Granted, there’s a fiery, fictitious list of big names that Hip Hop heads would just love to see twirl chords — Nas and Pun, Big L and Em and so forth— but forget not those less mentioned yet uniquely able to complement each other as they spar upon turning tables.
D’you ever stroll about in a particular mental groove that has you subconsciously listening to only a handful of different emcees? Everybody has their own dream teams in rap, but here’s the collabs that would be something especially innovative though as unlikely nonetheless.
5. eMC & De La Soul
A team of seasoned spitters with a broad yet sharp focus on life’s dabbles and complexions, eMC and De La Soul both bring their own unique take on down-to-earth lyricism. They put a spin on the all-too-real circumstances with a touch of empathy and humor, with each of the five rappers possessing their own flavor and poetical edge. The charisma of Stricklin and Posdnuos blends smoothly with the laid back flows of Masta Ace and Dave, whilst Wordsworth whirlwinds a display of multi and internal rhyme schemes.
De La and eMC thrive at conceptual albums, having depicted scenarios from rising up as a pop-duo struggling to make it big (Plug 1 & Plug 2 Present… First Serve), to almost performing on ‘Jimmy ‘Fallon’s’ late night show (The Tonite Show, eMC). Both groups draw creatively like none other on the ball-aches of daily life. Stricklin airs his frustrations with the inconveniences in his career as a paramedic whilst Ace digs on desperate social media tykes on ‘Stoopid’.
De La have always been noted for their clever and engaging approach to relatable tales of chasing girls (‘Betta Listen’, ‘Jennifer Taught Me’) and embracing the dying daises of life.
This would be a collab for the contemporary realist that appreciates a witty insight or two.
4. MindsOne & Common Market
If you don’t know these guys then your days going forward are about to get a little brighter. A couple of criminally underrated duos, MindsOne and Common Market can do a lot for your general well-being as well as your listening enjoyment. Whilst musically diverse in their own ways, both come correct with fresh flows and beats to have you reevaluating your entire iPod library.
MindsOne have shown incredible development over the years, with rhymers KonSci and Tronic spitting original perceptions since the early 2000s. Linking with the likes of Kev Brown, L’Orange and Oddisee in recent history, MindsOne have an exciting future to follow an already impressive excursion.
Their treasurable LP, Self Reliance, strolls you through the whimsical cul-de-sacs of urban culture, navigating through lessons on economic oppression, troubled childhoods, and above all, depending on yourself. Through uplifting and empowering lyricism, MindsOne direct their listeners inwards to overcome the hardships to be encountered in all walks of life.
As members of the Bahá’í Faith, RA Scion and Sabzi crossed paths through mutual contacts on their spiritual paths. Their music caught the attention of KRS-One, who praised them for supporting and leading in the movement of conscious Hip Hop. He subsequently took them on the road with him for his Temple of Hip Hop tour.
Common Market dropped Tobacco Road in 2008, where Scion provides an exuberant delivery of poetry upon instrumentals that flourish like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. A truly beautiful coupling of talents beyond human comprehension, set forward to enrich the everyday lives of all who open their ears to them.
These guys bring music that reaches further, shining through both technical proficiency and conceptual radiance that has listeners looking nowhere but at themselves for elevation.
3. Pete Rock & Digable Planets
Although Digable Planets’ recording career ended over two decades ago, the group are still carrying their classics around the globe for European tours to this day.
Petestrumentals 2, the latest PR beat-tape, evidences Rock’s longevity and further tops the legendary layer cake his career resembles. I mean, the way he flipped Curtis Mayfield’s The Makings Of You for Jay and Kanye’s The Joy was touching.
So how about a 12-track EP, surging the revival of the velvet rap/jazz combination explored in the early 90s? I hear Pete Rock’s sublime touch blending for the tranquil aroma that Digable Planets captured brilliantly on their two LPs whilst Doodlebug, Butterfly and Ladybug Mecca weave gracefully through Pete Rock’s soulful instrumentals.
With soft-spoken rhymes from the smoothest trio in Hip Hop, and the distantly charming tones of one of New York’s most experimental and respected producers, it’s easy to imagine why these guys would make such a wonderful combination.
2. Nujabes & Oddisee
Oddisee, a humbly tenacious and talented musician, has shown remarkable efforts over his young recording career. His message on the mic is often metaphysical, serene and thorough. You feel the sun rays that bit much more with Oddisee, and his production though astonishing, never detracts from his lyrical offering.
Nujabes created melodies that whispered through mineral springs and illuminated the walkways of enchanting lily gardens, all residing within the soul of his every listener. An out-of-body sense of profundity with inspiriting music to over-stand the rolling waves of time.
Both take an intricate and heartfelt approach to their production, and Oddisee’s powerful and insightful writing is perfect for those times when it’s more about blessing a beat than ‘killing’ it.
Sadly, Nujabes’ untimely passing means such a collaboration will never exist, though perhaps something for the remixers out there to consider?
1. Deltron 3030, GZA & Killah Priest
This one’s a little makeshift, but damn would these three cause a cosmic whirlwind. GZA has always been exalted for his compelling imagery and dense metaphors, and with the Genius flipping it science-style on his next record, Dark Matter, he’d make the perfect accomplice for this collaboration of outer-region wordsmiths.
Fellow Wu-Tang affiliate Killah Priest excels also in conceptualizing his love for what lies beyond sight. Since his feature on Liquid Swords, he’s been held in high-regard in all aspects of his game. His 2013 album, The Psychic World Of Walter Reed, solidified his status as an astronomical lyricist. Far from your average bundle of NY street talk, the double disc album is a momentous flight through what you assumed could only be seen through a NASA telescope or a gypsy’s crystal ball.
As a pioneer in the sci-fi/Hip Hop fusion, Del Tha Funky Homosapien, Dan the Automator and Kid Koala guided you through the flickering streetlights of a dystopian metropolis when Deltron 3030 debuted in the year 2000. Del’s charismatic and colorful rhymes delivered each dense description with powerful spirit and crisp enunciation.
With Dan the Automator and Kid Koala providing the backdrop, Del, GZA and Killa Priest would go to work on the world as you know it, having you double-taking for flying saucers after sixteen bars. A sci-fi lovers dream of extraterrestrial rhymers, who needs cinema when you can close your eyes and listen to one of these three.