15 Rap And EDM Collaborations That You Gotta Hear
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
"Side B (Dope Song)" Danny Brown (Prod. Rustie)
The second half of Danny Brown's stunning Old is a funhouse mirror of its first half: the personal stories and precise details of Brown's life get flipped into a laser-charged, kinetic festival freak-out. To make the effect work, Brown recruited Rustie, label boss A-Trak and others to provide some of the most warped and psychedelic EDM-inspired beats you'll ever hear. It's a perfect example of the type of cross-genre pollination that we need more of.
"Wild For The Night" A$AP Rocky Featuring Skrillex
A$AP Rocky teams up with electronic producer Skrillex for a high octane single off Long. Live. A$AP. Backed by Skrillex’s dubstep and reggae-influenced beat (with sirens, too) it's a definite fire starter in the clubs.
"Vava Vroom" BassNectar Featuring Lupe Fiasco
BassNectar’s electronic synths drive the video game vibe on his Lupe Fiasco collaboration, but this aint no arcade soundtrack. No cheat codes are required for this cut to raise the blood pressure of the party.
"Snap Ya Head Back" DJ Muggs ft. Dizzee Rascal & Bambu
A neck brace should be required when listening to DJ Muggs’ joint effort with Dizzee Rascal and Bambu. This whiplash inducing track’s brain scrambling organization of distinct sounds makes for a strange but satisfying combination.
"Let's Get Down" Wale Featuring Skrillex
Skillrex provides Ralph with that bounce using a quirky combination of sounds. The D.C. rapper gets down on the track, but this one is sure to get the volume turned up in certain clubs.
"Rock Steady" Diplo Featuring Action Bronson, Riff Raff, Mr. MFN Exquire And Nicky Da B
Electronic dancehall track maker Diplo riles up a mean beat for this track off his new EP, Revolution. The boom-bap infused loop is a sure fire head-nodder for the quartet of rappers to shine on.
"Wobble" Travis Porter (Produced by Diplo)
We want bass. Diplo provides the 808s needed to get backsides in motion for Travis Porter’s booty bouncing anthem.
"Shots Go Off" Cypress Hill And Rusko
They shooting—made you look. Dupstep producer Rusko was gunning for a head banger when he linked up with Cypress Hill and made this track for their 2012 EP Cypress X Rusko. Mission accomplished.
"I Am A God" Kanye West (Produced by Daft Punk and Hudson Mohawke)
With Cruel Summer Kanye West displayed an interest in the abrasive textures and rhythmic patterns of influential producer Hudson Mohawke, one half of the duo TNGHT, but it wasn't till Yeezus that the partnership truly blossomed, taking on a mutated form in the apocalyptic "I Am A God." Working with Daft Punk, who provided the blueprint for West's runaway hit "Stronger," Mohawke provides the perfect cavernous beat for Kanye to get lost in.
"The Vision" Joker Featuring Freddie Gibbs And Jessie Ware
The gritty, no-nonsense music of Indiana's Freddie Gibbs couldn't be further away from the shiny, futuristic glean of dance music, but Gibbs has displayed an adventurous ear in the past and this collaboration with the UK king of bass music is a testament to his talent.
"Sweat" David Guetta Featuring Snoop Dogg
If someone like Joker or James Blake is on one side of the dance music spectrum, David Guetta is on the other side. The French house producer has provided beats for chart-dominating hits like the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" and his music tends to be big: This Snoop Dogg collaboration is no exception.
"Life Round Here" James Blake Featuring Chance The Rapper
Okay, so James Blake isn't really much of an EDM artist. With each album he becomes more and more of a singer-songwriter, but this track, a collaboration with ascendant Chicago artist Chance The Rapper, shows how his minimal, icy compositions can serve as the perfect backdrop for sensitive, introspective rhymes. And if you like this one, you're in luck: The two have recorded even more songs together.
"How Lo Can You Go" Rusko and Charli 2Na
The deep, disquieting voice of Jurassic 5's Chali 2na is a surprisingly counterpoint to dubstep kingpin Rusko's quaking slinky of a beat. While some of the songs on this list attempt to pound you into submission with the hulking physicality of the music, this track doesn't work too hard, enticing you with some creaking sounds and clever rhymes.
"Activist" Waka Flocka Flame Featuring Ben G
Just watch the candy-colored video for this track and try to tell us Waka doesn't have EDM on the brain lately.
"One (Your Name)" - Swedish House Mafia Featuring Pharrell
Okay, so this track isn't exactly a rap and EDM collaboration, but it does find one of hip-hop's premiere tastemakers lending his velvety vocals to a typically kinetic soundscape from one of EDM's top groups. It makes sense that Pharrell, someone so well versed in the pop and dance music of the past, would want to dip his toes in the neon waters of modern day EDM—as it turns out, the water is just fine.