The blurring of lines between the worlds of rap and dance music is nothing new. Many of hip-hop’s first songs drew their inspiration from the rhythmic thump of dance music, flipping samples from songs that had the specific goal of getting a crowd moving. So it’s no surprise that the latest modern mutation of dance music—often umbrellaed under the ambiguous and argument-starting term “EDM”—has crossed over and even been absorbed into hip-hop. This type of cross-genre pollination is essential to hip-hop.
But has the EDM and rap connection gone too far? At times it feels like a week doesn’t pass without a big name in the rap world throwing his or her hat into the EDM ring. In recent months Waka Flocka has announced plans to record an EDM album, while rappers like Danny Brown, Riff Raff and Nicki Minaj have moved fluidly in and out of the dance world with ease. Just this week, dance music tastemaker Diplo released an EP filled with guest appearances from rappers like Action Bronson, Travis Porter and more.
Perhaps it has to do with EDM’s recent economic success—though many speculate that bubble is about to burst—but it probably has more to do with the fact that the best electronic dance music shares many of the same qualities as the best hip-hop: an emphasis on rhythm, a commitment to intensity and a powerful physicality. It’s really no surprise that artists like Skrillex and Rustie have wanted to work with rappers. To celebrate hip-hop’s unrelenting ability to take on new influences with ease, we’ve put together a list of 15 rap and EDM collaborations that you gotta hear. Grab your neon headband and dive in. –Written by Dan Jackson And C. Vernon Coleman