Though it had rhythm, mixed with remnants from the disco’s funk-filled era of the ’70s, in its early days, Hip-Hop had yet to call on singers to join in on the movement. Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five were too busy celebrating their Top 40 hit, “The Message”, to think about letting a singer come on the track.
With a meshed sound that began in the ’80s and creeped into the ’90s with platinum-selling artists like LL Cool J and Heavy D, R&B saw its rise to popularity as singers found their way on rap songs.
AllHipHop.com gets into a time machine and goes back to when rap music began to incorporate a bit of soul into their tracks.
LL Cool J – “Doin’ It”:
The original smooth-talking, lip-licking dude. He made it cool for rap dudes to have feelings.
Method Man & Mary J. Blige – “You’re All I Need”:
If you’ve never experienced thug love, this song might not strike a chord. For those who have, this song means everything to the struggle.
The Fugees – “Ready Or Not”:
Arguably, one of the first groups to popularize the infusing of hard rap lyrics with a soft, singing side. Wyclef and Pras held us down with hard-hitting lyrics, and Lauryn Hill completed the set with a soft, raspy, yet commanding voice that made us pay attention.
Heavy D & The Boyz featuring Aaron Hall – “Now That We Found Love”:
Before P. Diddy’s surge, the late Heavy D was the guy who made Hip-Hop fun! It was all about having a good time, and positive energy. On this one, he teamed up with Guy’s Aaron Hall, one of the dapper dudes of the era. Heavy’s missed.
Ja Rule featuring J. Lo – “I’m Real (Remix)”
The #1 man in the year 2001, Ja Rule (and Murda Inc) ran the Billboard charts in the early 2000’s, with majority of the tracks including R&B. On every hook, there was a singer, whether it was Ashanti, Lil Mo, or Christina Milian.
Kanye West featuring Syleena Johnson – “All Falls Down”:
When the Kanye West-produced “Izzo” by Jay-Z was released, we know whoever created that beat, had soul. We were right. From his College Dropout debut, Kanye had a love with R&B soul, a love for singers who could make you feel warm again. Maybe that’s why John Legend became G.O.O.D.
The mash-up of rap and R&B is a given these days. But, what are some of your favorite Hip-Hop and R&B collaborations?