It’s pretty common for artists, specifically rappers and big name pop stars, to join forces on one track or another, thereby harnessing their collective creative and popular forces and channeling those forces towards the chart-topping greater good. But these collaborations are never really a surprise. Young Thug makes an entire mixtape with his Atlanta neighbor and mentor Gucci Mane, David Byrne and Saint Vincent link up on the strength of their hair alone, and Ty Dolla $ign and the Weeknd both like to have sex. Sometimes unlikely collaborations are bad—just ask Method Man and Limp Bizkit—but at least they’re interesting. So, in the pursuit of interesting, here are ten collabs we’d like to see in the near future that probably won’t happen.
It’s been more than a year since Chance dropped his game-changing Acid Rap mixtape, but he hasn’t really gone anywhere, because he’s been making ’90s kids cry at festivals and showing up on everyone else’s tracks—like showcasing his romantic side with Maipei and getting 10 Day-goofy with Sulaiman. Hannah Diamond has pretty much become the face of gooey compu-pop label PC Music, embodying a childish wide-eyedness in her pitched-up croon-squeak. They both have vocal styles that refuse to sit still, so putting them together will probably result in beautiful, insane cranial chaos.
Ryan Hemsworth does cool stuff when he’s alone, but he works well in pairs. Like when he makes oddball lullabies with Starlito or lends a squishy, clinical beat to Tinashe’s bedroom-eyes croon. Hemsworth should team up with Chicago’s Jean Deaux because she has an effortless, minimal vocal style that would snuggle nicely against Hemsworth’s natural inclination for a good paranoid beat.
Antwon raps like his tongue is swollen from crying and Craft Spells does bedroom pop like he’s perpetually stuck under the sheets, so I think if you put them together, it’ll sound like a kind of sad monster haunting your dreams. Hey Antwon, can you start by just rapping over this?
Alex G’s angst-pop might be a little less shiny and crystallized than Saint Pepsi’s futuristic rom-com soundtracks, but the amount of hormone-y emotions that could emerge from their collaborative musical creation might be untouchable. Also I think they could be friends?
When Dev Hynes remixed Lana Del Rey’s Born To Die hit Blue Jeans two years ago, it moved from really terrifying to jangly piano shake in three minutes. The recent LDR missive Ultraviolence is generally just a better album than Born To Die, but instead of going the remix route, Hynes and Del Rey should write and record a new song together so that Dev’s tropical glam rubs off on Lana’s mascara-running seriousness.
The Weeknd literally never sings about anything other than sex. He sings about it often. Sharon Van Etten’s recent album, Are We There, is a gentle, nostalgic and often sad look at the end of a relationship. It’s like a last-ditch night of spooning in sonic form. Both artists have impressive, intimate voices—and maybe a collaboration would lend some balance to their subject matter.
Ahhh, what, I dunno, this would be so cool! Because they’re both young New York rappers who play with a nostalgic boom-bap flow, people (including Nehru himself) like to pit them against each other in some kind of imaginary battle of rap wits, but wouldn’t it be better for everyone if they just teamed up?
Young Thug is currently responsible for one of the strangest rap songs of the year: the goofy, lopsided OMG. Sufjan Stevens has a song about serial killer John Wayne Gacy in which he whisper-sings, “Oh my god,” in a haunting way that will stick with you even if you haven’t listened to John Wayne Gacy Jr. in three to five years. Together: something ecclesiastical and deeply weird.
Noname Gypsy is, for my money, one of the best rappers in the game right now, but she’s flying under the radar like nobody’s business. Kilo Kish’s sharp croon will work well against Noname’s intellectual flow, and maybe more people will start to take notice.
How would Samuel T. Herring sound Auto-Tuned? Probably crazy. They can call it Future Future Islands.