27 Hip-Hop Collaborations We Think Should Happen
Last Sunday's Grammy Awards were a blueprint for how to mash together a whole bunch of artists and genres, and still manage to mostly pull it off. Whether they be classic collabs (Jay Z and Beyoncé opening the show with "Drunk In Love"), new joints (Katy Perry and Juicy J performing Katy's new song "Dark Horse"), random combinations that worked (Kendrick Lamar tearing it down with Imagine Dragons on "m.A.A.d city"/"Radioactive") or mass weddings disguised as performances (Macklemore and Ryan Lewis linking with Madonna and Queen Latifah), the Grammys somehow were able to pull together a couple teams that seemed to only exist in dreams.
Well that got us thinking over at XXL headquarters about some of the collaborations—real, imagined, unlikely and unnecessary—we'd really like to see. Without further ado, here are TK mashups we'd bump in the office if the artists got together. —XXL Staff
Kendrick Lamar and Taylor Swift
One could easily tell that Taylor Swift is a fan of Kendrick's by the way she was visibly digging his performance with Imagine Dragons at the Grammy Awards, so it certainly wouldn't hurt to see these to jam out on a record. As Taylor is also no stranger to rap collaborations and is indeed overdue on her rap fix, maybe K Dot and Ms. Swift should think about hitting the studio sometime soon.
Bastille and Drake
Given that Drake has been singing more on his tracks, the back-to-back Saturday Night Live guests gave us an idea... a dangerously evil idea. The two artists should collaborate with one very specific stipulation; the neo-synth pop group—best known for their single "Pompeii"—must rap the verse, and Drake has to sing the chorus. Grossly compelling stuff. Plus, think about the sweaters that would be involved—now that's high quality.
Willie Nelson and Curren$y
Willie's already been hanging with Snoop—Hell, they even got arrested at the same truck stop on the Texas border for weed!—but if he really wants to take off in the hip-hop world, he's gotta get together with the Jet Life captain. The two have already performed together in New Orleans back in 2012, so the relationship is already there—all they gotta do is make it happen. Then again, motivation can be a factor when you smoke as much as the two of them...but we have faith.
Beyonce and MC Lyte
The two dynamic women have been crusading for great music and women's rights for decades, and they both recently came out advocating for gender equality in the media. Plus, with Beyoncé's newfound rapping skills showcased on her latest album, she could dovetail perfectly with someone as established and respected as Lyte. It would just work, and work beautifully.
D'Angelo and Missy Elliott
Sex-funk, and a long-awaited return, is what both would promise if this collab were to ever get a green light. We've been waiting on Missy for over a half-decade, and but for a brief return last summer, it's been even long for D'Angelo. But with his presumptive comeback still on track, and with Missy getting back in the groove—over a Timbaland beat, no less?—this combination would get anybody's back up off the wall.
Redman and Pharrell
And speaking of funk, let's get the doctor involved for maximum body-movin' healing. Snoop took his brand of g-funk to the future with multiple Pharrell collabs, and it wouldn't be a bad thing for Red to walk down the same path. Maybe something off the upcoming and long-awaited Blackout 3 with Method Man?
Macklemore and Kendrick Lamar
You know Kendrick likes responding to things on wax, and you know he's not afraid to go after somebody on their own track (paging Big Sean...). You also know that Macklemore would never turn down the opportunity to collaborate with and give the spotlight over to Kendrick, especially after Mack's strange apology for winning Best Rap Album at the Grammy's this Sunday. Honestly, this has strong potential to turn into one of the dopest collabs on this whole list, and might push K. Dot even further into the mainstream where his inevitable destiny lies.
Joey Bada$$ and Q-Tip
Joey is intent on bringing back that 1990s New York flair, and there are few as representative of that feel and flow like Q-Tip with his chilled-out jazz vibe. Joey's already hopped on tracks by Premier and old Dilla beats, and a collab with Tip—maybe even on Joey's upcoming debut album—wouldn't be out of place. Maybe he'll be able to kick a killer hook along the way.
50 Cent, Diddy, Cam'ron, Nas And Jay Z Over A DJ Premier Beat
This one would even come with its own title and thesis statement—"Kings Of New York." Who wouldn't want to hear the five biggest names in New York City hip-hop over the past two decades spitting over the Houston-born, NYC-groomed Preemo, one of the leading creators of that classic New York feel? Set it up like a contest, and make everyone bring their A-game—think of it like one big cypher for the throne. Diddy would go HAM, Nas would keep it street, 50 would stay gangsta, Jay would go for royalty, and Cam would stay the realest. It's a can't-lose situation, and one New York would go crazy over.
A$AP Rocky and Pimp C
Rocky has shown his appreciation for Texas and screw music throughout his numerous releases, including his debut album Long.Live.A$AP. This is almost expected if the UGK legend were alive—and we know there are some unheard verses still floating around. Old school meets new school.
Future and Rich Homie Quan
Because it makes sense. Because you want to hear them side by side. Because you want to know, when it comes down to it, who would sing the hook. Because you want to figure out if they're actually friends or if they're both so concerned about the other that they would have to fight to the death like Siamese Fighting Fish if they were ever in the same room. Because you want to know if there is actually such a thing as too much auto-tune. Because you would be able to make up your own words to the song and still act like you knew what they were saying. Because it would probably rule.
Kendrick Lamar With A Nate Dogg Hook
If you're gonna be heir to the West Coast throne, you've got to have a little Nate Dogg on at least one of your projects. The hook-master died too soon in 2011, but if anyone could flip an old hook into something distinctly new and fly, it's Kendrick's mentor Dr. Dre. Kendrick may not smoke, but Nate could take care of that for him.
Prince and Pharrell
The two future-space-funk pillars of subsequent generations, if we ever got Prince and Pharrell in the booth together it's unclear if the fabric of this universe would be able to cope with some of the intergalactic moves and grooves that would erupt from the speakers. But seriously, has anyone ever seen Prince and Pharrell in the same place before? Are we sure Skateboard P isn't just the Purple One reincarnated for the hip-hop generation? The only evidence to the contrary is that Prince would never drop it like it's hot—he's a little too cool for that one.
Ghostface Killah and André 3000
I mean, can you imagine? This would be one of the most epic back-and-forth, verse-for-verse slugfests we could even think of, with each MC determined to one-up the other for imagery and wordplay. And honestly, it's tough to pick a winner. But for now, we can all agree with Ghost's tweet from 2012, below (though at least we know he's on his way this summer).
Danny Brown and Marilyn Manson
Two slightly weird guys who would make some amazingly strange music together. Manson has already proved the formula works with his raunchy tune with Gucci Mane titled "Pussy Wet.” Maybe, Danny and Marilyn can make a trippy drug anthem or a psychedelic sex ode. The possibilities are up for the imagination.
Earl Sweatshirt and MF DOOM
Pairing Earl Sweatshirt's sinister deep methodical flow and production skills with MF Doom super villain persona would be as good of a duo as Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. A Run The Jewels with darker lyrics and tons of verbal braggadocio. With Earl coming into his own as a producer after Doris, it would be ideal to get them back in the lab together, just to see what they could do on a track by themselves.
Frank Ocean and The Internet
Coupling The Internet's smooth neo-soul with the lush sounds of Frank Ocean would be bliss to the ears. Imagine a Frank Ocean and Syd Tha Kyd duet on "Shadow Dance" and tell me you don't get chills. Plus, with The Internet's funky takes on Mac Miller's Live From Space album, we could see them really getting into some serious grooves. And that would be dope.
Calvin Harris and Earl Sweatshirt
Calvin Harris was the world's highest paid DJ in 2013. His knack for making heart-pumping dance records is amazing. Pairing him with Earl Sweartshirt's off the wall lyrics could be the recipe for a major positive collaboration. Can you imagine Earl over some soaring EDM beats? It just might work.
Wu-Tang and Odd Future
The off-color supergroups of past and present teaming up would be a royal rumble of the ages—and might last as long as a royal rumble, as well. A Wu-Tang Clan and Odd Future joint record would probably be a twenty minute song of audio dopeness. Maybe after they all get together we can finally stop the comparisons?
Drake and Kanye West
These hip-hop titans beefed in the past, but now they are friends again. Technically, ‘Ye and Drizzy have worked together on tracks like “Find Your Love” and the posse cut “Forever,” but a proper collaboration is definitely needed. ‘Ye on the boards and the two spitting crazy verses? That’s a hip-hop head’s dream come true.
Jeezy and Gucci... Reunited
If Jeezy can squash his beef with Rick Ross, then we’re probably betting he could do the same with Gucci Mane. “So Icey” was the start of their tumultuous feud, but to hear them back together would a trap star’s dream come true.
Danny Brown and Frank Zappa
If we're going with musical eccentrics who made some incredibly dope music, look no further than these two guys. Sure, Zappa may be gone now (RIP), but he left behind an exhaustive catalog, and Danny Brown's last two projects have proved that he can rhyme over absolutely anything. We wouldn't put some of Zappa's more insane, off-beat, weirdly-timed compositions beyond Danny's abilities. Danny spitting over some "Cozmik Debris"? Yes, please.
Action Bronson and Rick Ross
These two larger than life MCs are a pairing that is would be made in the kitchens of heaven itself. Both are big guys, both have more energy than rappers half their size and both can flat out make arresting music. Having them on one track may be too big body for the weak of heart.
Gucci Mane and Nicki Minaj
It'd be impossible for this to happen after everything that went down with Gucci's Twitter meltdown, right? But they've collaborated before, and Gucci needs to get back into the mainstream. Nicki, of course, doesn't need help, but if she wants to get back to her hip-hop roots, it doesn't get much deeper in the trap than Gucci. A "Slumber Party, Part 2"? Doubtful. But that would be pretty dope, if it happened.
Ty Dolla $ign and Frank Ocean
On paper, they're polar opposites, and that's what makes this potential collaboration so enticing, if they could ever pull it together. Frank is one of those artists that you put on when you and your girl are hanging out; Ty is one of those that you put on when you and your other girl—and maybe her friend, too—are hanging out. There's two sides to this love thing, and you'll get the full spectrum out of these two. Plus, it's about time we heard a new joint from Frank. Sweet Life at the Beach House.
A$AP Rocky and Kanye West
Hip-hop's two premiere Fashion Killas together on one track could produce one of the fashion industry's biggest tracks since Gucci and Prada first started making their way into hip-hop's rhyme schemes. Plus, think of that music video—it'd probably be one of the flyest visuals of all time. OF ALL TIME!
Kanye West and Taylor Swift
You knew we had to toss this one in here. One song to bury the hatchet forever, and maybe even a music video with a Beyoncé cameo to really hammer the point home. Plus, it's a great opportunity for both Taylor and Kanye to talk about what's bothering them all in one place, and might help lift some of the stigma surrounding both of them. And if they performed it together—say, at the VMAs?—we might be in for even more of these now-classic dance moves. Hey, it could happen!