The Weirdest Rap Collaborations of All Time, Volume One
As a hybrid genre in its origins, rap music has always lent itself to collaborations that step outside the conventions of the form. It's been common practice for a long time to include a verse by a popular rapper on a non-rap song—it's a little bit like when Quentin Tarantino "presents" a film, except that rappers actually contribute to the work their name is on and they probably have better taste than Quentin Tarantino does. This isn't a fool-proof formula, though, and the results range from good to interesting to absolutely terrible. Here are a few of the more bizarre gems the rap gods have blessed us with.
BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY (FEAT. PHIL COLLINS) - "HOME"
Pretend that you are Phil Collins (I'm sorry). A lawyer from Ruthless Records contacts you about clearing a sample from your hit single "Take Me Home," off your Grammy-winning album No Jacket Required, for use in a Bone Thugs-N-Harmony song. Do you (A) see this as an interesting creative choice (and an opportunity for money) and permit the sample to be used? Or do you (B) bitterly refuse because you see it as a perversion of your pop-rock masterpiece? This is why you're only pretending to be Phil Collins, because not only did he choose (A), but he also flew to fucking Geneva, Switzerland to record an actual video for the song with Bone Thugs. It's a logical choice, given how much respect we know these artists have for international law. It's also possible this is another Rap Illuminati conspiracy, since Phil and Bone Thugs barely make physical contact throughout the duration of this video and so I'm not entirely convinced they actually met.
RDB & ANTHONY KUMAR (FEAT. SNOOP DOGG) "SINGH IS KINNG"
RDB is a mid-2000s Bhangra fusion band that contributed a song to the 2008 action-comedy movie Singh is Kinng, starring Bollywood celebrity Akshay Kumar. I don't really know too much about this Snoop Dogg fellow, but he should consider himself very lucky for the opportunity to work with such talented and internationally recognized artists, and I am always in support of musical collaboration at the global scale. Also, here's a chipmunk version of that song, in case you were thinking, "Shit, I could really use a chipmunk version of that Bhangra/rap song" when you heard it. I'm looking out for you.
MSTRKFT (FEAT. N.O.R.E. & ISIS) - "BOUNCE"
P.A.P.I., or The Artist Formerly Known as N.O.R.E., has (had?) a well-respected solo career and as a member of CNN (No, not the news network. That joke's been made before. Shut up.). Why he decided to team up with the vowel-less elctro banger dudes of MSTRKRFT is unclear, but the video to "Bounce" would indicate that duffle bags full of money were involved. You'd think that for the millions of dollars that get handled in this video, MSTRKRFT could afford production quality above that of 90's sofcore porn, but I guess not. At least they splurged on a light cube to keep Noreaga in. The message of this video is, "Even though we say that all we do is party, don't steal money from us because we will murder you."
LFO (FEAT. M.O.P.) - "LIFE IS GOOD"
It's entirely possible that a 13-year-old girl wrote “Life Is Good.” Both the lyrics and melody sound exactly like something a teenager would make up while singing in the shower. This is also LFO's target audience, I think, so if anything this song is a formula for success. The only reason this theory doesn't hold up is because of the Steve McQueen reference. Oh, and the completely inexplicable M.O.P. verse in the middle of this song. It's a bad sign when a song sounds like a mashup even though it's not. This song came out less than a year after M.O.P.'s well-received Warriorz, so why were they stooping so low? Admittedly, it's pretty catchy, but I'd rather listen to the original version of the M.O.P. verse, which was an acappella that Lil Fame rapped to himself in the shower.
The above also doubles as a list of Gabriel Herrera's favorite songs. Don't believe him? Ask him on Twitter - @gabrielherrera