Lana Del Rey’s Hip-Hop Connection Is Much Deeper Than Quavo

Today (July 3), Lana Del Rey linked up with Quavo to drop “Tough,” a new collaborative single. Del Rey — who is best known for ethereal, Americana-inspired music that typically has little to do with rap — doesn’t exactly live and breathe hip-hop. At least, that’s what you might believe if you haven’t been paying attention.

Yes, she usually collaborates with artists like Taylor Swift and Father John Misty, but the truth is that hip-hop has been an undercurrent of Del Rey’s career since pretty much the very start. To drive that point home, let’s go through a few highlights that illustrate Del Rey’s long-running connection to hip-hop.

2012 — “National Anthem”

The world met Del Rey on her debut major-label album, 2012’s Born To Die. The project spawned a number of singles, the most relevant one here being “National Anthem”: In the video, she plays Marilyn Monroe and Jacqueline Kennedy, while she recruited ASAP Rocky to portray John F. Kennedy.

2015 — “Art Deco”

It was rumored that this song was about Azealia Banks, but Del Rey herself shut that narrative down, saying in an interview, “Definitely not. I have no idea where people got that from. I just don’t know what the correlation is. That song is actually about a group of teenagers who go out every night.”

That didn’t stop the two from getting into a Twitter spat in 2018, though, during which Del Rey showed her teeth: She invited Banks to “pull up” and declared, “I won’t not f*ck you the f*ck up.”

2017 — ASAP Rocky

Del Rey reunited with her “National Anthem” co-star on a couple of occasions in 2017: Rocky featured on “Summer Bummer” (as did Playboi Carti) and “Groupie Love” from the Lust For Life album.

2021 — Chemtrails Over The Country Club

When Del Rey revealed the album’s cover in 2021, she received some push-back over the apparent lack of racial variety among the people featured in the art. In response, she wrote in part on social media, “My best friends are rappers, my boyfriends have been rappers…. My dearest friends have been from all over the place, so before you make comments again about a WOC/POC issue, I’m not the one storming the capital, I’m literally changing the world by putting my life and thoughts and love out there on the table 24 seven. Respect it.”

(Per Harper’s Bazaar, Del Rey’s dating history includes G-Eazy; He’s the only rapper listed, but perhaps Del Rey has had some other relationships go under the radar.)

2021 — Migos

Del Rey manifested her Quavo collab in 2021 when she named Migos as the artist she’d most like to work with, saying, “I love them. Everything they do. There was kind of like a new revolution of sound 11 years ago in the singer-songwriter community, which I loved seeing. And then with Migos, I think they kicked off a new super fun, super autobiographical, completely different style of rap. I love them.”

2024 — Sexyy Red

Lana got in a good hang with Sexyy Red at this year’s Hangout Festival: The two made some waves online with their joint twerk session.

2024 — Quavo

Del Rey and Quavo were at the center of some dating rumors a few months ago, but Quavo explained, “We having hits,” ultimately teeing up their new song and bringing this timeline to an end.