Back before he was signed in 2011, Ed Sheeran released an EP called No. 5 Collaborations Project, his fifth body of work, which featured grime artists like Devlin, Wiley, and P. Money. In a recent interview with Charlamagne Tha God, Sheeran even said that it’s one of his favorite projects he’s ever done.
Now, after earning major success and becoming one of today’s biggest stars in pop, Sheeran has the room to pretty much do whatever he wants. So why not have fun and return to one of the things he’s most proud of? Plus, with his current level of stardom, he has the potential to collaborate with artists of his caliber from just about any genre — including such big-name stars Bruno Mars, Camila Cabello, and Justin Bieber.
See Billboard‘s ranking of the 15 collaborations on No.6 below.
15. “Remember The Name” (feat. Eminem & 50 Cent)
If you’re on the lookout for a nostalgic track that’ll fly you right back to the early 2000s, look no further. “Remember The Name” enlists two of the biggest names in rap, who spit about their success over a throwback beat. “I climbed the Billboard charts to the top until/ As fate would have it, became an addict,” Eminem raps.
14. “Way to Break My Heart” (feat. Skrillex)
With the help of Skrillex’s production wizardry, this No.6 cut glistens and sonically encapsulates that gut-wrenching feeling of heartbreak.
13. “1000 Nights” (feat. Meek Mill & A Boogie Wit da Hoodie)
“1000 Nights” is a spacey cut assisted by two star rappers, Meek Mill and Boogie, who pen lyrics about their rock-star-on-the-road lifestyle: “I’ve been up for a thousand nights/ New York to London, different city every day, yeah.”
12. “Nothing On You” (feat. Paulo Londra & Dave)
Sheeran is back at it with another ode to his lady, this time featuring a glassy, futuristic beat and a Spanish verse courtesy of Argentinian rapper Paulo Londra.
11. “Blow” (with Chris Stapleton & Bruno Mars)
“Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran, two kings of pop. Why the hell did y’all do a rock record?” Charlamagne asked Sheeran in the interview. “Exactly that,” Sheeran responded. No one saw it coming, but the two kings, along with country star Stapleton — who wrote the riff — created a classic rock song. It’s never too late to try something new.
10. “Take Me Back To London” (feat. Stormzy)
It only makes sense for Sheeran to team up with fellow former Glastonbury headliner Stormzy for a love letter to London. The track was a big hit on social media, and at one point Sheeran even raps that his Divide tour grossed “half a billi,” which isn’t wrong.
9. “South of the Border” (feat. Camila Cabello & Cardi B)
In case “Blow” wasn’t enough of a surprise, “South of the Border” is another unexpected cut outside of Sheeran’s realm. Cabello rolls a couple of Spanish lines off her tongue, while Cardi suggests that Ed might have “a little jungle fever” in the Latin-tinged tune.
8. “Cross Me” (feat. Chance the Rapper & PnB Rock)
There’s something comforting about “Cross Me,” the song that takes a sample from PnB Rock’s 2017 XXL Freshman Cypher. Sheeran puts a subtle twist on the typical love song, this time defending his lady and letting everyone know that they’ll have to go through him to get to her. But perhaps what makes it extra heartening is Chance’s presence, a beloved father with a noted Disney obsession.
7. “Beautiful People” (feat. Khalid)
Sheeran has always been known as a pretty normal guy, and in “Beautiful People,” he wants you to know that. Khalid, who has a fair share of anthems for today’s youth in his own catalog, is also a perfect fit for this inspiring and relatable tune.
6. “Best Part of Me” (feat. Yebba)
After Sheeran co-signed powerhouse singer Yebba back in 2017, it makes sense that the two are working together. While there’s a ton of experimentation with different genres on this record, Yebba helps Sheeran revert back to his singer-songwriter roots for a warm song full of spine-tingling harmonies.
5. “I Don’t Want Your Money” (feat. H.E.R.)
“I don’t want your money/ You know I just want your time,” genre-splicing breakout star H.E.R. sings between Sheeran’s verses, creating a conversational back-and-forth. It’s a relatable lyric for most people, and with the artist born Gabi Wilson’s delivery, she naturally brightens it up, bringing a sultry edge to the track.
4. “Antisocial” (with Travis Scott)
“Antisocial” sees Sheeran being his classic, isolated self once again, but this time on a much more aggressive level that seems to give him a cooler edge. “Friday night and I’m ridin’ solo/ When I touch down, keep it on the low-low/ I don’t mess with your energy, no photos/ So antisocial, but I don’t care,” he sings over a beat that sounds like an outtake from Scott’s Astroworld.
3. “Feels” (feat. Young Thug & J Hus)
It’s no secret that Sheeran can write a hooky melody, and the percussive, hip-hop leaning beat in “Feels” leaves room for that skill in particular to shine. It’s a feverishly captivating tune that could easily be heard at parties as the night starts to wind down.
2. “Put It All on Me” (feat. Ella Mai)
Sometimes it’s best to keep it simple, as demonstrated by the reassuring “Put It All on Me.” A sparkling piano paves the way for English singer-songwriter Mai’s voice to shine as she supports Sheeran’s, creating a mesmerizing and hopeful song.
1. “I Don’t Care” (with Justin Bieber)
With its infectious melody and minimal instrumentation, “I Don’t Care” is perfectly Sheeran. Plus, pairing up the two newly-weds to sing a sweet ode to their partners has never felt more appropriate and genuine. It’s a song the world will always be able to dance to, because let’s face it: the most important thing is the people you’ve got around you.