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Unexpected Collaborations That Work

Last week Talib Kweli announced on Twitter that he’d done a song with bling-happy rapper Gucci Mane. A blogger who follows him declared the collaboration to be “the end of conscious rap.” Well I believe that Gucci and his audience need to hear from Kweli. Sometimes unlikely collaborations predictably flop and other times they are pleasant surprises. I decided to make a list of unusual collaborations that turned out good.

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1. Meshell Ndegeocello and John Mellencamp’s “Lonely Night.”

Ndegeocello was already known for bringing the funk and Mellencamp had history as an ’80’s rock icon. No one would’ve expected these two to get together and cover Van Morrison’s song. At the time when people asked Meshell about this track she said that “Everyone needs some of the funk.”

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2. Michael Jackson and Mick Jagger “State Of Shock.”

Michael recorded this song originally with Freddie Mercury but the Mick Jagger version was released. This was the biggest song from The Jacksons’ Victory album. How cool is that Michael and Mick were able to sound good on this song being themselves?

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3. Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney “Say Say Say.”

Michael and Paul also did “The Girl Is Mine” but “Say Say Say” is my favorite. After this recording Michael was able to say he had hit songs with a Rolling Stone and a Beatle.

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4. Nas and Damian Marley Distant Relatives.

Most people like me thought the sum of these two people would be very boring and pretentious. They surprised us by recording an album of inspired songs about life. And they can say they made Lil’ Wayne rap about something worthwhile for a change and that in itself is rare.

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5. Aerosmith and Run DMC “Walk This Way.”

When this happened MTV had an orgasm because it combined demographics and made it easier for them to stomach rap. But it’s cool because both bands had mutual respect for each other and you can hear it.

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