Hip Hop Collabs That Redefined The Genre
Who doesn’t love a good crossover? Even hip-hop heads like to hear a fresh sound from their favorite artist, and what better way to appeal to a larger demographic than to team up with other musicians who don’t share your audience?
Over the years, it’s become more common to see a rapper collab with a country artist or RnB singer collab with a reggaeton star. The cross-promotion and cultural consorting is real, and we’re not mad at it!
Here are some of our favorite collabs that might’ve been unlikely, but won the hearts of hip-hop fans worldwide.
Numb/Encore – Linkin Park & Jay Z
There wasn’t an adolescent in the early 2000s who didn’t let off some teenage angst to the sounds of Linkin Park. The California-bred six-man rock band is comprised of Mike Shinoda, Joe Hahn, Rob Bourdon, Dave Farell, Brad Nelson, and lead vocalist Chester Bennington. While the group already had hit singles like “In The End” and “Numb”, it wasn’t until the 2004 remix with Jay Z that the rock group rose to global stardom – a live performance at the Roxy Theater on YouTube accruing nearly 50 million views.
Over & Over – Nelly & Tim McGraw
We all remember the “Country Grammar” era when fans from the Midwest to the Southeast hailed Nelly for his consistent party bops. Similarly, in 2000, Tim McGraw was well into his reign as country King, releasing his first greatest hits album which charted for nine weeks and sold six million copies. There was no surprise when “Over & Over” from Nelly’s fourth album “Suit” performed so well in 2004.
Tusa – Nicki Minaj & Karol G
Carolina Navarro or Karol G is a Colombian singer out of Medellin. The reggaeton and Latin trap artist is widely known in the Afrolatina community as the voice behind hits such as “Provenza”, “Armargura”, and “Watati” from the Barbie album. In 2019 the 30-year-old reggae ton artist put out a collab with hip hop diva Nicki Minaj which debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Hot Latin chart and rested on the Hot 100 Argentina for six weeks! “Tusa” was definitely a timely bop that pleasantly surprised fans on both sides.
I Like It – Bad Bunny, J Balvin, Cardi B
Now, if you haven’t heard the 2017 summer jam “I Like It” from Cardi B’s debut album “Invasion Of Privacy”, you may have quite literally been living under a rock. If that is the case, we’d be remiss not to put you on! The Bronx bombshell, best known her for reality TV come-up, paired up with J Balvin and Bad Bunny for this biddy-biddy-bum-bop! J Balvin & Bad Bunny are arguably the Latin music industry’s heaviest hitters of this generation. This collab, which sampled Pete Rodriguez’s “I Like It Like That”, reigned number own the charts for 51 weeks, becoming the first Latin trap song to top the Hot 100, according to Billboard.
Old Town Road Remix – Lil Nas X & Billy Ray Cyrus
Lil Nas X shot to fame in 2019 after releasing his viral country hip-hop song “Old Town Road” on YouTube. Naturally, the catchy hit started trending on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram causing the then 19-year-old’s following to grow exponentially. Controversy surrounded the song when it was removed from the Billboard country charts for being deemed not country enough. Just like that, Billy Ray Cyrus hopped on to country it up a bit more! The career-making record spent an unprecedented 18 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100.
As Long As You Love Me – Justin Bieber & Big Sean
11 years ago Justin Bieber serenaded the hearts of young Beliebers everywhere with “As Long As You Love Me” from his Believe album. The song is a testament to true love, proclaiming that nothing else matters. Detroit-bred rapper Big Sean was featured on the track which gave a hip-hop twist to a pop bop. The record spent 56 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart peaking at number 4.
Havana – Camilla Cabello & Young Thug
Camila Cabello rose to stardom as a member of Fifth Harmony, one of the best-selling girl groups of all time. After their split in 2016, Cabello began to release solo hits and created her own lane in American pop. In 2018 she partnered up with Atlanta native rapper Young Thug to conceive “Havana”, a hit that would garner one billion views on YouTube and earn her her first Billboard number one!
Baby – Justin Bieber & Ludacris
Another Justin Bieber classic, “Baby”, was released in 2010 as the young Canadian prodigy was shooting to superstardom. The record featured Ludacris who was dropping bops like “My Chick Bad” and “How Low” in his club banger era. While the Biebs appeared to be another teenage pop star with a funny haircut, he had soul in his voice and funk in his music.
Naturally, he would start working with heavy hitters in the industry after being introduced to the world by the legendary prince of R&B Usher Raymond. “Baby” has 3 billion views on YouTube and debuted at number 5 on the Hot 100.
Which of these hip-hop collabs changed the game for you?