Top 5 r&b/rap collabs …

So I’m stealing a page from Jemele Hill here. Was driving home from Boston last night, listening to that Kelly Rowland song, “Daylight.” An average jam in every sense of the word—save for a killer rap breakout by Travis of Gym Class Heroes. So I was thinking: What are the five best rap breakouts in the middle of a song. Here’s my list …

1. Friends, by Jody Watley (featuring Eric B. and Rakim): A very mediocre tune by a very mediocre singer—but Rakim was almost always off-the-charts dazzling, and here is no exception. Credited on the song as “Eric B. and Rakim,” I question whether Eric B. showed up for anything but the video. By this point in their careers, I believe the two were on pretty bad terms.

* 2. Jam, by Michael Jackson (featuring Heavy D): I’ve long thought Heavy D has caught a bad rap—sort of Kid ‘N’ Play-ish, when the man truly could rap. This isn’t Jackson’s best tune, but it’s pretty damn good. Overlooked in his crazy collection of hits. Heavy D’s add is great, but the video—featuring Michael Jordan and the two kids from Kris Kross—is laughably terrible.

3. Crazy In Love, by Beyoncé (featuring Jay-Z): Killer song, killer rap, and with a Nick Van Exel reference to boot. Brilliant all the way around. I run to this pretty regularly.

4. Daylight, by Kelly Rowland (featuring Travis McCoy): Again, a pretty blah song. But the rap absolutely makes it work. McCoy is an intriguing guy. Oozing with talent, but at a crossroads. Could turn into MC Hammer (bad) or Wyclef (goof). Worth watching.

5. Smack That, by Akon (featuring Eminem): Admittedly, watching Eminem these days (when he shows up) is sorta like paying to see Franco Harris as a Seahawk. But this song is infectious, and Eminem brings his B game—which is still better than the As of most.

* SIDE NOTE: I just watched the Jam video again. So weird. Sort of a homo-erotic basketball/dance lesson between the two MJs—one at the top of his career, the other about to leap off the cliff into a pit of humiliation. Also makes one wonder what would happen if now, in 2008, Jackson called Jordan and said, I’m doing a Jam II video and want you to star in it again …”


“Uh, Michael. Michael?”

4 thoughts on “Top 5 r&b/rap collabs …”

  1. I nominate Ludacris in “Yeah”. There are very few 20-29 year old males who don’t know at least part of this by heart.

    “Watch out, my outfit’s ridiculous. In the club, lookin’ so conspicuous, and ROWR! these women all on the prowl. If ya’ hold the head steady, I’m a milk the cow. BUT FORGET ABOUT GAME, I’M A SPIT DA TRUTH. I won’t stop ’til I get ’em in they birthday suits. So gimme the rhythm and it’ll be off with their clothes, then bend over to the front and touch your toes. I left the Jag and I took the Rolls. If they ain’t cuttin’ then I put ’em on foot patrol. How you like me now, when my pinky’s valued over three hundred thousand? Lets drank you the one to please. Ludacris fill cups like double Ds. Me and Ursh once more and we leave ’em dead, we want a lady in the street but a freak in the bed.”

  2. Such mainstream fluff here.

    Try “Daydreamin” by Lupe Fiasco and Jill Scott or “American Girl” by Kanye and Estelle.

    How about Jay Z and Mary J’s “Song Cry?” Or The Roots with Erykah Badu in “You Got Me.”

  3. PHENOMENAL Topic…but you’re missing some of the best;

    Disclaimer: Mariah could single-handily have her own Top-5 so she is excluded.

    1.) Real Love; Mary J f./ BIG- The new Queen of Soul just starting out, the introduction of BIG on a national scene…the gold standard IMHO

    2.) If I Ruled the World; Nas f/ Lauyrn Hill – Nas trying to find himself post-Illmatic teams up with L-Boogie before she goes off the deep end

    3.) Heartbreaker; Mariah f/ Jay-Z – Like I said, could have chosen Fantasy (ODB) or Honey (Puff&Mase) Breakdown (BoneThugs), etc.

    4.) No Diggity; Blackstreet f/ Dre – Teddy Riley’s third super group with killer intro from Dre

    5.)Everything’s Gonna Be Alright; Father MC f/ Jodeci – One hit wonder at the peak of KC & JoJo madness

    6.) Best of Me; Mya f/ Jadakiss; always thought she was going to breakthrough bigger…best effort

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