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Over the years, hip-hop has made a habit of smashing down genre walls and collaborating with plenty of artists outside of the culture, whether it was the early days of Run-DMC and Aerosmith or the collision course of Nelly and Tim McGraw. But sometimes a rapper's collaboration with another artist can be so random as to be downright bizarre. That doesn't mean it doesn't work, of course—who would have seen "Walk This Way" becoming a hip-hop hit in the mid-1980s?—but sometimes it's fair to wonder just how two artists got together in the studio or collaborated on a track or video in the first place. The reasons can be anything from label politics to unlikely friendships to mutual musical respect, but whatever the cause, there are plenty of hip-hop collaborations that have come straight out of left field.

With such seemingly strange pairings as Waka Flocka Flame x Good Charlotte and A$AP Rocky featuring Rod Stewart already this year, XXL took a look back at 20 random hip-hop collaborations that both worked and flopped.

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Public Enemy and Anthrax

"Bring The Noise"
Year: 1988
Wait, What?: Run-DMC had broken down the walls—literally, if you remember the music video—between rock and hip-hop with their Aerosmith collaboration on "Walk This Way," but P.E. took things to their metal extreme with this track. In truth, only Chuck D and Flavor Flav could have matched the aggression of that incredibly heavy wall of guitars, so if another rock-rap collab was to happen in the 1980s it made sense in retrospect.

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"Radio Song"
Year: 1991
Wait, What?: R.E.M. was a fixture on the alt rock scene at the time, but this cut incorporated just enough of a funky groove to have a verse from KRS-One make some sort of sense. It stands as one of the most awkward examples of Michael Stipe trying to be cool in recorded history, but KRS' verse is decent enough and the bassline is seriously dope. We'll let it slide.

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Mariah Carey featuring Ol' Dirty Bastard

"Fantasy (Remix)"
Year: 1995
Wait, What?: Mariah Carey, the reigning queen diva and one of the most celebrated voices of her time, and Ol' Dirty Bastard, one of the most vulgar and wild MCs to have ever graced this earth. The result was honestly a little bizarre, but does it really matter? The juxtaposition of the two, plus Dirty's ridiculous appearance in the music video, make this an absolute gem.

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Puff Daddy and Jimmy Page

"Come With Me"
Year: 1998
Wait, What?: Re-interpreting Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" for the Godzilla soundtrack with Puff was certainly a bold move for guitar god Jimmy Page. The track's haunting riff certainly fits the film, but the song on its own is just... bizarre. Some beats, it seems, just shouldn't be rapped on.

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Reading Festival 2010 - Day Three

Limp Bizkit featuring Method Man

"N Together Now"
Year: 1999
Wait, What?: Limp Bizkit's brand of rap/rock was hard to ignore for a period of time there, and while Method Man (and Redman as well) was known for his experimentation, no one asked for this to be the result. The beat is, honestly, pretty dope, but we'll take more Meth and Red collabs rather than listening to Meth and Fred Durst trading bars.

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Nelly featuring Joe Perry of Aerosmith

Year: 2001
Wait, What?: Following Puffy's lead, Nelly also pulled an aging classic rock guitar god in the form of Aerosmith's Joe Perry for this cut off the Training Day soundtrack, which would also show up on the St. Lunatic's second album Nellyville. Nelly is at his infectious best on this one, while Perry mostly kind of hangs out in the background, uncomfortably noodling while everyone keeps their eyes on one of the early 2000s' hottest rappers.

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Christina Aguilera featuring Redman

Year: 2002
Wait, What?: Christina Aguilera was certainly the racier figure in the pop diva standoff between her and Britney Spears in the early 2000s, and pairing her with the barking, party-hungry Redman for one of the biggest songs of her career definitely gave her more of an edge. The song is one thing, but the video... Well, the video is something else entirely. Whew.

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Korn featuring Nas

"Play Me"
Year: 2003
Wait, What?: Korn had dabbled in hip-hop features in the past, with Ice Cube having appeared on one of their prior albums, but Nas is a much different type of rapper than Cube. The track is bizarre and heavy, but Nas' verse is solid lyrically and sonically, though his hook is probably a little too much. I mean, it's Korn. Once the overly-aggressive final minute of the song kicks in it's gotta go.


Jay Z and Linkin Park

Collision Course
Year: 2004
Wait, What?: Linkin Park's rap/rock led the way for a few years when that genre was briefly all the rage, but it took hip-hop by surprise when Jigga—by that point retired and focusing on his duties as the President of Def Jam—joined up for a mashup EP. Sure, it may have been the product of an MTV-led experiment, but the project still went platinum. We won't necessarily be spinning it all the time, however.


Kanye West featuring John Mayer

"Bittersweet Poetry"
Year: 2007
Wait, What?: A Japan-only bonus release from Graduation, Kanye's collab with John Mayer came at a time when both 'Ye and Mayer were on top of the world, musically. That's what made it so rare, as Mayer had yet to significantly contribute to much in terms of the hip-hop community. But Yeezy's experimentation was just beginning, of course, and he's proved again and again over the years that he's never been one to shy away from taking a musical risk.


Weezer featuring Chamillionaire

"Can’t Stop Partying"
Year: 2009
Wait, What?: The original version, which appeared on Weezer's 2009 album, Raditude, featured a verse from Lil Wayne, which while still pretty random made sense from an MC who was credibly calling himself the greatest rapper alive. But grabbing Chamillionaire for the AOL Sessions remix seemed totally out of nowhere, particularly because the track is a pretty straight-ahead, by-the-numbers rock song. Credit Cham then for delivering a serviceable verse for fans who probably wouldn't have been able to spell his name.

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Kanye West featuring Bon Iver

"Lost In The World"
Year: 2010
Wait, What?: Bon Iver was the indie darling and Kanye West was the most hated man in America. What were they doing together? Making magic, it turns out. Yeezy's masterpiece was loaded with features, but Bon Iver's lilting vocals lent a sense of wonder and universality to the track that made it more than just another rap song on an album stacked with fantastic cuts.

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Queen Latifah & Dolly Parton

"Not Enough"
Year: 2012
Wait, What?: Just because it was for the Joyful Noise soundtrack that starred both Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton doesn't mean that they had to collaborate together on a track from the soundtrack. This is about as far from hip-hop as you could credibly get.

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Brad Paisley featuring LL Cool J

"Accidental Racist"
Year: 2013
Wait, What?: We can cut this one short: the less said about this bizarrely short-sighted collaboration the better. What was LL thinking? The world may never know.

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G-Dragon featuring Missy Elliott

Year: 2013
Wait, What?: The people have been clamoring for new music from Missy Elliott for years now, something which only intensified in 2012 when Timbaland leaked two new tracks from Missy and got fans all hyped up again. But a collab with a K-Pop hip-hop group probably wasn't what most fans had in mind. The result is a decent collab, but seemed completely out of left field.


Katy Perry featuring Juicy J

"Dark Horse"
Year: 2013
Wait, What?: It's hard to imagine Katy Perry getting down on the purple and knocking back her share of lean, but the numbers just don't lie: "Dark Horse" has more than one billion—yep, billion—views on YouTube and its video took home a VMA for Best Female Video and an AMA for Single Of The Year. Sometimes gambles really do pay off.

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Gucci Mane featuring Marilyn Manson

"Fancy Bitch (Pussy Wet)"
Year: 2013
Wait, What?: If you're wondering what this song is about, just take another look at the title. Marilyn Manson had claimed in the past that most hip-hop barely constituted music, but he seemed to change his mind by the time Gucci Mane came calling. Besides it being a song that's impossible to play in public, the collab actually works pretty well, with Gucci in particular providing a fresh flow.


Kanye West featuring Paul McCartney

"Only One"
Year: 2015
Wait, What?: From completely out of nowhere, Kanye West dropped this double ode to his mother and daughter just as the clock struck midnight this past New Year's Eve, ushering in 2015 with a collaboration between one of today's most influential artists with one of the greatest musicians of all time—and a Beatle to boot. The result may have been a little sappy for most hip-hop heads, but its thoughtful organ flourishes and undeniably heartfelt lyrics set it apart from Yeezy's other recent output and set it almost diametrically opposite from the material on his last album Yeezus.


A$AP Rocky featuring Rod Stewart, Miguel and Mark Ronson

Year: 2015
Wait, What?: When A$AP Rocky revealed the track list to his sophomore album At.Long.Last.A$AP, the biggest eyebrow raiser was the inclusion of classic rocker Rod Stewart, who couldn't have seemed further from Rocky's sound. After all, the former front man for The Faces is much more in line with the likes of Eric Clapton than Juicy J, much less the young Harlem MC. But skepticism melted away very quickly when the track came out; as it turned out, Stewart blended right in alongside Miguel and Mark Ronson with his raspy voice lending a grit to the vocal that offset Miguel's smoother croon. The result was a fantastic album cut from the crew.


Waka Flocka Flame featuring Good Charlotte

"Game On"
Year: 2015
Wait, What?: In all honesty, it's not the fact that Waka, who has had plenty of random collaborations over the years, would do this track, but more that Good Charlotte—most known for their emo work in the early 2000s—hasn't been heard from since at least 2010 when they announced a hiatus. But hey, money talks and if the advertising campaign for the film Pixels is any indication, they got plenty of it. And in all honesty, Waka is probably the one rapper best-positioned to slide into this type of collab.

Gap via YouTube

Future, Cher

Cher and Future

Rendition of “Everyday People”
Year: 2017
Wait, What?: It was Gap who brought Future Hendrix and the Goddess of Pop together. The legendary singer and platinum-selling ATL star appeared in a commercial for Gap in the Fall of 2017, causing quite the stir online. The duo's one-minute spot was such a hit, fans began to refer to them as "FutCher"