fantastic cross-genre rap collaborations?
May 10, 2011 10:56 AM   Subscribe

Help me find really good rap songs with hooks that are sung by non-rap artists?

I'm liking these collaborative rap songs where the (completely addictive) hook is sung by a guest artist from a different genre--songs like Airplanes (B.o.B feat. Hayley Williams), Written In The Stars (Tinie Tempah feat. Eric Turner), Love The Way You Lie (Eminem feat. Rihanna). There's something highly appealing about the contrast of the emotionally intense rapping with the melodic singing.

Recommendations? These are all mainstream examples, and I'd be delighted with anything more obscure/complex/interesting. I don't really know anything about rap/hip-hop music, so feel free to assume that I haven't heard anything besides these three songs.
posted by sally onion to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
You Got Me (The Roots feat. Erykah Badu)
posted by Perplexity at 10:58 AM on May 10, 2011

Lupe Fiasco samples Modest Mouse as the hook on The Show Goes On, that's pretty weird.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:59 AM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Roots often feature John Legend, like "The Fire" from their most recent album.

Also, this is so ridiculously common, you might want to narrow it down a little. Seriously, almost every hip-hop album probably has multiple tracks that match your description.
posted by General Malaise at 11:01 AM on May 10, 2011

Try this: Iranian Girl.
posted by lettuchi at 11:02 AM on May 10, 2011

Heck, Timbaland makes albums full of them.
posted by General Malaise at 11:03 AM on May 10, 2011

Case in point, the somewhat ridiculous (but I think endearing) Need You Tonight, by Professor Green featuring Ed Drewett (neither of whom you've probably heard of).
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:04 AM on May 10, 2011

"The Truth" by Handsome Boy Modeling School (feat. Roisin Murphy)
"Sadie Hawkins," by Doomtree (Dessa is a rapper, but sings, too, and this is an amazing collab with crewmate Indigo)
Talib Kweli, "I Try" (feat. Mary J. Blige)
"Coffee" by Aesop Rock (feat. John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats)
Aesop Rock + Kimya Dawson, "Delicate Cycle"

I may think of some more later ...
posted by jeffmshaw at 11:05 AM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

You mention things that are more "obscure/complex/interesting." Mr. Lif is working on a project with a Balkan brass brand that looks completely crazy and fantastic. Watch the video here.
posted by jeffmshaw at 11:08 AM on May 10, 2011

Not exactly rap, but maybe Guns Blazing by Unkle would be of interest? Slightly obscure and quite complex/interesting.
posted by workerant at 11:12 AM on May 10, 2011

"Sick of Being Lonely" - Field Mob, with Ciara on the hook.
"So What" - Field Mob, also with Ciara on the hook.
"Got Up This Morning" - Sage Francis with Jolie Holland.
posted by ndfine at 11:21 AM on May 10, 2011

Jay Z - Empire State of Mind
posted by empath at 11:28 AM on May 10, 2011

Kanye is your homeboy in this case:
Through the Wire
All Falls Down
Slow Jamz
All of the Lights

There are a few good Adele rap remixes:
Jay Z Ft Kanye West & Adele - Never Chasing Pavement
Adele vs. Jay-Z vs. Biggie - Rolling In the Deep
Big K.R.I.T. - Hometown Hero

Some GaGa related remixes:
Wale - Chillin Ft. Lady Gaga (The Knocks Remix)
Kid Cudi - Make Her Say ft. Kanye West, Common

Also, Eminem's Stan comes to mind. You'll probably also enjoy the Fugees and Lauryn Hill's solo stuff. Really, a lot of the rap that came out in the mid-to-late 90s had some sort of R&B hook. And today, a lot of the rap that kids listen has some sort of indie hook.
posted by AceRock at 11:32 AM on May 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh shit, lif cut his hair? Where have I been?!?!


Ground Components - Coming in from all angles (feat Macromantics)
Proton - Fade Away (feat Santigold)
Black Ice - Nights in the Summertime

Not so obscure

Royce 5'9 - I'm on my own planet
Royce 5'9 - Wet My Whistle (feat Sarah Stokes)
Ghostface - Cherchez La Ghost
Jay-Z - Empire State of Mind featuring Alicia Keys. (empath beat me to this one)
posted by cashman at 11:33 AM on May 10, 2011

These are more sample based hooks:

"Dontgetit" - Lil Wayne (Tha Carter III) has a large sample of Nina Simone's version of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood."

"Use Me Up" - UGK (Too Hard To Swallow) samples the hook from Bill Withers' "Use Me."
posted by ndfine at 11:35 AM on May 10, 2011

One of my favorites is an electronic music guy Cex

He's from Baltimore, and this is a bit of his more dark work. Plus he is a real cool diy kinda guy and will actually write you back!
posted by handbanana at 11:35 AM on May 10, 2011

"Young Forever" - Jay-Z with Mr. Hudson
posted by ndfine at 11:39 AM on May 10, 2011

Check out Gangstagrass - not everyone's cup of tea I'm sure, but the mix of rap and 'bluegrass' and beats does it for me - their site's not loading for me right now, but the Theme to Justified is what most folks know
posted by pupdog at 11:48 AM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Superstar -- Lupe Fiasco
Humdrum Town - Theophilus London (I think it's the artist himself singing the hook, but it's definitely a melodic contrast to the rapping)
posted by mireille at 11:57 AM on May 10, 2011

Let Me Blow Your Mind -- Eve feat. Gwen Stefani
posted by chrchr at 12:30 PM on May 10, 2011

New Wave by Common (Featuring Laetitia Sadier Of Stereolab).
posted by rustcellar at 12:38 PM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Two other Lupe Fiasco songs have been mentioned but not may favorite: Lupe Fiasco - Daydreamin'
posted by C^3 at 12:45 PM on May 10, 2011 [3 favorites]

One of the first
posted by criticalbill at 12:47 PM on May 10, 2011

Shaggy - Angel ft. Rayvon

Almost anything by The Lonely Island
posted by TinWhistle at 1:16 PM on May 10, 2011

I don't know if this fits the bill since I wouldn't technically call it a rap song, but maybe My Culture by 1 Giant Leap?
posted by JaredSeth at 1:23 PM on May 10, 2011

More Theophilus London - Why Even Try feat. Sara Quin

And more Common - Everywhere feat. Martina Topley-Bird

And more Kanye West - Homecoming feat. Chris Martin

And someone who hasn't been mentioned yet! K'naan - Bang Bang feat. Adam Levine
posted by sigmagalator at 1:27 PM on May 10, 2011

Not sure if mash-ups count, but this Aloe Blacc and Notorious BIG joint is awesome.
posted by AceRock at 1:27 PM on May 10, 2011

CRS (Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West & Pharrell) - Us Placers
- the entire hook is sampled from thom yorke's eraser
posted by fizzix at 1:49 PM on May 10, 2011

You might find Plan B interesting, for example on She Said there is a mix of soul and rap, both very competently performed by the same artist.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 2:20 PM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

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