Remember, before the Internet, we used to hang out with fellow rap nerds in person and say, “Rapper X and MC Y would make the best collab EVER.” Then you’d hear them on a track and it sounded like ass?
Well, the trend of rappers teaming up for bland projects hasn’t wavered. Except now we take to social networks in isolated cases to voice our displeasure. So TSS takes it upon ourselves to collect a grip of lackluster features and posse cuts: bringing back that feeling of communal disappointment.
Prepare for massive eye-rolls and talks of what should’ve been. This post is an exercise of things sounding good on paper but rough on the ears.
1. Jay-Z Ft. Drake – “Off That”
The would be heir to the throne side by side with the still reigning king sounds like a fun Disney movie, but resulted in a meh Hip-Hop song. Instead of making and breaking trends effortlessly as he did throughout his legendary career, Jay used “Off That” to as a heat check of sorts, to see how much sway he held over the culture and it’s participants.
With Drake’s hook trying to turn listeners anti-Timberland boots, production that might turn listeners anti-Timbaland beats, and an unnecessarily adlib heavy verse from Jay, the trio deserves a mulligan to give the world the song everyone knows they’re capable of.
2. Outkast – “Mighty O”
Released three years after the critically acclaimed Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, Outkast fans were wide-eyed with glee when news leaked that the duo would be starring together in the feature film Idlewild, and reuniting to the accompanying soundtrack.
While those hopes were not totally dashed by the stylized film and soundtrack, neither project held up to the ATLiens’ mostly flawless catalog. The fact that both members of Outkast only appeared together on a handful of songs together (and those songs represented the soundtrack’s high points) compounded the disappointment associated with the project.
3. Big Sean Ft. Kanye West & Roscoe Dash – “Marvin Gaye and Chardonnay”
The name of “Marvin Gaye and Chardonnay” leads you to believe that it should be used to culture a sexy ambiance, but the mood of Big Sean’s song with Kanye and Roscoe Dash is anything but that. Peppered with some of Kanye’s most obnoxious of obnoxious adlibs, “Marvin Gaye…” shows just how Big Sean’s nice-guy demeanor can take him only so far.
4. Beyonce & Andre 3000 “Back to Black”
Beyonce and the reclusive Andre 3000. The combination of these two seems like it could break the internet, but this dud was quickly forgotten and absorbed into the black hole of the internet. B, bless her heart, has a tendency to over-sing some songs, and Andre’s portion of the cover of Amy Winehouse’s 2009 song left us thinking, ‘He came out of seclusion for this?’ While both are undeniably talented, they didn’t bring out the best in each other.
5. Snoop Dogg & Pharrell – “From Da Chuuch To Da Palace”
Before Snoop Lion was Snoop Lion, he linked up with Pharrell for “From Da Chuuch To Da Palace.” Compared to what these two were both capable of at the time, “From Da Chuuch…” was nondescript, falling in some forgotten corner or alley that wasn’t even in between said church and palace. Fortunately, they were able to redeem themselves years later with “Drop It Like It’s Hot.”
6. Pharrell Feat. Kanye West – “Number One”
Even the greatest of collaborators fall victim to the occasional dud. In the case of fellow superproducers/solo artists Pharrell and Kanye West, you just wouldn’t have thought they’d miss the mark on a track together. Such was the case for Skateboard P’s 2006 single “Number One,” which can only be described as the audio equivalent of a colorful Louis Vuitton man purse.
7. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Ft. Twista – “C-Town”
This track stumbles more because of expectations than anything else. Bone Thugs and Twista? Just match their vocals with an intimidating, satanic beat – the kind that makes one hang out in a cemetery, clutching a baseball bat, daring someone to f*ck with them – and you had an ode to late-90’s Bone. But no. Because we can’t have nice things, Neo Da Matrix handed the Thugs a more laid-back backdrop, and while it wasn’t bad in its own right, the beat – and song- did little to stand out amongst a pool of quality material. Put it this way: if you’re thumbing through your catalog of Bone Thugs songs, ‘C-Town’ isn’t making the cut.
8. Curren$y Ft. Snoop – “Seat Change”
Curren$y’s in regular mode, spitting a modest verse and quizzical chorus. It’s Snoop who couldn’t seem to get in step with the dizzying beat. We’ll blame this one a whole lot of weed interfering with the work.
9. Eminem Ft. Royce Da 5’9″ – “Bad Meets Evil”
*Yawn* Ever feel like a song is just pounding you upside the head with a lot of words that don’t carry a lot of weight? Yeah, that’s how “Bad Meets Evil” sounds as Em mails in his verse and Royce just rattles off syllables. When “Bad…” means the mundane.
10. Eminem Ft. 50 Cent and Nate Dogg – “Never Enough”
In 2004, Aftermath ran the rap game. Eminem and 50 Cent both had the Midas Touch, but even though this particular song was backed by a Nate Dogg hook and Dr. Dre beat, each element seemed separate from the rest, nothing ever gelling properly together.
For what seemed like a formidable union on paper, Slaughterhouse has turned out to be yet another ill-fated attempt at a rap “supergroup.” Rather than foster an engaging spirit of one-upmanship between four talented lyricists, the likes of which many a rap nerd were eagerly anticipating, Slaughterhouse has so far only managed to bring out the worst in its members – from poor songwriting and a lack of pop instincts to an overarching lack of identity.