Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)
We’re still in A&R mode after putting together our Illmatic tribute mixtape with UpNorthTrips, which dropped this past weekend on the 20th anniversary of the album’s release. And though we’re in no way anxious to dive back into another project of that magnitude, we’ve got a few ideas for collaborations we’d like to hear this year. There’s nothing more exciting than a sick collabo. Remember when Jay Electronica and Jay Z’s remix of “We Made It” dropped? We all woke up that Sunday morning and neglected our loved ones for the rest of the weekend listening to it and tweeting about whose verse was better. And a month later, we’re still talking about it.
Well, we’ve got five more ideas for rap collaborations that we think will not only be epic for hip-hop in 2014, but also just flat-out dope to listen to for years to come. We even included in our choice of producers for each to save the artists the work of finding the right person to make the track if they intend to follow through on any of these proposed records (in which case we will expect a percentage of the iTunes sales thank you kindly). Check out the collabos we cooked up below, and feel free to let us know if you have any additional ideas of your own in our comments section.
1. Action Bronson & Drake (Prod. by Noah “40” Shebib)
Drake called Action Bronson’s live rendition of “Strictly For My Jeeps” at a London nursing home last year the “best performance of the new millenium,” so we already know he’s a Bam Bam fan. Add that they both have Jewish mothers, an affinity for comedic skits, a deep love for marijuana, and serious rap skills, and you’ve got the makings of an instant classic. Let them do a crazy, character-driven intro together, exchange punchline-filled bars, then throw Drizzy on the hook to croon out on some OVO meets H-Town ‘90s type shit (Bam Bam can Vine himself singing it after the release). Wouldn’t that be amazing, over a blunted-up 40 beat? Call it “Mensches” or something to that effect. Boom.
2. Cam’ron & Nas (Prod. by The Alchemist)
Yes, we know, Cam and Nas aren’t the best of friends (see our Killa Mixtape Memories post for proof of past beefs). But it’s 2014, and anything is possible. In fact, the two were photographed earlier this year together (see up top), so maybe this is already in the works! Nas is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Illmatic, Cam’ron is readying his new project with A-Trak, and New York is in need of a moment. Both have done excellent songs with Alchemist in the past but never with each other, so let’s get them out to L.A. together for a trip to Rap Camp and see what happens. Then, how about this? Nas, you bring Cam out during your headlining Hot 97 Summer Jam set and debut the song there! Whoooooo!!!!
3. Kanye West & Kendrick Lamar (Prod. by Oddisee)
It’s remarkable that a Kanye and Kendrick record hasn’t happened yet. You’d think after touring together, and all the hype surrounding each of their last albums that this would be a lay-up for both of them. Maybe it’s somewhere in the vaults? If it is, come up off that, fellas. If not, they should really find some time this year to lay a duet down. These two are too good to not give the hip-hop world something next level with both of their names on it. And might we suggest a beat by one of hip-hop’s most underrated producers, the DMV’s own Oddisee? We could’ve said Dr. Dre or even Kanye himself, but O’s got that soulful hard shit that will put Kanye back in backpacker mode, which next to Kendrick would be nothing short of ridiculous. Tell us these two wouldn’t kill a beat like “Yeezus Was a Mortal Man.” We’ll wait.
4. Rakim & Roc Marciano (Prod. by Erick Sermon)
Strong Island, we’re gonna need you to stand up on this one. If this happens, it will be a legendary listen for the old head rap fans out there. The God Rakim on the same song as the God Roc Marci? Don’t get it twisted, Rakim is one of the forefathers of this shit, but Roc Marci deserves to be worshipped as well. He’s carrying the torch for the 6th borough, and setting the bar above the clouds for the rest of his competition. Now imagine putting these two Long Island Dons on the same track, with fellow L.I. representative and EPMD/Def Squad neckbreaker Erick Sermon behind the boards. Let the Green-Eyed Bandit hit them with a “You’re a Customer” type banger, or even something with a “Tonight’s da Night” vibe. Or what about a rugged, “Herb is Pumpin’” flavored joint. Insane. Fuck around and throw Busta Rhymes on the remix and it’s over.
5. 50 Cent & Troy Ave (Prod. by Harry Fraud)
Want another New York moment? Yes, 50’s latest press run birthed some intriguing quotes about fellow Rotten Apple rapper Troy Ave. He told the Hot 97 Morning Show recently, “I like the idea of Troy Ave. I would want it to work.” He continued, “I hear a lot of me in Troy Ave,” then added, “I’d like to hear a little more of Troy Ave, that’s all.” The truth of the matter is, Troy Ave’s been influenced by 50 Cent, no question. But at the end of the day, he’s a breakout artist with his own voice and a growing movement, and these two would sound great together on a song. It’s the type of pairing made to set off DJ Clue tapes, and for Funkmaster Flex to drop infinite bombs to. Go ahead 50, it’s okay to swallow your pride and do a joint with the man setting himself up to fill your shoes. New York needs you both right now, and we’d rather see you align yourselves with each other than go to war. Let Harry Fraud bless you guys with some wavy shit for the summer. If the track’s half as good as what he gave French Montana and Jadakiss, it’ll be outta here.
Previously: The Top 5 Rap Duets of 2014 (So Far)
Catch up on all our previous NahRight features HERE.