In an era when musical genres seem increasingly superfluous, artists are covering a wider and more unexpected range of songs than ever. Just recently we’ve heard L.A. electro-popper Nite Jewel take on modern R&B hero Frank Ocean’s single “Thinkin’ About You,” as well as an especially impressive take on Ocean’s tune “Lovecrimes” by veteran Ohio indie band Afghan Whigs.

Still, it’s hard not to do a double-take when you hear this latest foray into unexpected cover territory as none less than Karate Kid remake star and son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, Jaden Smith, performs his re-imagining of Foster The People’s 2010 breakout single, “Pumped Up Kicks.”

Smith laces his version of the song with rapped verses, shooting the video at L.A.’s famous Skatelab Park alongside extreme athletes like Dakota Roche and Alex Midler landing tricks.

Other than the rapping, it’s a fairly faithful rendition of the song, riding the tune’s original loop for just over 3 minutes. Is Jaden Smith’s take on “Pumped Up Kicks” a cool remake for kids, or just another example of an emerging pop star taking the easy route to a hit single? Only time and the Billboard charts will tell.

–Scott T. Sterling, CBS Local


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