We all remember that scene from Bridgerton, the one where a string cover of Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” plays over a steamy, wouldn’t-want-to-watch-with-your-parents sequence. Now, the group that brought you Bridgerton’s classical soundtrack is back with a new cover of Nelly’s 2002 hit “Hot In Herre.”
It’s been about seven months since the Vitamin String Quartet enhanced Netflix’s hit series Bridgerton with their soundtrack of modern music covers. The series, starring Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor, melded a 19th Century storyline with modern day elements — something the pop-loving quartet helped to match with their repertoire of 2000s songs turned classical. Though Duomo contributed to the Taylor Swift cover, VSQ added performances of Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next,” Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy,” Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You” and Shawn Mendes’ “In My Blood.”
VSQ’s latest cover, released Friday (July 9), finds the group reconstructing Nelly’s classic melody and beat into a dynamic violin, viola and cello version. The song is available on the group’s Spotify and is accompanied by a YouTube video, in which the performers — Caleigh Drane, Lauren Elizabeth Baba, Leah Zeger and Tom Lea — play their instruments while covered in a psychedelic rainbow filter.
“Basically it’s more about what to take from the original track and what to leave out since one can’t possibly represent all of the elements within a string quartet,” Kathy McMillen, the group’s arranger, told The Wrap of the Nelly cover. “In this instance I treated the verse as a melodic element, even though it’s rap, and the hook as its contrasting theme. Played around with the rhythmic grooves ‘Herre’ and there till it was all there!”
“We love Nelly’s hook, we love The Neptunes production … we just love the track,” added James Curtiss, VSQ’s director of A&R. It’s still fire and we just went for it. We wound up with an incredible track to just drop right in the middle of a super-hot summer!”
Neither this latest cover nor the Bridgerton songs are VSQ’s only tries at performing string versions of modern music. Their discography spans more than a decade and includes dozens of cover projects, with their latest album, titled Our Flashback Wedding, featuring 12 nostalgic tracks such as Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” and a-ha’s “Take On Me.”
“Covering modern pop music allows us to be a little weirder than your average classical act,” Curtiss (VSQ) told Billboard in January. “When you’re making a string quartet version of a hip-hop tune, a lot of hip-hop isn’t built around string melodies. It’s built around mood, rhythm, and sometimes tonal elements. The challenge of making that is one of reasons why we like doing this stuff.”
Listen to Vitamin String Quartet perform “Hot In Herre” below: