Billy Ray Cyrus is in a fighting mood on his twangy cover of LL Cool J‘s “Mama Said Knock You Out” from his latest Singin’ Hills Sessions EP, Mojave. The country star puts his down home spin on LL’s Grammy-winning 1990 hip-hop haymaker for the EP, which dropped on Friday morning (Nov. 6).
With acoustic guitars, banjos, a foot-stopping rhythm and Cyrus’ sung-spoken drawl, the veteran country singer transforms LL’s brawler’s snarl into a flinty-eyed Western croon. The EP also features versions of Billy Ray’s “Ghost Dance,” “99 Single Wide,” “Holdin’ On” and “Good at Goodbyes.”
“I’ve always loved that song — as well as fellow Kentucky native, Muhammad Ali — and just the concept of persistence and believing in yourself,” Cyrus said in a statement announcing the LL cover. “Countrifying it was a joy and I feel like this song is the next segment of my circle following ‘Old Town Road.’” The first Singin’ Hills session, Sunset, dropped in January, with covers of Neil Diamond’s “I Am… I Said,” Rowland Salley’s “Killing the Blues” and Joe Henry’s “She Always Goes.”
Watch Billy Ray’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” visualizer below.