Throw in some of the latest hip-hop and R&B, along with a little gospel and some 70s classical funk, and you’ll get some of the best cover songs of 2016 performed by HBCU marching bands.

We took to social media and some HBCU message board communities seeking input on performances to consider. That effort, combined with recommended performances from the staff, resulted in an initial list of over 60 songs.

As daunting as it was to narrow last year’s list to 10 songs, we figured it would be easier to expand this year’s list to 20. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The process this year was even more difficult than last due to so many great performances.

With lists, such as this one, being as subjective as they may be, the ultimate goal was to recognize the very best performances. We think we’ve done that, even if it meant some bands being listed more than once and some not being listed at all.

Below are the top 20 cover songs of 2016 performed by HBCU bands.

20. Grambling, “Don’t Mind” (Kent Jones)

19. Florida A&M, “No Problem” (Chance the Rapper)

18. Prairie View A&M, “Timmy Turner” (Desiigner)

17. Norfolk State, “Can We Talk” (Tevin Campbell)

16. Miles College, “Broccoli” (D.R.A.M)

15. Texas Southern, “Somebody Loves You” (Patti LaBelle)

14. Alcorn State, “Two Wrongs” (Wyclef Jean)

13. Norfolk State, “Father Stretch My Hands” (Kanye West)

12. Talladega College, “Is It a Crime” (Sade)

11. Southern, “Soon As I Get Home” (Faith Evans)

10. North Carolina A&T, “Liberian Girl” (Michael Jackson)

9. Bethune Cookman, “In My Bed” (Dru Hill)

8. Southern, “These Three Words” (Stevie Wonder)

7. Tennessee State, “All My Life” (K-Ci & JoJo)

6. Miles College, “Close To You” (Dreezy)

5. Southern, “Something in My Heart” (Michel’le)

4. Alabama A&M, “This is for the Lover in You” (Shalamar)

3. Jackson State, “Whip Appeal” (Babyface)

2. Miles College, “Melodies from Heaven” (Kirk Franklin & The Family)

1. Jackson State, “Toccata and Funk in D Minor” (Walter Murphy)


  1. All of the HBCU Universities are respected for the contribution they make toward defining their programs toa high standard. Then there is FAMU who continue redefine the Standard. When you compare yourself to FAMU, you have to believe that your standards are high… we respect you for that.
    We also welcome your
    challenge to our institution of great Marching Bands.

  2. Toccata & Funk, definitely deserved that Number One spot! They were completely spot on with the original from the beginning to the end. They definitely didn’t play it enough. One of my favorite arrangements from JSU this past season.

  3. On another note, I disagree with “Whip Appeal” being the Top 3. I feel like “These Three Words” should’ve been Top 3 easy.

  4. Boy Miles is blowing up the spot. 3 times on the top 20???? Y’all need to watch out for them. They are a problem. Congrats Miles


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