Random Hip-Hop Collaborations That Worked, And A Few That Made NO Sense
We’ve all witnessed some very odd collaborations in our time when it comes to music. Some have been classic winners (see Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith for “Walk This Way”) and others have had us giving the side-eye to some of our favorite artists as if to let them know, “Uh, don’t do that mess again.” Here are just a few of the songs that stood out as winners and losers when it comes to interesting collaborations over the years. Feel free to add some of your favorites (or least favorites) below.
“Over and Over” – Nelly feat. Tim McGraw (Bad)
On paper, it sounded like the worst idea ever. And on wax, well, it was kind of the same…?
Depending on who you ask, it could be a decent song, but if you ask me, it’s kind of terrible. Nelly trying to get his soprano on and Tim McGraw trying to sing seriously on this depressing song is kind of eye-roll worthy. But Nelly knew he had a hit on his hand, and the song was just that, going number one in four countries and also going platinum.
Collision Course Album – Jay Z and Linkin Park (Good)
I honestly didn’t know much about Linkin Park before they teamed up with Jay Z, and to flip his classics in with songs from their catalog sounded like a bad idea. But their mash-up album, Collision Course, was actually pretty dope. Great beats with the added bonus of some sick guitar definitely banged well in my car (I don’t know about you). Plus, it was a commercial success, selling more than five million copies worldwide.
“B***h Don’t Kill My Vibe” – Kendrick Lamar feat. Lady Gaga (Bad)
Both artists found an appreciation for one another and despite their vastly different genres, they tried to team up to create a song called “Partynauseous,” which would later be changed to and known as “B***h Don’t Kill My Vibe.” Despite Gaga’s excitement about the track initially, which showed in her Tweets and more, the song didn’t go on his album as planned and they couldn’t get the track where they wanted it to be collectively because of “timing issues and creative differences.” But let’s be honest, Gaga on the chorus for this particular song by this particular rapper just doesn’t fit right. And it definitely didn’t sound right. Sometimes the talented singer can come off just a bit too awkward with these hip-hop and R&B collabos she does (see her rendition of “Video Phone” with Bey).
“Chop Me Up” – Justin Timberlake feat. Three Six Mafia (Good)
After they won an Academy Award in 2006 for “Best Original Song” with “It’s Hard Out Here For a Pimp,” I knew that Three Six Mafia would go on to work with new people and do some interesting things after the fact. That’s exactly what they did when they teamed up with another Memphis, Tennessee musician in Justin Timberlake. They worked with the singer on his FutureSex/LoveSounds album on a chopped and screwed track called “Chop Me Up.” They’re definitely an odd pairing, but the song goes so hard! Justin successfully tries to rap, and Juicy J and DJ Paul come through at the end to deliver a hard-hitting, booty bouncing verses to take it home. It’s a winner.
“Accidental Racist” – Brad Paisley feat. LL Cool J (Bad)
The title alone is telling of how stupid we all should have known this song was going to be, but I guess we just hoped LL Cool J knew better.
He didn’t. He teamed up with Paisley on this track about trying to understand and move forward from racism, but instead, it was a stale way to put a Band-Aid over major issues. Case in point, Mr. Cool James was caught saying in the lyrics that if Paisley could pass on judging him for his gold chains, he could “forget the iron chains” of slavery. Really LL? That’s all it takes?
“California Gurls” – Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg (Good)
I’m not even from California and I have to admit that this song is adorable, and so is the video (the Candy Land theme with the angry gummy bears is too cute)! And who knew that Snoop Dogg, a man who used to talk about “Ain’t No Fun (If the Homies Can’t Have None)” and “murder was the case that they gave me,” would be dancing around on cotton candy clouds with Katy Perry? The song was a massive hit, and YOU know you liked it too.
“It Doesn’t Matter” – Wyclef Jean feat. The Rock (Bad)
Great beat, but any song based around a wrestler’s most popular phrase isn’t destined to be a classic. Matched with women, children and The Rock yelling “It Doesn’t Matter!” without much enthusiasm throughout the chorus, it was hard to take seriously. I didn’t know if I wanted to dance to it or turn it off.
“Dirty” – Christina Aguilera feat. Redman (Good)
After explaining to folks “What A Girl Wants” for all those years, Christina Aguilera came back on the scene with her sophomore album Stripped, and to prove that she had definitely changed (aka, been turned out by somebody), she left her clothes at home and picked up Redman along the way for her lead song, “Dirty.” They are definitely an unlikely pair, but the song was kind of hot. Christina can carry most tracks with those vocals, and something about Redman’s verses added to the song. Who would have thought that could happen?
“Whatzupwitu” – Eddie Murphy feat. Michael Jackson (Bad)
I had to do it. Anything with Michael Jackson should be a winner, right? Not in the case of this very corn-ball-icious song, “What’s Up With You?” Having success in film, we’ve known that from the very beginning, Eddie Murphy likes to dabble in music too. But even Michael’s flawless voice (which was made to sound nasally for the chorus for some reason) and dance moves couldn’t save this thing. Yet and still, Eddie is still out here trying to make music…and with Snoop Dogg nonetheless.
“The Omen” – DMX feat. Marilyn Manson (Good)
What can one say about a song like this? DMX and Marilyn Manson are definitely odd people, and when the two teamed up for “The Omen,” it was everything you expected it to be. Creepy. But it was also head-nod worthy, and a standout jam on the Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood album. You listen to it and you don’t hate it, and you might not love it, but it’s typical old-school DMX, dealing with his demons. And it works.