Hip-Hop Collabo's That Need to Happen
Hope your roots of creativity dig deep.
Exit the short lived era of contrived Hip-Hop super groups, where it felt like every artist both relevant and dated were teaming up; looking for the freedom to collaborate and build off of artistic freedom while huddled between metal ribs of the industry umbrella. Oh yeah, and for that mad $$. Young Money circa 2009, in a roundabout way, caused this with the emergence of young up and coming artists like Drake, Tyga, Nicki Minaj and of course the backbone vets like Lil' Wayne and...whatever Birdman is and/or has been since somewhere in between those songs he did with Mannie Fresh and getting excessive face tattoos. Then we "Watched The Throne", and it was kinda' lackluster - lez' be honest - but gave us some seriously braggadocios bravado-bangers for years to come. Strange Music is still going strong behind Tech N9ne, especially now with the acquisition of Murs, but this is reaching considering this took place in its own microcosm separate of this era. Tech should go down as one of the biggest entrepreneurs of Hip-Hop all time, by the way. "Slaughterhouse" arrived as the more mainstream version of an "Army of Pharaohs" and never failed to disappoint. Unfortunately, Joel Ortiz has remained lyrically flat compared to the others and Joe Budden has splintered off, throwing out two depressing albums since then.
Seriously, I get the drugs, but how good was that piece of pussy that fucked his world up?
Enter in the era of collaborations. Yeezy and Jay laid out blueprints for this simple formula. Em and Royce improved upon it with "Hell: The Sequal," the expanded rehash of their much earlier collabo "Bad Meets Evil." Run the Jewels is dope as fuck, but it took me until the most recent album to know who the fuck Killer Mike was rapping with. Go ahead, hip-hop purists, yell at your screens about how ignorant I am. I know, I know, "bro, do you even underground?" With that being said, RTJ3 has been on repeat in my car for days. Then you got that shit you may have heard while whippin' 'round town...jumpman, jumpman, jumpman, jumpman. But, you know who really set off this duo-centric main stream movement? A couple southern boi's a lot of ya'll love to hate.
This album is just fun. Stylistically, Wayne and 2 Chainz compliment one another perfectly with their outlandish rhymes and dirty south bravado. It's two rap moguls flexin' on tracks together, dropping bullet-proof bars that only hype up the next verse even more. Yeah, sure, it's about jewelry, women, cars, luxury, loud and lean. The fuck else you want from either of them? When you have this combo, you don't fuck with the winning formula. If you expected something profound, you probably also celebrated your 21st birthday with a Coors Light and a PBS special on the presidential campaign. Sudoku playing mother fucker. I mean come on,
I kiss ya lady, eat her pussy, then kiss the baby // Get situated, get keys off table, then leave her 80// - 2 Chainz
That shits funny. One of my favorite tracks on the album is 'Bounce.' The back and forth verses from both rappers is in a format likened to a friendly rap battle. A lot of "ohhhh shit" moments paired with raw one-liners and short, potent bursts of wordplay. When I heard that line for the first time, I couldn't help but to do the cringe-laugh face that you end up with at the end of every "World Star" video. Enjoy.
Witness something special. Dawn the era of mish-mashed, stylistic centered, art-based rap. Void of label bullshit. Let's get some ill shit going. Quasi-freemarket Hip-Hop centered around the trade of dope rhymes and elegant strokes of the mind. This is like rosterbating in the off-season over your favorite team. These combos may never happened, but fuck it. A Hip-Hop enthusiast can dream, right? Grab your headphones, lets get them pretend dollas and vibes. And don't get mad if your favorite rapper doesn't get mentioned....trust me, I'll leave many of mine off of this list. Don't catch feelings though, catch insight into a life. I'm just sharing some potential. Let's get it.
A$AP Rocky vs. Tyler, The Creator
Ya'll ain't ready for the Wang$ap. The beautiful thing about this combo is that its already a proven concept. Unsure? Check out the video below. Shit, YouTube 'Telephone Calls,' the climatic banger that finishes Cozy Tapes Vol. 1. The chemistry is ironic as fuck. You have two parallel personalities of fashion killas. In one lane, we got designer swag. That's Harlem pretty boy representative Rocky. In the other lane, you looking at shit you can cop on sale. That's Tyler, reppin' Supreme season in scuffed Vans. You got Lamborghinis and you got golf carts, literally. Their respective mantras? Have some fucking originality. Their frequencies mesh despite differences in waviness. It's a perfect storm of youth, individuality, artistic rebelliousness and creativity. Yin and Yang. This is the fucked up epitome of balance. Considering they just finished touring together, expect a dope ass mixtape at the very least...
Floopy goober mutha fucka.
Pusha T vs. Jay Z
Let he without sin cast the first stone // So I built that all glass quad level first home // - Pusha T
Ask Teddy Riley 'bout me // Ask the Federalis 'bout me // Tried to build a cell around me // - Jay Z
Shades of Pablo Escobar level personality reign through in "Drug Dealers Anonymous." Cold, unadulterated tales of dealings that lead to present day rap phenoms. Flicks of the wrists facing the stove, finger-print securities protecting lucrative banking's. Beats laden with a story in the very fibers that dress these melodic rhythms. Simply, nice.
A story of marbled impressiveness and gangster finesse. I would love to lace up my best footwear, color-code my hoodie and ride through the calmer hours of night with this album. Every track a reflection of gritty reality met with supreme coolness. The kind of shit you make left turns to in style. Wax off. The narrative speaks for itself with both rappers capable of stating their own independent stories centered in different stages of their lives; intersecting only because of similar circumstances unchanged. You don't need either of them to push the tempo of the other - no, quite the opposite. Let these two storytellers preach yesterday's poetry.
CyHi The Prynce vs. Travis Scott
Two leaned out, outside the box rappers. Amoral-ass rappers, rappin' about D'Evils rappers. Intelligent with their ignorant subject matter rappers. Southern-hot sauce warped rappers. Watching that flame twirl in between the darkness and the blunt rappers. Wind up at Magic City, every dollar shedding stress-ass rappers. Can't crack a sweat rappers because rappers ain't concerned-ass rappers.
CyHi and Travis both have that eerie feel that they're both expressing much more than what their lingo dictates. Sickness fermented, aged by an environment that catapults your survival instincts. They both find a way to harmonize their voices with abstract beats ranging from violins to Caribbean voodoo percussions. Listen and envision...
G.O.O.D. Music dropout CyHi embodies that elevated cold-swag that would mesh oh, so, perfectly with Scott's swampy, dark verses. Two rappers that can take you on a ride, shotgun, head out the window understanding every little detail despite it being so far out your realm of normality. It's not pretty, but you can't fucking tell me it lacks elegance.
The Weeknd vs. Lana Del Rey
Pretty little nightmares cushioned between blackouts. Two depraved souls haunting the quiet hours of their spinning universes. It's the slow, rhythmic markings of thought that we let slip. Inhale, exhale. The late night cold giving away our breathing, or maybe it's only just another cloud of smoke. Stylistically reminiscent of a modern substance fueled groundhog day - falling from the grace of clarity gifted by every night, wiped clean with the rising sun. And let me tell you, it's a hard, hot fall from grace.
Pretty little nightmares turn into melancholy hangovers. Lana Del Rey's haunting and mesmerizing vocals pair, almost too perfectly, with The Weeknd's ominous confidence. It might be too beautiful for me to actually verbalize, because I'm struggling right now. I keep coming back to an image of two individuals perched in backwards chairs, slouched, looking into one another's souls. Taking turns throwing darts at pressure points. Numb, primal beasts with their eyes contracting and scanning for a read on visible scars. Hoping that these markings go far enough to reflect something deeper.
I love how these two mesh together. If you have any doubts whatsoever, I urge you to listen to their joint song 'Prisoner.' This encapsulates so much of what I've already said in terms of style and somber unity. Unapologetic soul. A dark, fun, introspective and romantic pairing that would sing to a very specific part of our souls. Like finding yourself in the ocean, you'd find a surface of reality waving and stinging before your eyes. Above the surface, air. Panic below. These two compliment one another in a way that could only be achieved by parallel destruction met with perpendicular enlightenment.
Ooooo...I really like that...may have to remember that one...
A$AP Ferg vs. Danny Brown
I had this originally as Danny Brown and Skrillex. After throwing the proverbial tennis ball against the wall, I just wasn't feeling it. Would be a dope single for sure, or even an EP. I mean...if you can't appreciate lyrics reminiscing on MDMA fueled blowjobs, I don't know what to tell you. I haven't even had a blowjob on MDMA, but I wouldn't hesitate to live vicariously through that shit. Sounds like a good time. I'll pay $1.29 for that shit on iTunes. Trust.
That combo wasn't elevating any careers though. It wasn't enhancing anything past the trivial level, and most certainly wasn't bringing anything creative out of one another stylistically. And while I was envisioning my role as old testament industry manager, capable of bending the rules and bringing back artists from the dead (Holograms, 2Pac's already dealt with it) and pairing them with present day artists...it dawned on me:
A$AP Ferg and Danny Brown both sound hilarious saying testicles. No, hear me out.
Like, really doe. Shades of Dirt McGirt make up both of their shadows. Individuality meshed with griminess. Straight sludge. Unforgivable purse-snatchings leading to forgettable epiphanies...rewind, unnecessarily deep for this psycho shit. Flow sick, nigga, call it pneumonia, I'm on ya...
Is this song/video on the artistic level of Kendrick's 2016 Grammy's performance? No, but this should still be examined as a creative and very personal video narrated as a cleverly disguised radio jam. Surface level, you have stereotypical topics that have been clichéd out of existence. Money, drugs, pussy, etc... Hear me out real quick though, because we have a forest for the trees situation here. Watch the video. Pay attention to the chains animating Brown's body. Notice I says animating and not raising. Why? The chains are a metaphor for drugs. His eyes are void of, well, anything and his body is ragdoll-esque. Painful wailings and beads of sweat precede the inevitable reanimation back to base level. Take in that dark, unpredictably jagged beat.
Without using his direct blood-line, this would be the best combo of DGAF rappers capable of representing the ODB school of rappers. A$AP Ferg 'bout it. Unapologetic verses making sure you understand just how ghetto-rich he is. He may take three albums in a row to elaborate. Every joke is instilled with a little truth though...so you can assume every braggadocios rhyme is filled with the pain that lead up to it. I mean, how can you reach those highs having never struggled with those lows. Gritty Harlem gutter flow. Whatevs...skip the history directory. Skip the meat and bones. Transcend to the really doe...really doe...
An album wishing mutha fucka's would. Whoa.
I love the back and forth realness possibilities with this collabo. Outrageously spastic rhyme schemes with unpredictable flows and unforgivable topics that when meshed, just manage to click. Clique, Clique. Ain't nobody fucking with this drug-induced, hard hitting, clique...
It's really the glimpses of tortured experiences that periodically shine through the fuzzy mind and tongue-in-cheek laden lyrics. Bell's rattling, keyboards on repeat. Teeth gnashing and tongue lashing. Voice pitch already risen between the two announce the play, following the work. Two loc'd out rappers ready to take the stage with weird lights cascading upon them.
Now allow me to intervene, with an interlude...if only for the time it'd take to snatch up your intrigue. Immaculate intelligence is the immortal backing to the muse. The muse. Ironically enough, makes us idealistically introspective. Should you allow it. Oxymoron, no. Idiom akin to the path of metaphors, maybe. Now, back to expressing appreciation for individuals integral to my identity. Inspiration is irreplaceable.
Indifferent ideas, surrender. Indifferent ideas, surrender...
... Bam bam, 'ey 'ey 'ey
Bam bam bam, bam bam dilla
am bam 'ey 'ey 'ey
What a bam bam, bam bam dilla...
Don't know why I haven't thought of this sooner..
A lost, brash, maniacal mind stretching the confines of every room he puts himself in, key word, puts himself in, cuz' we all love to place ourselves in echo chambers. After a while, these echo chambers become prisons, echoing cries of desperation down corridors of misappropriated energy. Echo chambers. Bouncing ideas back and forth like a game of racket ball, with no one seemingly on the other end saying bad shot. An iconic figure in not just hip-hop, but pop culture. Check that prolific résumé. A name that began with birth, Kanye West. Later self-proclaimed as Yeezus. Biblical as a fallen spirit can get. J. Cole recently shed light on demons we all knew clouded the man...but have we all not at one point, looked back at memories disgusted with what allowed us to grow? The pendulum always swings back the other way...
Childish Gambino. Just a name generated by Wu-Tang's website. Donald Glover is an inspiration to me without being able to quote the vast majority of his songs. His latest hit with me isn't even a song. 'Atlanta' is cinematic poetry. Rapper, writer, producer and director. I can't help but to be slightly jealous of someone who has motivated himself to constantly create.
Stunned and dazzled by the bright lights of other mother fuckers, I find myself blinking my eyes and scrunching my face in effort to see reality. Side glance. Reality is subjective though. I guess I'm just trying to see reality in a way that makes me feel worthwhile. This get's tricky though; what's worthwhile to an individual? Creative outlets make a self-proclaimed introvert seem like a liar.
I'm talking about roots of creativity. They dig themselves in different plots of dirt; dirt nourished by decayed ideas and present day influences. Kanye West and Childish Gambino could create an album of immense artistic proportions. Won't happen over night. Won't happen within a year, if done right. But if you take that hungry soul that wrote 'Jesus Walks' and match it with the instrumentals that shine oh so brightly between 7:00 and 7:18 in 'Runaway,' and throw it in a blender with Gambino's nuanced ideas of creativity, and freedom...well, you get instant classic lyricism reminiscent of swag on a hundred, thousand, trill-
I'm just trying to keep one of my favorite rappers of all time in the trajectory of all time greatness. What's really the purpose of these icon pairings? To elevate. How do you elevate a self-proclaimed God (Yeezus)? Toss him in a room where the empty echo's are met with middle fingers. Gambino is that amazing individual that could invoke the best out of Kanye. Present day wise. Throw them both in a booth together and give that talent a healthy ego to bounce off of. Maybe this is just wishful thinking and I'm getting too story driven with this bullshit. Hip-Hop is psychological, but are rappers psychologists? Where does perceived responsibility realistically end? Again, this is all pretend. Someone busy enough to create this soulful art shouldn't have to babysit overgrown ego's...but upon who does the responsibility inevitably fall upon to nurture the tree that first gave you fruit? Fuck...
Rip a comfortable rapper out of his comfortable throne and force him to smell the grass. The shit's fresher than designer roses. It isn't healthy to collude with comfort. 'Watch The Throne' was fun as fuck, but Kanye does his best against inspiration. He's too sensitive to unfortunately allow room for yes-men. Just glance at the last few years...shit, I've said equally soul-deprecating things. I just don't have a publicist near me. I've talked about this collabo like it was an intervention. Who is this more beneficial for? It's not Childish Gambino. He's already self-sustaining. Sometimes you need a Deadpool to look at the audience and tell them that Batman is acting like a cunt. If I wanted business as usual, I would have written about another Jay-Z and Kanye part II, or if I was trying to be half-assed creative I'd pimp out the Chicago connect between Common and 'Ye...but...
...crowns slip. We change. I...I don't know...
...can we get much higher? Uncomfortable glances tell all. You can blame me for everything...if one day you up and leave. Runaway. Toast.
Kid Cudi vs. Gary Clark Jr.
Castaways will occasionally swipe at drifting waters; changing trajectories to ones that never seemed any less nonsensical than a map painted by Jackson Pollock.
This one was tough. I wanted to pair Cudi with so many different artists. Probably because Cudi is versatile as fuck. He can rock the chorus, lay down bars, sing melodically and produce. Travis Scott, Kanye West, Andre 3000, Pharrell, Joe Budden, RZA and the spirit of Jimi Hendrix were my original picks. Not to enter into the psychological aspects of the industry again, but I honestly wanted to pair Cudi with a role model. Someone that could inspire him. Dude has been in and out of rehab; confessing many dark truths about himself in various interviews and songs through the last few years. I mean, this man holds credit to my favorite song of all time, 'Pursuit of Happiness.' At this point in his career, is there really anyone that is enhancing what he has to offer without diminishing it?
In the most greediest of fashions, I wanted lightning to strike in the same place twice; preferably a solid 16-22 times to create a full album of Cudi and Ratatat. Cudi's unorthodox sound pairs so beautifully with Ratatat's electronic and off the wall instrumentals. Maybe you could have an entire album cut that many ways from the same pattern. And like a key giving that satisfying clicking of pins, I realized I was over thinking this shit.
Never stifle growth for comfort.
Enter in the spirit of Hendrix. Honestly, I can't think of anyone that could sound so similar to Jimi Hendrix than Gary Clark Jr. Please don't take this either that I'm claiming Clark is ripping off Jimi, because I'm not the first person to recognize the similarities and I won't be the last, but his sound is so fucking genuine and emotional that it just doesn't leave any room for fuckery of the likes. I can't even go into detail with this dude because my perceived accolades of him begin and end with the fucking royal noises he makes his with his hands. I also know he's self taught, which means everything he puts out directly resonates straight from his mind to the chord just how he intended it to. Electric riffs that shake up the very energy bonds of the air around, combined with soulful lyrics. The spirit of Rock N' Roll is alive and well with this cat. The kind of shit you drive to with the needle on empty, and pulled-out pockets recently frisked for fucks given.
Ain't passing from the right // I'm passing to the left // Burn this whole thing down by myself- Gary Clark Jr.
This duo would bring a jolt of life to the downtrodden and stalled-out individuals (Hi, my name is Miles). If you looked at music similar to the four-corners borders, Cudi's style teeters just enough on the edge of genres to bleed into other states. I have no doubt that they could both co-produce an album together and feed off one another. It'd be another doorway to a different muse for a different scene. A series of songs promoting a search for the soul, spanning from dusted backroads in Texas to cracked, broken glass-littered streets in Ohio. Both artists are extremely soulful and walk the narrow pathway of art; beset on all sides by insecurities, comfortable realities and flittering glimpses of grandeur...and groupie pussy, drugs and the compulsive need for multi-colored pants and headbands. Blue Levi jeans and one size fit all hats just don't produce this kind of sound. Sorry, sucks to suck.
Figure out a way to throw in the legend that is Andre 3000 and you can go ahead and retire whatever bullshit album you're proclaiming. Hang it up mu' fucka. It's a wrap.
Kendrick Lamar vs. J Cole
Oh, come the fuck on...this is extra prolific. You should already be nodding your head in agreement. Must I really extrapolate about the sky being blue? Two of the hottest names in Hip-Hop who are both tickling at the balls of their prime simultaneously. This, this is exciting.
This is low hanging Apples of Eden. Kingdom's have already been determined. Thrones have been established. These are two very, very, special individuals.
I could spend an entire article talking about these two, but I prefer to sit back and witness something transcendent rather than contributing more guess-work. Plus, Ab-Soul already hinted to this being a reality...
So. Until then, I'm out.