Despite any collateral damage it could cause, collaborative albums have been a staple in hip-hop since the genre’s conception. Recent combinations like 21 Savage and Offset, Drake and Future and Travis Scott and Quavo all have made unforgettable marks in music — bolstering their popularity at pivotal points of their career in the process.
It’s often that these projects are delivered by two artists who have a history together and have some similarities in style. In the last decade, however, we have seen several instances of newer artists working with more seasoned contemporaries — crossing over sounds, personas and styles.
Here are a few of examples of our favorite new school, old school collaborations and how they panned out:
Last week (Oct. 1), Rich the Kid and Lil Wayne blessed listeners with a collaborative project that was nothing short of a pleasure to listen to. Rich’s affinity for catchy hooks matched well with Wayne’s classic punchline delivery, allowing both artists to shine in their own skillsets. Add in some bumping instrumentals and fans of either of these two artists were pleasantly surprised.
Not many listeners of hip-hop now would consider Kanye to be a newer artist, but at the time of Watch the Throne‘s release, he was a decade behind Jay-Z in terms of output. By no means was either of them a small artist, but Ye’s ability to create timeless instrumentals combined with Jay’s veteran status behind the mic proved to be an unbeatable combination for years to come.
Fans of Juice WRLD were absolutely thrilled to hear that the rapper was set to release an album with one of his self-proclaimed idols in Future. WRLD on Drugs took Juice’s melodic delivery and intertwined it with the trap influence of Future to create some of the most narcotic-friendly music of our time.
Summer 2014 proved to be one of the most illustrious years in Young Thug’s career, boosted by the popularity of “Lifestyle” — a track that introduced many fans to the chemistry between Thug and Rich Homie Quan. This song was just one of many bangers resulting from their newfound alliance with Birdman’s Cash Money imprint, a label famous for managing Lil Wayne, Drake and Nicki Minaj all at one point.
Although The Melodic Blue isn’t considered a collaborative album, Kendrick’s three blazing appearances definitely warrants a nod. The cousins show off their undeniable chemistry on “family ties,” “range brothers” and “vent.” With Baby Keem’s simple yet effective flows and Kendrick’s signature fast-paced delivery, all three songs are fantastic examples of a more seasoned MC contributing to the up-and-comer’s growth as an artist.
As hip-hop grows as a genre, it will be interesting to see how collaborative albums will continue to take shape in the future. The age of the internet has made artists more accessible to one another, leading to a more fruitful, creative experience. Listeners can only hope that this fusion of old and new continues to bring us the gems that it has brought so far.
What’s your favorite collaborative album? Let us know in the comments on social!