Anthony Hamilton and the Blackest, Most Soulful, Most Beautiful Rendition of “Hotline Bling” Ever » VSB

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Anthony Hamilton and the Blackest, Most Soulful, Most Beautiful Rendition of “Hotline Bling” Ever

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Ever since Drake released “Hotline Bling,” we have been inundated with remake after remake. Some of them have been awesome, some of them have been interesting, one of them has even been anointed.

But a couple of weeks ago I came across a “Hotline Bling” remake that deserves its own distinction as the blackest version of “Hotline Bling” you will ever hear. This is not the blackest thing you will see all week. This might be the blackest thing you see all year. And instead of justifying its blackness, I thought I’d analyze it.

Let’s start with the man responsible for this hot, buttered, deep-fried remix of Drake’s smash hit. Anthony Hamilton is the Morgan Freeman of R&B singers. He’s weathered-looking like Freeman and his voice is just as recognizable as his thespian counterpart. Uncle Anthony looks and sounds like he doesn’t have a record deal, like he just got off work to sang a little something before he goes back to work. If he came out with a cookbook of catfish recipes, I wouldn’t be surprised and I’d buy two copies.

If you haven’t already watched the video, please do so now and don’t stream it then go along and do something else while you’re listening. Watch this shit. There are no special effects or stunts. It’s just Uncle Anthony and his fishing buddies he calls the Hamiltones chilling backstage before they’re about to whip a crowd of white linen wearers into a frenzy. Ever since I saw this video when it first came out, I’ve watched it everyday after my morning prayer, while cooking breakfast. I blame this video for the reason I’ve eaten grits for two weeks straight. There’s just so many things about it that make me happy.

Look at Uncle Anthony’s face when his boy starts singing. LOOK AT IT. That’s the face you make when you know your boy is about to shut it down.


Now, there’s a moment in the background you may have missed, but I noticed it and I can’t unsee it.

Look at this hat.


Is that a Yo MTV Raps snapback? In Charlotte Hornets colors? I could write a whole dissertation on 90s black identity through the intersection of Yo! MTV Raps and Charlotte Hornets colors. Also, that earring.

Now as the guys make their way to the main dressing room, for what will surely later be the most sanctified pre-concert prayer circle you’ll find outside of church doors, we see the rest of Uncle Anthony’s crew. I’d like to call attention to this fella right here, who is so nice with his backup singing vocals, he can fold clothes at the same time. What stood out to me at this moment was that look he’s giving the lead vocalist. Something about it let’s me know he knows that the lead backup singer always be fucking up the words to a song.


And sure enough, look at this here.


SEE!? Uncle Anthony knows it too.

Then we got this wardrobe selection from another brother that I want to talk about. A perfectly nice cotton sweater with LEATHER sleeves.


Bruh. I can’t see the pants but I’m sure they’re either leather or corduroy.

But the shining moment of this video, when it transitions from a backstage performance to something historic is at the end. “Hotline Bling” is the definition of a secular song, but when Uncle Anthony and his boys get their hands on it, they can’t help but give it to God.


Peep how Uncle Anthony says “Oh Lord,” at the end there while his boys clenches the Holy Spirit he’s catching into his chest? That’s how we know this is the blackest, most soulful, most beautiful rendition of “Hotline Bling” we will ever hear.

Jozen Cummings

Jozen Cummings is the author and creator of the popular relationship blog Until I Get Married, which is currently in development for a television series with Warner Bros. He hosts a weekly podcast with WNYC about Empire called the Empire Afterparty and he works at Twitter as an editorial associate. He lives in Harlem, graduated from Howard University, and grew up in Seaside, California. He cannot get you a blue check.

  • Mimi SassMouf Brooks

    Dear Lord, this made me weep. LMAO

  • Jaeda Laurez

    ANYTHING Anthony Hamilton sings immediately becomes the blackest thing ever. Blacker than Dax, Blacker than Tussy, Blacker than neckbones and collard greens with JUST the right amount of hot sauce and fried catfish on a summer day, blacker than a hot comb burn on your ear.

    • Pinks

      Blacker than having to sit in church between your grandmother and Sister Jenkins and trying not to pass out from the heat, smell of burnt hair, and the spirit taking over their bodies

      • My summer in Gadsden, Alabama with my Big Mama! Thank you!

    • Leigh

      “found a coffin and laid in it” at Tussy!!! Everybody’s grandmother had Tussy.

    • LyricMeThis

      Yasssss!! Did you see when he sang whip and nae nae?? I wanted him to for real release a single lol.

      • SororSalsa

        He laid me out with that! If he does Hit the Quan, order my casket.

      • miss t-lee

        The “P.O.P Hold It Dine” cover was the one that nearly killed me.

        • Tiana

          My daughter begged me to make that her ring tone in my phone. I had to oblige LMBO. I was slain.

          • miss t-lee

            That’s so great.

  • Amen

    Lol @ this video. I love my people.

  • Kat

    I’ma be the one hater and say Erykah’s version was better.

    I’m Pentecostal on the Sunday, Sistah Bertha May Brown is cooking and WhoJesus? on the other Sundays and as such I can not condone turning club music into good ol fashioned church shouting tambourine harmonizing Mighty Clouds of Joy with a much needed solo from Twinkie Clark singing. Just can’t.

    • Dougie

      you missed the memo earlier in the post, huh Kat?

    • TeeChantel

      Erykuh’s version is fire but this version was great tooo.

  • This reeks of smoked pork and stump-hole liquor. I approve.

    • miss t-lee

      Set-ups and cracklins.

    • Marc.J.H.

      You have to be from SC or NC if you call it “stump-hole” liquor

    • Stump-hole liquor?

      • Marc.J.H.

        This is late..very late…but stump hole is pretty much another name for Moonshine.

  • I wasn’t ready for Hotline Bling to sound like and old negro spiritual tho. I was NO place NEAR ready.

  • “a perfectly cotton sweater with LEATHER sleeves” ahahahahahahahahahahaha LMAO

  • First dude looks like Michael Jai White w/o a gym membership.

    • Dee Flyy

      nooooooooo!!!! but yessss!!!

  • Dee Flyy

    and as i’m sure any other singers on here can attest, there’s a bliss in having talented voices come together impromptu just to sing for fun. even if it’s something silly like Hotline Bling church remix. or P.O.P. hold it down. their skill legitimizes what would otherwise be foolishness.

    • Epsilonicus

      Near my fave karaoke spot is the Peabody Conservatory. Those folks come in and tear it up. Sometimes they just break out into impromptu performances at the bar and I love it.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        Switching gears, this is the Whitest thing I’ve seen but I respect the hustle. Love how they emphasize City of Compton.

        • SirKnows DevoidofPunk

          Whenever I hear stuff like this I never know if they’re making fun of us or enjoying it. Like Anthony Hamilton is not ridiculing Drake. He’s not talking down to Drake fans by doing the song different. but whenever I hear stuff like this the hairs on my neck stand up… it’s like Ben Folds 5 or a suspect SNL skit or like the audio version of Halloween blackface.

          I dunno, maybe it’s just me.

          They can play tho.

          • Sigma_Since 93

            My man plays this album at work and this is more a case of staying true to your lane but respecting a song enough to stretch the minds of your fanbase. Rage Against the Machine does a mean version of the Eric B. and Rakim Microphone Fiend and you can tell it’s nothing but love.

            If there the artist was clowing the original, we both would have heard about it much sooner.

            • SirKnows DevoidofPunk

              true… my reaction was just… i dunno. it hit me some kinda way. but again, i’m probably in the minority on this… As for Rage? Yeah, I got that album somewhere–they cover a buncha hiphop and Bruce Springsteen and other folks… Dope stuff.

      • Dee Flyy

        gonna file this away for the next time i’m in Smalltimore;)

        • Epsilonicus

          The place is called Flavor now. It reopened a month ago. Idk if they still come since the reopening.

          If you ever in the area, shout. I can organize a VSB Baltimore meet up.

          • You Ain’t no Guest You Family

            Where is this flavor you speak of? I lived in mt vernon for a minute and have never heard of such a thing! I’m in! (Just gonna invite myself lol)

            • CC

              Im gonna invite myself too! And we totally should have a VSB Bmore meetup.

    • I concur 100%… First and Second Alto right chere!

  • Sigma_Since 93

    Blacker than a smoky shotgun style juke joint with the pickled eggs on the bar

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