The Hay” above.