Skip to content Skip to footer

8 hit songs you ain’t even know were passed up by other famous artists

Have you ever heard a song and thought “Damn, (enter favorite artist here) would’ve killed that?” Maybe you’re not too far off.

Recently, Tyler, the Creator revealed to i-D that the song “See You Again” off of his fourth studio album, Scum Fuck Flower Boy,  was originally written for ex One Direction member Zayn Malik.

Tyler took to Twitter roasting the former One Direction singer’s flakiness, tweeting, “I wrote ‘see you again’ for Zayn but that bitch flaked on studio time twice, so I kept the ref for myself, worked out actually.”

Zayn missing out on the studio sessions made way for Colombian-American singer Kali Uchis to lay her vocals down for a dope feature.

Artists are known to turn down songs that were meant for them. Their decision to not do a hit a song might seem dumb to you, but what is trash to one artist might be Billboard treasure to another.

Hell, a thrown away song from a bigger artist might even pop off a smaller artist’s career.

We decided to do a little research, digging deeper to find out what’s really good with songs that were turned down by one artist and given to another.

You’ll never look at your favorite song the same way ever again.

TLC  -“…Baby One More Time”

Sheesh!

This is the song that jumpstarted Britney’s musical career but it turns out this song was actually meant for R&B trio TLC. RIP Lefteye.

Songwriters Max Martin and Rami Yacoub thought the song meshed with TLC’s swag at the time but boy were they wrong.

MTV caught up with group member T-Boz back in 2013. She explained why they passed up on the hit song,

“I was like, I like the song but do I think it’s a hit? Do I think it’s TLC? I’m not saying ‘hit me baby.’ No disrespect to Britney. It’s good for her. But was I going to say ‘hit me baby one more time’? Hell no!”

Britney lucked out. Holy fuck her cards were played right.


Pusha-T  – “Ni**as in Paris”

Apparently, this world record-setting song was meant for GOOD Music president Pusha-T.

In an interview with AskMen Pusha said he received the beat from Kanye but according to his manager Steven Victor, he thought it had sounded like a video game.

Pusha’s exact words when he heard the beat, “It sounds like a video game. Get that sh*t out of here!”


Michael Jackson – “Rock Your Body”

The Neptunes wrote this song for Michael Jackson. After Jackson’s team turned it down, Justin Timberlake picked it up for his solo debut album Justified.  

If you listen closely you can definitely see how this song was meant for the King of Pop. The high pitched vocals and the beatboxing at the end give it away.

Low-key would’ve been awesome to hear this on Invincible, but everything happens for a reason, I guess.


Cee-Lo Green – “Happy”

This one is for the music history books. When “Happy” came out everyone was elated when they heard it, but it turns out Cee Lo Green did it first.

According to Rolling Stone, in a radio interview with Howard Stern, Pharrell said, “[Cee Lo Green] wanted to do it…and he did do it.”

Williams continued,

“He burns my version! But. . . how do I say this diplomatically? The powers that be, at the time, did not see it fit for him. Some folks on his team just felt that the priority should be on [Cee Lo’s] album at the time [2012’s Cee Lo’s Magic Moment], so they elected not to do that song.”

Damn… fuck the “powers that be.”


Fat Joe – “Candy Shop”

Lean Back for this one. Joey Crack co-produced 50’s hit track with Scott Storch but turned it down even after Storch called him 100 times.

According to XXL, Joe explained why he let 50 Cent have it,

“I’m pretty sure the world don’t know we actually produced “Candy Shop” together. I produced it with him (Storch), made the intro, put the sounds together. I figured at the time “Lean Back” was popping so Scott called me like 50 times, 100 times: ‘Yo, you sure you don’t want to use it? 50 Cent called me. 50 Cent want it…'”

Joe continued,

“I never had a problem with this dude. I was like, ‘Go ahead.’ The next day, I get in there and hear Candy Shop… Sometimes you know beats ain’t for you.”

This one is a particularly odd give away as 50 and Joe had some beef back in the day. Remember “Piggy Bank”?


D12 – “In Da Club”

This track spent eight weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 singles. According to an MTV breakdown of 50’s album Get Rich or Die Tryin, D12 passed up on the track. I guess they didn’t feel the vibe?

Welp, they missed out on hella racks. Fourteen years later I still hear old-heads knocking this track in their caddies.


Celine Dion -“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”

When Diane Warren wrote this song she saw a female singing it. The woman she imagined singing it was Celine Dion, but Aerosmith gave the song a different dimension.

Check out what she said in an interview with Short List,

“When I wrote it I thought it would end up being like Celine Dion or somebody like that, you know, back in the day – I mean, who’s a great singer – but it’s so much cooler to hear someone like Steven Tyler – this gruff, macho rock star, this amazing tough guy – for him to say that lyric, it just brought a whole other dimension to it. I don’t think it would have been the same hit, or the same standard, if it wasn’t for someone like Steven Tyler doing that song.”


Britney Spears – “Milkshake”

Although it appeared on Kelis’ third studio album “Milkshake” is the song that put her on the map.

When this song came out everyone was buggin’. Do you remember being in class and getting in trouble for singing it? Teachers were tight AF.

Britney turned it down for reasons unknown.

Damn, Britney, is Kelis’ milkshake better than yours?

UNLEASH YOUR CREATIVE POTENTIAL

Kulture Hub Bridges the Gap between Trailblazers and culture Hub Bridges the Gap between Trailblazers and Innovators, Shaping the Future of Creativity.