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Whether its an attempt to increase their exposure, or a genuine commitment to further their art, musicians will cull talent from different genres to experiment with new sounds. Recently, there has been an abundance of these releases, which lead us to think of all the pleasantly unexpected artist collaborations. The convergence of musical sensibilities occasionally end in some abysmal results, but we’ve chosen to focus on the tracks we enjoy, which have been compiled in a list below.
Some collaborations have lead to such favorable outcomes, that artists have changed their sound and career direction altogether. For example, Miley Cyrus was formerly widely regarded as a family-friendly Disney actor and pop singer. Through a continued exposure to new genres, combined with her maturity as a person, Cyrus has drastically changed both her appearance and her music.
Take a look at the list of collaborations compiled below. Who knows? Maybe some of these artist will reinvent themselves as well.
Jamie xx & Young Thug
When the tracklist for Jamie xx’s new album In Colour was first unveiled back in March, there was one particular track that caught our eye — “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times).” The song featured Atlanta artist Young Thug, whose style is much different than the sound usually heard from The xx electronic percussionist. The resulting tune is a pleasant mix of soulful instrumentals provided by Jamie xx, combined with Thugger’s signature vocals.
Brodinski & SD
Known for his heavy techno catalog, Brodinski surprised fans when he unveiled the lead single for his highly anticipated debut album Can’t Help Myself, which included a feature with Chicago’s GBE drill rapper, SD. The title track is an interesting blend of the French producer’s well-known psychedelic dance instrumentals with the Chicago rapper’s recognizable vocals.
A$AP Rocky & Rod Stewart
Although the next collaboration is a sample rather than a guest feature, it was still surprising to see these two names listed beside each on a track. With a leading track like “Pretty Flacko 2,” At.Long.Last.A$AP looked to bring A$AP Rocky’s Harlem roots, with its sound heavily reminiscent of his debut mixtape, Live. Love. ASAP. His newest track “Everyday,” which featured Miguel, Mark Ronson, and most surprisingly, Rod Stewart, is one of the best collaborations of the past few months. The decision was to incorporate the Rod Stewart sample was initially shocking to many, but has now added an irremovable element to the song’s hook.
Kanye West & Paul McCartney
Kanye West continously strives to mature his art, seeking out any qualified and reputable individual who can assist him in advancing his craft. From Bon Iver and Adam Levine, to Jamie Foxx and Charlie Wilson, Kanye will seek talent from across many genres to contribute to his tracks. However, it still surprises us to see who the creative visionary is working with. In the past year, names that have reportedly entered the studio with Kanye include popstars such as Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus. One particularly surprising name to appear was Sir Paul McCartney. The Beatles legend seldom collaborates with popular artists, but decided West was worthy of his time. Evidently, the rapport between the two was very good, as Sir Paul will be executive producer of Kanye’s new album SWISH.
Ta-ku & Jaden Smith
At first glance, a union between Jaden Smith and Ta-ku might be surprising to some. But if you dig a little bit deeper and do some research, you will soon find out that Jaden sister Willow laid their vocals over the instrumental of Ta-ku’s 2011 record “Glaciers,” which resulted in the impressive cut “5.” On top of that, the Smith siblings and the Australian beat architect exchanged kind words over social media, and it is safe to assume, that we will see more collaborations of that sort moving forward.
Chance The Rapper & Lido
During SXSW this March, Lido teased fans with a tweet hinting that he, Chance the Rapper and Towkio got the crowd going with a new collaborative joint that they performed during his set. Half a month later, the song “Heaven Only Knows” — which also featured Eryn Allen Kane — is unveiled via Towkio’s SoundCloud, and the track indeed proved to be one of the best collabs of the season. Not only was the track a musical masterpiece; it captured the unique characteristics of each artist to their fullest.