Mike Tompkins Acapella

Mike Tompkins covers Rihanna, rides the TTC

Mike Tompkins became something of a YouTube sensation in 2010 with a cappella covers of Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA," Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream," and Maroon 5's "Misery." Unless you're an 11-year-old girl, those song selections probably don't sound so auspicious (especially the last one). But, until you've heard them -- and more and more people have -- it's hard to fully understand the unique spin that Tompkins puts on the songs that he covers. For whatever reason, the uber-pop song serves as the perfect medium for his interventions.

So just what does a Tompkins cover involve? Well, they're basically a cappella or instrument-free versions of the song in question, wherein the artist provides all the sounds with his voice (and, not to forget, some significant help from computer software).

Despite Tompkins baby face and the indulgently poppy tone of his stuff, the songs he makes are pretty much addictive. Case in point: his latest offering, a beatbox version of Rihanna's Only a Girl, has been stuck in my head since I decided to write this post. It's a pretty good one, though. Toronto-based hip-hop artist Shad -- who Tompkins does production work for -- pitches in a verse and the TTC and Toronto get some serious love in the video.

Check it out below:

And here Tompkins demonstrates how he does it:


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