Simply put, the art of collaboration continues to push music forward. With the lines between genres blurred, artists of various musical backgrounds teaming up puts a refreshing twist on their latest output.
A pair of monstrous joint albums dropped on Friday (June 28). Latin superstars Bad Bunny and J. Balvin collided for OASIS, an eight-track party filled with commercial appeal. The highly anticipated Bandana also arrived, which saw Freddie Gibbs dishing out gems over soulful Madlib production.
Fans have a great time coming up with and later salivating at the thought of potential collab ideas, even though most have no chance of ever getting off the ground. Sometimes collaboration produces magic, but other times, both parties would have been better off never getting in the studio together.
Here are the top six collaborative albums spanning all genres.
6. Lou Reed & Metallica — Lulu (2011)
Lulu would end up being Lou Reed‘s final full-length effort prior to his death in 2013. Reed had no plans to collaborate with the legendary rock band until performing with Metallica at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 25th Anniversary Concert in 2009. The effort was met with polarizing reviews and debuted at No. 36 — Reed’s highest charting work since 1974 — on the Billboard 200 following its Halloween 2011 release. Lulu also drew high praise from the late David Bowie, who called the effort the Velvet Underground star’s masterpiece, according to Reed’s wife.
5. Faith Hill & Tim McGraw — The Rest of Our Life (2017)
The quintessential couple of country music. While in the midst of their Soul2Soul: The World Tour, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill came together to release their first joint album in Nov. of 2017, more than 20 years after tying the knot. The Rest of Our Life would serve as Hill’s first studio effort since her 2008 Christmas album, Joy to the World. The collab project finds McGraw and Hill exchanging sappy love tales in grown-up fashion. TROOL also notched an impressive debut at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, moving 104,000 album equivalent units in first-week sales.
4. Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett — Cheek to Cheek (2014)
Lady Gaga refuses to be boxed in when it comes to her artistry. After cementing herself as one of this century’s pop darlings, Gaga pivoted in another creative direction to show off her wide-ranging ability. The NYC native originally met Tony Bennett at a fundraising event in the Big Apple, and once they recorded a cover to “The Lady is a Tramp,” the pair decided it was all systems go toward a jazz album. Gaga went back to her classical roots to flex her monstrous vocal chops, which were effortlessly accented by 92-year-old Bennett and luscious instrumentation. Cheek to Cheek would take home Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards.
3. The Carters — EVERYTHING IS LOVE (2018)
The long-awaited joint project everyone had been yearning for dropped out of the sky and into our speakers last June during Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s OTR II Tour. Hov invades R&B instrumentals and Beyoncé returns the favor by uncovering a hidden rapping prowess with ease. EVERYTHING IS LOVE finds America’s first family exploring themes of marriage, race, generational wealth, fame, and more. The effort has aged like fine wine, even though it may have received the proper moment it deserved in 2018, which came during a cluttered time for music releases. The Carters’ debut earned Best Urban Contemporary Album at the Grammy Awards and had two singles up for nominations as well.
2. Drake & Future — What A Time to Be Alive (2015)
Future had already completed the 2015 three-peat with the Monster and 56 Nights mixtapes leading into his first No. 1 album, DS2. On the other hand, Drake was just starting to realize his potential as a streaming darling and global phenomenon that had the pulse of the music game at his fingertips.
What a Time to Be Alive arrived at the perfect time and quickly drew commercial fame, as some even attempted to have the project square up with Kanye West and Jay-Z’s magnum opus of Watch The Throne from a few years prior. Hits like “Big Rings” and “Jumpman” were born, the latter of which peaked at No. 12 on the Hot 100, and Future and Drake would embark on the Summer Sixteen tour together to tear down arenas the following year.
1. Kanye West & Jay-Z – Watch the Throne (2011)
When two artists at the peak of their powers link up, there’s no telling what they’re capable of together. With Kanye getting his start supplying fire beats for Jay-Z as a Roc-A-Fella signee, it was only right the pair of rap heavyweights collided for a joint project. But this time, the pupil was seasoned enough to go toe-to-toe with “Big Brother,” which brought the best out of one another.
From the iconic album artwork to the brash, decadent lyrical themes, esteemed guest list, and recording around the globe, the Throne would set the standard for what a pristine rap album should embody at the highest of levels. Everything about Watch The Throne exudes a boastful opulence, even if the Roc Nation boss and West navigated different paths in getting to the finish line.