By// Quinn Peterson
While many will argue that today’s Jay-Z-Kanye West album, Watch the Throne, is hip-hop’s best collaboration of all-time, we’ve put together a list of other standout tandem hip-hop collabs. Keep reading…
Jay-Z & R. Kelly — The Best of Both Worlds: WTT isn’t Hov’s first attempt at a collaboration album. Nine years ago, his partner-in-crime was R. Kelly. While it certainly wasn’t a five-star effort, it was a solid, entertaining album with a handful of quality tracks. Unfortunately, controversy surrounding both artists — especially Kelly — slowed down much of the momentum this project could have had.
Black Star — Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star: These two Brooklyn MCs saw their careers take off in unison thanks to this album. Moreover, it serves as a landmark piece in the legacy of “conscious rap.” While they haven’t linked back up as Black Star since this 1998 release, they have collaborated several times for various songs.
Bad Meets Evil (Eminem and Royce Da 5’9″) — Hell: The Sequel: After finally setting aside lingering beefs, these two Detroit natives combined to form Bad Meets Evil, and one of the fiercest lyrical duos in hip-hop history was forged.
Curren$y & Wiz Khalifa — How Fly: The most youthful on the list, this mixtape album ignited two major waves: The Jets, and The Taylor Gang. After several years of grinding to no major avail, Curren$y finally broke through as a solo artist, while Wiz has seen his popularity soar to tremendous heights and has produced a chart-topping album and two top-10 hit singles.
Jaylib (J. Dilla and Madlib) — Champion Sound: This collaboration may not have resulted in large record sales, but by no means should that diminish it’s potency. Legendary producer, Slum Village member and Detroit native, the late J. Dilla formed “Jaylib” with multitalented Los Angles native Madlib. Each man MC’d and produced half of the tracks in order to churn out this underground classic.
Method Man & Redman — Blackout!: These two are OGs of the collaboration game. Rarely in any walk of life have two people ever complimented each other so well. So well, in fact, that Meth and Red parlayed this album’s success into a major studio film (How High), a major network television series (Method and Red), and sequel album (Blackout 2!).
Nas & Damian Marley — Distant Relatives: Some were wary when word of this collabo first arose. The final product speaks for itself, however, and Nas and Marley came through with substantive content over slick production, creating a solid high-quality album.