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ONTD Original: Best Rap/R&B Collaborations of the 1990s

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In the 1990s, we had some of the best Rap and R&B artists, with some of those great artists coming together making some of the best collaborations we've may heard. Below is a list (in no order) of mine and most likely some of your favorites.

Regulate (1994) - Warren G featuring Nate Dogg


First appearing on the 'Above the Rim' soundtrack, Regulate became a breakout song for both artist. With lyrics being describes as "a surreal pastiche of half-sung lyrics about fighting and fucking", it can see why this iconic song went #1 on Rap Singles, #2 on the Hot 100 charts and lasting impression on the rap game.

FYI – 'Regulate' sampled Michael McDonald's 'I Keep Forgettin' (Every time I'm Near You)' and is Def Jam records biggest single


All I Need (1995) - Method Man featuring Mary J. Blige

This collaboration needs not many words to show that its not only one of the best collabs but one of the best hip-hop songs ever made. With Wu-Tang alum Method Man and 'Queen of Hip-Hop Soul' Mary J. Blige coming together on the Trackmasters production and help from Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell's 'You're All I Need to Get By', this timeless classic still stands the time.

FYI – It went to #1 on both the Rap and R&B Billboard Single charts and went to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Fantasy (Remix) (1995)– Mariah Carey featuring Ol’ Dirty Bastard

I think the everyone loves the original Fantasy song but when you put the ODB on the Puff Daddy produced remix (which includes sampling Tom Tom Club's 'Genius of Love'), the song goes to whole another level. Mariah's record label at the time (Columbia) was very uncertain with the Wu-Tang member on the track and were scared it would hurt her record sales for 'Dreamlover' but obviously they were wrong and the rest is...

FYI -With the collaboration, Mariah is credited for introducing hip-hop genre to the mainstream pop culture with the remix. Her friend the Da Brat agrees and says: All the new R&B and younger pop artists should worship the ground Mariah walks on because she paved the way in so many different ways by trying different things that the world didn't necessarily agree with, she adds. And that's what these new artists lack -- they lack appreciation, and they lack respect.

Still Not a Player (1998)– Big Pun featuring Joe

Coming from his debut album 'Capital Punishment' The late Big Pun had his biggest hit of his career with Still Not a Player where it hit #24 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #6 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. With R&B crooner Joe and samples of Brenda Russell's 'A Little Bit of Love' made of the best hip songs of 1998.

FYI – Joe talking with Hiphopdx of the song: The ‘Still Not A Player’ record was kinda funny because I had ‘Don’t Wanna Be A Player’ as my single at the time. And Pun had, I think, a similar record too, Joe said. “I’m not sure what it was called, but anyways the two songs were so similar we just sat down and chopped it up and was like ‘Yo, we should just merge the two.’

Whatta Man (1993) - Salt-N-Pepa featuring En Vogue

With a new spin on Linda Lyndell's 1968 song 'What a Man', the 1993 version produced by Salt-N-Pepa long time producer Hurby "Luv Bug" Azor including the talented vocals of En Vogue peaked #3 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts.

FYI – Tupac and Treach (from Naughty by Nature and Pepa's future ex-husband) appear in the video.

Got 'till it's Gone (1997)– Janet Jackson featuring Q-Tip

From her sixth album 'Valet Rope', the song accounts Janet's 'struggle with depression and intimacy'. With help from friends/producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, they were able to put together a song that expressed the inner turmoil of her feelings. Also Got 'till it's Gone was her entrance into the alternative hip-hop sound departing from her more polished pop appeal. The song includes elements of rap and R&B but also folk, pop, jazz, neo soul and downtempo. Then with great lyrics from A Tribe Called Quest's Q-Tip and samples of Joni Mitchell's 'Big Yellow Taxi', making this one of Janet's best song.

FYI – Not only was the song a hit but the video (where Janet Jackson performing at a club during apartheid) was as well. Directed by Mark Romanek, the video won for Best Short Form Music Video at the Grammy's.
Here is the video with Mark, Joni and Janet discussing the video:



If I Ruled the World (Imagine That) (1996) - Nas featuring Lauryn Hill

A song by many publications as the 'best rap song ever', 'If I Ruled the World' was first song that got Nas noticed into the mainstream. With help from the soulful Fugees's songstress Lauryn Hill, production from the Trackmasters and Kurtis Blow song of the same name, it became Nas first song to go into the Top 20 R&B hit.
FYI – Nas discusses the making of 'If I Ruled the World':



I Wanna Be Down (Remix) (1994)– Brandy featuring MC Lyte, Yo-Yo & Queen Latifah

This iconic collaboration first came from Atlantic Records head Sylvia Rhone who 'came up with the idea of re-recording the track' with rappers Lyte, Yo-Yo and Queen. The single went to #1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Chart.

FYI - Brandy says of the remix in 2012: The hip-hop remix meant the world to me, I’m fresh out of the box and these superstars are a part of my first single! They are my mentors and I looked up to them. I was a huge Queen Latifah fan. I’m thinking, Oh my God…I can’t believe this is happening to me. I got the chance to vibe with all three of them. They embraced me as a little sister. I was one of the first R&B artists to welcome hip-hop onto an R&B beat. It had never been done before quite like that[...] I knew it was a special record.

Hey Lover (1995) - LL Cool J featuring Boyz ll Men

Another collab produced by Trackmasters, 'Hey Lover' comes off of LL's sixth album 'Mr. Smith' where it went to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 Billboard Hot Rap Singles. Combining LL's passionate lyrics about a woman he's never met, soulful sounds from Boyz ll Men and Michael Jackson's 'Lady in My Life' sample helped the single hit platinum status.

FYI – 'Hey Lover' won the Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance

I Can Love You (1997) - Mary J. Blige featuring Lil' Kim

The second single from her 'Share My World' album, 'I Can Love You' was produced by Rodney Jerkins along with help from her friend Queen B a.k.a. Lil' Kim's song 'Queen Bitch' (who also raps on 'I Can Love You'). Mary's 'I Can Love You' peaked at #2 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and #21 on the Hot 100.

FYI - The music video was shot from June 11-12, 1997 at a house and forest, Mary and other people are partying and having fun in the video ( yes this all really came from Wikipedia)

Only You (1996) - 112 featuring Notorious Big and Mase

While already having a modest hit with the original, the remix version including Biggie Small & Mase and the sample of 'Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll' by Vaughan Mason & Crew helped it go up on the Hot 100 at # 13 and #3 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.

FYI – 112 performed the song on a two-part episode of Moesha

Honorable Mentions:
Here a few that I really couldn't fit into this list (and I kinda was too lazy to do) so they are under spoilers:

Breakdown (1998) - Mariah Carey featuring Krayzie Bone &Wish Bone

How Do You Want It (1996) - Tupac featuring K-CI and JoJo

Keep On Keepin' On (1996) - MC Lyte featuring Xscape

Can't Knock the Hustle (1996)– Jay-Z featuring Mary J. Blige

Sugar Hill (1995) - AZ featuring Miss Jones

What You Want (1997) – Mase featuring Total


Sources
Youtube - 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13/14/15/16/17/18/19/20
Wikipedia - 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11
Other - 1/2
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