For over two decades, Mariah Carey has been knocking out hits and keeping her name relevant. Whether it’s with her sheer beauty or knack for hitting the high notes, this ageless superstar has seen music evolve more-so than most female vocalists in any genre. However, while many of her recent R&B counterparts have gained success from catering their tunes specifically to a Hip-Hop audience by collaborating with rappers, most of them wouldn’t even be around if weren’t for Mimi headlining that urban crossover style in the first place.
So, to shine some light on the influence Mariah’s had on the industry, TSS has compiled 20 of the best collaborations this famed NY singer has done with MCs over her illustrious career. Having helped everyone from Jay-Z to ODB and Snoop to Ice Cube, you can’t say her impact isn’t impressive.
Busta Rhymes feat. Mariah Carey & The Flipmode Squad – “I Know What You Want”
To this day Busta should still be thanking both Mariah Carey and Rick Rock for this 2002 single. With the underrated Bay Area producer offering maybe his best beat ever and the R&B queen killing her call & response hook, this was the track that made fans forget about the “Woo-Haa” version of Rhymes and got the Flipmode founder more radio love than ever.
Mariah Carey Feat. Jadakiss & Styles P – “We Belong Together” (DJ Clue Remix)
When Mariah returned with her 10th album Emancipation of Mimi in 2005, you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing the original version of “We Belong Together.” Surprisingly though, this uptempo, DJ Clue-produced remix to the double platinum single never really got many spins outside of Hot 97, which is odd considering how flawless Carey comes across atop this break-beat with two-thirds of The Lox.
Mariah Carey Feat. Mobb Deep – “The Roof” (Remix)
Dark, gloomy and chilling are the words that come to mind upon hearing this remix to Mariah’s Butterfly single. Sampling a then less-mainstream “Shook Ones 2” and bringing the QB rhymers into the fold for a few bars towards the end of the track, this unappreciated gem had both sexes stuck off the realness.
Krayzie Bone Feat. Mariah Carey & Da Brat – “I Still Believe”
There aren’t many artists that can turn a song from Willy Wonka & The Charlie Factory into a legit hip-hop single, but on “Still Believe” Mariah used her range to do just that. What makes it even better is that the smooth single sits amidst tracks like “Dummy Man” and Heated Heavy” on Krayzie’s Thug Mentality solo debut, giving the double-album a well-rounded sound.
Mariah Carey Feat. Jay-Z – “Heartbreaker”
If you go back to 1999, “Heartbreaker” was one of those radio songs that got played so much you began to loathe it, even if you secretly loved the bounce. On top of that, this Stacey Latisaw recreation also helped Jigga Man break into the mainstream market he’d end up owning years later.
Jay-Z Feat. Mariah Carey – “Things That You Do”
Returning the favor for the previous entry, Mariah helped out a “new & improved” Jay-Z on this Swizzy-produced, flute-friendly collabo, which might even be more forgotten than the album it came from, Life & Times of S. Carter Vol. 3. Say what you want about the track as a whole, you can’t front on Hov’s coming-of-age lyrics.
Mariah Carey Feat. Snoop Dogg – “Crybaby”
With all the hype surrounding Snoop Dogg back when this collabo dropped in 1999, there’s a good chance many rap heads rocked out to this sensual single from Mariah, despite its obvious R&B lean. That gangster whistle never sounded so smooth.
Jadakiss Feat. Mariah Carey – “U Make Me Wanna”
First of all, Kiss Of Death is an underrated album. Secondly, despite this Scott Storch-produced single from Jada and Mariah doing fairly well on the charts back in 2004, its staying power since has been almost completely null, which is a shame considering how well-rounded of a record Mr. Raspy and MiMi concocted.
Mariah Carey Feat. Cam’Ron – “Boy (I Need You)”
Looking to add some timely flavor to her 2002 Charmbracelet LP, this Just Blaze-produced single obviously got its inspiration from Killa’s “Oh Boy.” Despite the unoriginality, the song still managed to stay in radio rotation and helped spread the spotlight on everyone involved.
Mariah Carey Feat. Ludacris, Da Brat, Shawnna, Twenty II & Cameo – “Loverboy” (Remix)
One of the main themes behind Mariah’s formula has always been recreating classic R&B and funk jams. But what made this “Candy” remake with DTP so dope was that she actually reached out and got Cameo on the outro. Classy move.
Mariah Carey Feat. Westside Connection – “Irresistible”
What, you didn’t realize WC and Mariah appeared on the same song together? Well, when the Madd Circle leader’s other group got together with Mimi for this Charmbracelet album cut, it was Left Coast all day as the odd couple added some updated flavor to Cube’s “You Know How We Do It.” Oh, and hearing Mimi redo the classic female-vocal part from the OG? Awesome.
Jermaine Dupri Feat. Mariah Carey – “Sweetheart”
Considering the time period and chart-topping ability of these two hit-makers, we’re not quite sure how this 1998 single from JD’s Life In 1472 album never cracked the Billboard charts in 1998, especially with Hype Williams behind the lens for the video. Whatever happened to those guys, anyways?
Mariah Carey Feat. Young Jeezy – “Side Effects”
One the most current tracks on the list, this synthed-out banger from 2008 found Mariah capitalizing on The Snowman’s star-power to help her timeless appeal entertain a new generation of fans. Although it didn’t leave the charts spinning like she had hoped, it was still one of the few highlights off her rather bland offering, E=MC².
Twista Feat. Mariah Carey – “So Lonely”
When Twista and Mariah combined forces for this single from the Chi-Town MC, fans just assumed the NY-born singer would uphold the Midwest fast-flow. Luckily for everyone, she did just that. Kicking a bit of double-time spit into her hook, Carey’s versatile chops helped the track stand out amidst a bunch of mediocrity on The Day After, and even earned a lil’ radio love to boot.