Collaborative album: Who, Where and Why?
10 Freaky Girls by 21 Savage and Metro Boomin off of Not All Heroes Wear Capes, has been on repeat all day. As the chorus swoops in with “hanging off my earlobes is a rock” I thought to myself, wow, what a sensational collaborative album. The key word here being 'collaborative'. A collaborative album is defined as an album by two or more artists or an artist and a producer. Over the past decade we’ve been blessed with an abundance of them. There’s the classics, What A Time To Be Alive by Future and Drake and Watch the Throne by JAY-Z and Kanye West . Then we have the modern sensations, Everything Is Love by The Carters and Without Warning by Offset, 21 savage and Metro Boomin. Watch the Throne. Need I say more? No. But I will anyway. This iconic album by JAY-Z and Kanye West has become the pillar of all collab albums with Ye’s creative flow complementing Hov’s classic style of rap. Both rappers seem to have pushed the boundaries to excel in new musical territory, creating music that we wouldn’t typically find on their solo tapes. This is especially evident on songs such as Otis, which highlights both rapper’s distinctive styles while simultaneously creating a fresh new sound. Niggas In Paris, one of (if not the) most popular song from the album combines the best elements of the pair with clever punchlines such as,
"Prince William ain’t do it right if you ask me / if I was him I woulda married Kate and Ashley”.
Other notable songs such as No Church In The Wild feature crazy production combined with thought-provoking and clever lyrics.
Are you beginning to understand why this collab album is considered one of the greatest? Let’s take this a step further, spin your heads a little more by delving into another classic. What A Time To Be Alive by Drake and Future. Now this was a collab that really rocked the culture, Drizzy and Fewtch are two very different artists with their own unique traits. Despite that, this project is everything you wished it would be and more. The production alone was enough to make you fall in love. Diamonds Dancing features a heavy, yet consistent beat with slight melodic undertones. Accompanied by Future’s raspy vocals and Drake’s smooth tones, they create an exquisite sound. Another fan favourite is Scholarships which although has nothing to do with the title, is still a song that can be vibed to in the clubs giving it that ‘versatile’ feel. It could be argued that unlike Watch The Throne, neither artist pushed their musical boundaries, staying in their comfort zones while still giving us music they knew would be a hit. Did they break new ground? my answer is no but this does not take away from the simple fact that this was a great body of work.
Fast forward 3 years and we’re onto our modern sensations. Everything Is Love by The Carters dropped this year and in true Beyoncé and JAY-Z fashion. There was no promotion or fore- warning and as usual, the fans ate it up. The biggest record from the album, Apeshit, was a rap banger featuring the power couple speaking about how far they’ve come and their position in the music industry. The beat is a Migos-inspired featuring ad-libs like “skrrt skrrt” from Quavo and Offset. It’s great to hear Beyoncé out of her R&B element with rap, that being said I’m not completely convinced they complement each other seamlessly on this collaborative project. Then again, with songs such as Nice and Friends, how can we say no?
Last but not the least, Without Warning by Offset, 21 Savage and Metro Boomin. This is definitely one of my favourite collab albums to come out in recent times. 21 Savage’s immaculate flow, coupled with Offset’s clever lyricism and speed combined with Metro Boomin beats? Incredible. Songs such as Ric Flair Drip became a phenomenon taking over the charts with its captivating melody. Other classics off the album include Rap Saved Me, which talks about how Rap has been the saving grace for many young men who grew up in rough neighbourhoods. This is highlighted with lines such as “I’m from the gutter, rap saved me”. The fact that they were able to make audiences listening feel like they could relate while simultaneously bopping along only confirms how sensational it is.
So there you have it, 4 incredible projects that give us an inkling into why collaborative albums have become more popular and why, more often than not, they turn out to be massive successes. Collaborative albums highlight the best of both artists and often push the artistic boundaries, resulting in musical magic. Long story short, collaborative albums are here to stay and we’re not mad about that.