Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

There will never be a better cover of Vanessa Carlton's "A Thousand Miles"

Photo: J. Shearer (Getty Images)

Vanessa Carlton’s heart-on-sleeve 2002 hit “A Thousand Miles” long ago floated up into the ether of popular culture, where it became free reign for memes, remixes, parodies, and references. And yet that does not exactly explain how it became such ripe fodder for hip-hop in particular. It’s hard to pinpoint an exact origin. T.I. turned its percussive strings into a very-2009-T.I. track. A few years later, Soulja Boy professed his love for it in an extremely-Soulja-Boy Vine:

It’s found its way into tracks by Charles Hamilton, Xavier Wulf, and a convincing mashup with Waka Flocka Flame, among others. Last year, Cam’ron used it as the groundwork for a surprisingly tender short film, on which he elected to not just rap but sing large portions of the track. Carlton herself even responded positively to Fader, saying, “It totally works!” She’s right: it sorta does!

And yet all of those unlikely reconfigurations of the high-school dance staple must be considered mere preamble to Chicago comedian Skinbone’s take on the track, an evisceration of hip-hop cliches rendered mostly through poorly recorded audio and increasingly exuberant gun sound effects. Please, behold:

And with that, it’s time to retire Vanessa Carlton samples. They had a good run!


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Clayton Purdom

Clayton Purdom is a writer and editor based in Columbus, Ohio.