there’s power in numbers. in fact, the perfect hook-up with the hottest property can launch (or relaunch) a lacklustre career.
in the mid 90s, duets and artist collaborations became less of an event. naturally, you would collaborate with labelmates, but a strategic feature spot could mean opening up your music to a whole new audience. the most popular hook up was r&b and hiphop, but some puff daddy collabos in the late 90s saw hiphop push the boundaries by mixing it up with rock bands, a trend jay-z has carried into the 00s.
so, for the r&b girls and boys looking forsome instant street, the most ubiquitous featured rappers of the 90s? jay-z, ll cool j and biggie by a mile, although a young foxy brown gave them a run for their money.
and if a hiphop act wanted to smooth things down? total, swv and mary j blige at your service.
the idea hasn’t slowed down at all, in fact, the standard r&b album has at least four collaborations and some albums (timbaland) are built entirely around that principle.
90s hook ups – download here
blackstreet and swv – can’t get you out of my mind
two of the biggest r&b bands of the 90s – worked so well they did it twice.
blaque and destiny’s child – she ain’t got that boom
how much hair can you fit in one room? one more member and they could have been an 80s jheri curl soul act. a subdued performance from beyonce on this one.
busta rhymes and zhane – its a party
not the most obvious hook-up to spring to mind but it worked.
jay-z and foxy brown – sunshine
jay-z and foxy collaborated so often you gave up trying to work out who was guesting for who.
junior mafia and aaliyah – i need you tonight
a mishmash of r&b, hiphop and 80s throwback hook and sample. shouldn’t have worked quite so well.
keith sweat and kut klose – get up on it
inevitable feature spot. on occasion the whole r&b don with cooing girl group could seem a little mysogynistic. there were worse examples though.
ll cool j and boyz ii men – hey lover
ll likes it both ways – guest features and inviting others on to his tunes, I mean.
mase and total – what you want
individually, not great. together it worked.
method man and mary j blige – you’re all i need to get by
one of the originals and a good example of how an r&b feature spot doesn’t need to water down the proceedings.
smooth and 2pac – p.y.t.
proto jay-z and foxy. 2pac must have rated young ms stokes as he didn’t guest spot with just anyone.