Friday, April 20, 2007
The Featurings Game: Explanation
Nobody ever mentions it, but I'm pretty damn sure that rap is the most collaborative genre of popular music, at least insofar as collaborations between separate acts/entities/whatever. You never see a rock record where a third of the songs has some other random-ass singer on them (unless it's some kind of ridiculous Duets album). In fact, collaborations are SO commonplace in rap that we hip-hop heads are actually so spoiled as to complain about albums that have too many guests on them. I mean, I complain about it too, but you've gotta admit it sounds silly when you think about it.
Anyway, ya'll know the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game, yes? For quite a long time (longer than I'll admit) I've been toying with the idea of a similar game, where two rappers are named and then I see, through features/groups/etc, how many songs it takes to connect them. So I thought it'd be a fun little thing to do here.
The rules are as follows: First of all, no connections because one rapper produced a song for another, they have to have rapped together. (The exception is if it's said producer's actual album, because the other rapper is still a featured guest.) It also doesn't count if one rapper's voice was sampled on another rapper's track, or if one rapper did a cover of another's track. Just collaborations or groups... maybe members of the same extended crew, we'll see as we go. I'll do my best to make the connections just off the top of my head, without researching it, but there are a few tiny gaps in my knowledge, (mainly involving rappers I really don't like) so we'll see.
As for your part, try to pick two who are very divergent either in terms of eras, geography, subject matter, etc, so that it'll be a challenge. But don't go picking some little underground person who only made one single and never collaborated (although, Kid Hood's single verse on record is enough to connect him to anyone) 'cause that ain't fair, but most anyone is allowed. Be creative, the more wild the combination the more I'll probably enjoy it.
I'm going to allow anyone, even someone who isn't on Blogger, to comment--hopefully we won't get a shitload of spam. So just sound off in the comments with any good pairs you can think of, I'll try to address any that are worth addressing, but if there are already a bunch maybe hold off for the next post and comment then. For today, I'm gonna just do a simple example to get the ball rolling, so without further ado:
T.I. and Big Daddy Kane
These two have been in my mind because of Noz's recent comparison, I'm not sure I agree, but I see his point. Both are good looking, charismatic rappers who can get the female audience, but they can also each be lyrical monsters. One's from Atlanta and one's from Brooklyn, and their respective eras are very different, so I thought it'd be a neat little challenge at least for a start. I connected the King of the South and King Asiatic in three (off the top of my head that is, it's possible it could be done in less).
Step 1: T.I.P. & Beanie Sigel - "Two Glock 9s"
Shaft Soundtrack, 2000
Before his first record, when he was first called T.I.P., a young T.I. did this fun, violent song with Beanie Sigel (originally found here) on the Shaft soundtrack. I wish I knew what brought about this collabo in the first place.
Step 2: Jay-Z - "Where Have You Been" featuring Beanie Sigel
The Dynasty: Roc La Familia, 2000
Obviously it isn't hard to find a track where Beanie Sigel and Jay-Z work together, but this incredibly personal and haunting song from that Roc-A-Fella showcase album is by far my favorite example. When Sigel gets so overcome with emotion that he has trouble getting through his bars, the effect is incredible. Not every song with kids on the hook has to be "Hard Knock Life" or "I Can".
Step 3: Big Daddy Kane - "Show & Prove" featuring Big Scoob, Jay-Z, ODB, Sauce Money & Shyheim
Daddy's Home, 1994
From one of Kane's not so successful attempts at a comeback album (although with a great cover) this posse cut features a pre-fame, pre-slow flow Jay-Z who pretty much jacks Das EFX's style. The future "greatest rapper alive" doesn't come off very well, but maybe that's why Big Scoob opens the song--to make everyone else look good.
So that's that, comments please.