Every Lady Gaga Collaboration, Ranked
Lady Gaga has long approached the art of vocal collaboration with a sense of abandon: She dives into duets headfirst, whether it be with her fellow pop divas (Beyonce, Christina Aguilera), radio-ready MCs (Flo Rida, T.I.) or a certain nonagenarian whose cheek got very cozy with her own a few years back. And while Gaga does not always rely on collaboration to further her work — 2011’s Born This Way featured zero guests sharing the microphone — her best team-ups have featured the pop superstar seamlessly meshing her sound alongside other artists worthy of her spotlight.
Ahead of her new album Joanne, which will feature a collaboration with Florence Welch, check out an exhaustive ranking of every Lady Gaga collaboration, from Top 20 smashes to little-known guest spots from before she found fame with The Fame.
13. “3-Way (The Golden Rule),” The Lonely Island featuring Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga
Found On: The Wack Album (2013)
Oof, remember this wacky ditty about threesome etiquette that resulted from the previously infallible Andy Samberg-Justin Timberlake SNL pairing? And how it features JT, Lady Gaga (for roughly 10 seconds) and precisely zero funny lines? As a digital short, this is worth replaying; as a song, not so much...
12. “Big Girl Now,” New Kids on the Block featuring Lady Gaga
Found On: The Block (2008)
This collaboration on NKOTB’s forgettable The Block finds Lady Gaga still forming her persona outside of “vaguely sexual pop singer,” although the depth and definition of her voice are perceptible even at this early stage. “Big Girl Now” belongs to only the most dedicated Little Monsters… or those curious to hear Gaga belt out “Spank me, daddy!” alongside Joey McIntyre.
11. “Christmas Tree” featuring Space Cowboy
Found On: Promotional Single (2008)
Is there a naughtier holiday single in modern pop history than “Christmas Tree”? Never released on an album but burned into our brains forever thanks to lyrics like “My Christmas tree’s delicious” and “The only place you’ll want to be / Is underneath my Christmas tree,” the Space Cowboy-featuring promo track ended Gaga’s breakout year with an R-rated wink. Consider “Christmas Tree” the sonic equivalent of spiked eggnog: not exactly fresh year-round, but a fun throw-in for your adults-only Christmas party.
10. “Chillin’,” Wale featuring Lady Gaga
Found On: Attention: Deficit (2009)
Lady Gaga’s first foray into straightforward hook-singing, Wale’s “Chillin’” actually holds up pretty well… although mostly due to Cool & Dre’s Steam-sampling production and Wale’s quotable introductory verses (“I remain a giant and you Jeremy Shockey!” feels like a line from approximately one million years ago for NFL fans). In truth, Gaga sounds bored here, given little to do as a guest in someone else’s musical world.
9. “Do What U Want” featuring Christina Aguilera
Found On: Promotional Single (2013)
A kicky reworking that possibly resulted from another round of controversy for R. Kelly’s public image at the end of 2013, the Xtina-laden “Do What U Want” doesn’t add much to the original, despite Christina Aguilera’s pristine vocals admirably hitting every melisma (and adding some new ones, too). Their duet on The Voice is a must-watch, but the re-recording of Gaga’s ARTPOP single is not quite as inspired.
8. “Starstruck” featuring Space Cowboy and Flo Rida
Found On: The Fame (2008)
Never let yourself forget that Lady Gaga and Flo Rida have a song together! With Gaga rapping in Auto-Tune (it was 2008, the year of 808s & Heartbreak, after all) and lines like “Baby, now that we’re alone, got to request / Would you make me number one on your playlist?,” “Starstruck” is a delightfully dated album cut off The Fame. It’s probably for the best that “Starstruck” didn’t get a radio push instead of “Poker Face” or “Paparazzi,” but for the kitsch factor alone, it’s worth a re-listen.
7. “Video Phone (Remix),” Beyonce featuring Lady Gaga
Found On: I Am… Sasha Fierce: The Bonus Tracks EP
Although not quite as essential as “Telephone” (more on that later), “Video Phone” once again corralled Beyonce and Lady Gaga together and let them gleefully breathe, groan and croon innuendoes for five minutes. Bangladesh’s layered production still beguiles and the music video remains a fashionable YouTube artifact, but the Gaga-enhanced “Video Phone” remix is far from the showstopper of its counterpart, and sounds like just that — a remix.
6. “Jewels N’ Drugs” featuring Twista, T.I. and Too $hort
Found On: ARTPOP (2013)
Kicking off with a T.I. verse over a crackling trap beat, “Jewels N’ Drugs” sounds like it belongs on a different planet than the rest of ARTPOP — which was sort of the point of the ultra-experimental 2013 album. Gaga sounds like a little out of place alongside the rap triumvirate’s respective contributions, to say the least, but “Jewels N’ Drugs” simmers effectively, and credit Gaga for trying her hand at a sound wholly outside her realm without falling on her face.
5. “The Lady is a Tramp,” Tony Bennett featuring Lady Gaga
Found On: Duets II (2011)
The precursor to their full-length collaboration Cheek To Cheek, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga’s 2011 update to the 1937 showtune displayed the chemistry between the pair as the lead to Bennett’s Duets II album. Gaga’s theatrical delivery and showy interjections fit snugly next to Tony’s finger-snapping polish, and in hindsight, it’s no wonder why the two stars decided to link up for a more in-depth project.
4. “Just Dance” featuring Colby O’Donis
Found On: The Fame (2008)
It feels strange to consider Lady Gaga’s debut single as a collaboration, since Colby O’Donis’ presence on the track is so muted, but collaboration it is, as Gaga defers to her label mate two-thirds into her breakout. Pro-tip for Colby O’Donis newbies: check out his Akon-assisted 2008 track “What You Got,” which hit the Top 20 a few months before “Just Dance” turned a previously unknown Lady Gaga into a star.
3. Cheek To Cheek
Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett album (2014)
Following ARTPOP's wild array of styles and mixed reviews, Lady Gaga went back to basics for a collection of standards with Tony Bennett… and the move successfully reminded casual listeners that Gaga’s voice can shine when removed from pretense or gimmickry. Bennett plays off Gaga’s vocal power nicely, but Gaga wisely cedes the floor to the legend on many of the album’s key moments, and deserves credit for her subtle approach to tracks like “Anything Goes” and “Sophisticated Lady.” Will there ever be a Cheek To Cheek II? Maybe, maybe not, but at least we have one collection to showcase a different Gaga than we’ve heard on her solo projects.
2. “Do What U Want” featuring R. Kelly
Found On: ARTPOP (2013)
No matter what you thought of ARTPOP or even its lead single “Applause,” follow-up single “Do What U Want” with R. Kelly remains one of Gaga’s most exhilarating singles to date, with two vocal powerhouses trading imperative statements over a throbbing R&B arrangement. Don’t let the misguided (and ultimately scrapped) Terry Richardson music video deter you, or the controversy surrounding R. Kelly at the time distract you -- “Do What U Want” was a Top 20 hit, but it should have been even bigger.
1. “Telephone” featuring Beyonce
Found On: The Fame Monster (2009)
Originally written for Britney Spears, “Telephone” remains Lady Gaga’s most dynamic duet — and arguably the most compelling pop star team-up of the '00s. The second single from The Fame Monster continued the momentum of “Bad Romance,” and whereas that smash found Gaga bending pop to meet her singular style, “Telephone” received an A-game performance from Bey (in a rare supporting turn!) and utilized Darkchild’s glitzy production as a fulcrum for two huge personalities to seesaw. A Lady Gaga/Beyonce collaboration was always going to be an event, but “Telephone” still knocks as a nuanced electro-pop banger.