When Kendrick Lamar released the tracklist for his album DAMN., one detail in particular stuck out. No, it wasn’t the endlessly meme-able album cover, but the presence of U2 as featured artists was deeply worrying.
You see, since the dawn of time hip-hop and rock bands have been collaborating to make wack ass music. Yeah it seems cool to put a popular rock musician and a dope MC on the same song, but it pretty much never works.
The Aerosmith/Run DMC “Walk This Way” track was admittedly fire, and the whole like “oh wow we put a hip-hop group and a rock group together!!” shtick was cool in 1986, but shit got incredibly played out two decades later when everyone was trying to get Chris Martin on a song.
I mean, Kanye and Jay-Z legitimately beefed over the fact that they both made a song with Coldplay. Think about that for a second. On Kanye’s “Big Brother” he raps about being upset about Jay also using Chris Martin on a chorus, “I told Jay I did a song with Coldplay/Next thing I know he got a song with Coldplay/Back in my mind I’m like, ‘Damn, no way’/Translate, español: ‘No way, José'”.
This is #Peak cornball. No one should be beefing over Chris Martin choruses. I mean, “Homecoming” and “Beach Chair” seemed cool at the time… but were they actually? And why is Adam Levine the only other rock musician rappers know?
This all begs the question, “why the shit don’t rappers have better taste in rock music?”
Like, why aren’t there more adventurous collaborations that partner rappers with cooler bands? Take “Clint Eastwood” by Gorillaz and Del the Funky Homosapien as an example of a dope collaboration across genres.
Nothing feels unnatural, the two opposing musical forces bring out the best in each other, as opposed to producing the watered down garbage of the other songs on this list.
Without further ado, I present the wackest rap/rock collaborations of all-time.
“Don’t Wanna Know” Maroon 5 ft. Kendrick Lamar
This song is the musical equivalent of a soft breeze on your face that’s like pleasant at first and you’re like “ahh nice breeze on my face” but then it doesn’t stop and you start getting kinda pissed off and then you wanna fight the wind.
Try listening to this whole song without getting mad. It’s impossible. Kendrick comes on and raps “no more, please stop” which is actually how I feel about this song. Please stop Maroon 5, with your vaguely pleasant bubblegum breeze pop, no one asked for this shit.
Honestly I think Kendrick was clowning Maroon 5 with this verse. They definitely paid him like 5-6 figures (get your bread K-dot) to jump on “Don’t Wanna Know” and then he gave them this verse about selfies and birthdays and shit.
I mean, there’s just no way Kendrick seriously rapped “did he lay it down for you, touch your poona like this?”
You got punk’d Maroon 5.
“Numb/Encore” Jay-Z, Linkin Park
Yeah, I’m sorry to ruin your childhood. I know you thought this shit was popping in 7th grade, but it’s not. It’s very bad.
In 2004 Jay-Z was extremely popular and Linkin Park were extremely popular. Somewhere, in the dark depths of a record label, some moneyed executive hatched the plan to just throw two ridiculously successful musical artists at each other and see what happened.
What happened was the Collision Course EP, which featured Jay-Z songs with Linkin Park production. They reportedly got the idea from Danger Mouse’s Grey Album, which mashed up Hov’s Black Album with The Beatles White Album, which was actually cool. Collision Course was not cool. It was a contrived attempt at making the most money possible off two sets of rabid fans at a time when mashups seemed like the most radical thing to ever happen to music.
Shit was trash.
“Lost!” Coldplay ft. Jay-Z
I don’t mean to pick on Hov, but he made some very questionable decisions in the mid-2000’s when the whole mashup culture was peaking. When it came out, the fact that Jay-Z was on a Coldplay song just seemed so revolutionary.
It wasn’t. It was stupid. Why Jay-Z all the sudden just hopped on the remix of this seemingly random and anonymous Coldplay song is still unclear, but it’s safe to say the whole thing was just awkward.
I mean watch that video, the way it just flashcuts from Chris Martin prancing about in French Revolution cosplay to Jay in a white room by himself rapping about Biggie and Pac.
There was a whole kerfuffle among Coldplay fans about Jay’s use of the n-word on the song, which is a controversy that in and of itself proves this whole thing was ill-conceived.
Rappers, stop listening to Coldplay.
“The Mighty Fall” Fall Out Boy ft. Big Sean
This is actually a match made in heaven. Big Sean, one of the corniest rappers in the game, teaming up with Fall Out Boy, the most bland of the late 2000’s pop-rock revival bands, to make a song that is perhaps the least interesting thing I have ever listened to.
There’s not even really anything to say about this song, but it includes lyrics like “your crooked love is just a pyramid scheme” (Fall Out Boy) and “baby straight up chemistry DNA” (Big Sean). Neither of those things make any sense, like in the least bit.
The fact that this song appears on the album Save Rock and Roll may be the worst part about the whole thing. Like Fall Out Boy, a group made up of anthropomorphized fedoras, were going to save rock and roll with their basic ass Hot Topic soundtrack music. This song makes me sick to my stomach.
“Can’t Stop Partying” Weezer ft. Lil Wayne
I really have no idea what this song is. I can’t believe this song was made. Lil Wayne and Weezer are both great artists in their own right, but I just can’t imagine how anyone thought this song was a good idea.
People just sat around and let Rivers Cuomo sing the chorus “I can’t stop partying, partying/I can’t stop partying, partying/I gotta have Patron/ I gotta have the beat/ I gotta have a lot of pretty girls around me”. My only hope is that this song is some sort of meta joke about party culture and Weezer were secretly trolling us all the whole time.
As for Lil Wayne and rock music, we know these things don’t go together well. Remember that whole rock album thing he did? That entire album could’ve made this list.
To all the rappers out there, stop letting corny pop-rock bands use you to look relevant and edgy. And if you need some power chords, just hit up Korn for chrissake.