“Y’all got ‘til April the 7th to get y’all sh*t together!”
The standout statement of Kendrick Lamar’s new single, “The Heart Pt. 4,” rang like an alarm, waking the dormant hysteria that surrounds almost all of his verses. Although Thursday’s surprise single left the Rap world with plenty to speak about, Lamar’s moment was shared with his industry bestie, J. Cole, who announced the following day that he will be releasing his second HBO documentary, 4 Your Eyez Only, based on his album of the same title on April 15th. Only a week after Kendrick’s stern warning.
The proximity of these dates reminded me of that one time K. Dot and Cole had Hip-Hop on its toes by pump faking on the possibility of a joint project. They both went as far as to tweet several times over a span of three years about the concept, allowing the rumors to brew. Yet, the closest we came to a collaborative tape were a pair of 2015 freestyles where they both attacked each other’s instrumentals only for Cole to end his verse by answering the question of “When?” with “B*tch never.”
This is arguably one of the best joint albums to never happen. Yet throughout the history of Rap there have been plenty of shelved projects that would have been just as iconic.
The Commission-Biggie, Jay-Z, and Charli Baltimore
Following the release of Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt, Biggie and Hov decided to create a Brooklyn answer to Nas’s QB group, The Firm. The Commission consisted of both BIG and Jigga as well as a female artist, Charli Baltimore. Even though collaborations between the group proved that a quality project was inevitable, an album would never come to fruition as Biggie was tragically murdered in 1997, diminishing the opportunity.
This was a failed attempted at a Commission record, but hey…
Child Rebel Soldier-Kanye West, Luper Fiasco, and N.E.R.D.
Following the success of the 2007 song, “Us Placers,” Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and N.E.R.D. conceived the idea of creating a super group which they would eventually call Child Rebel Solider (CRS). After remixing N.E.R.D.’s “Everybody Nose” and confirming a 2010 release date for the album hysteria grew. This excitement continued as Kanye said the project was tabled and will be released following his Watch The Throne album with Jay-Z. But in 2013, all hopes were killed when Lupe tweeted that CRS won’t ever release their EP because the group was “dead.”
The “Original” Murder, Inc.-Jay-Z, DMX, and Ja Rule
In 1999, following a series of mutual featured verses, Jay-Z, DMX, and Ja Rule, graced the cover of XXL where they explained that they were now a trio rapping under the moniker Murder, Inc. Being as they were some of the biggest names in Hip-Hop at this time, the news of their merger created much anticipation for the release of their official project. Yet shortly after the announcement, DMX estranged himself from the group citing flawed business practices and style infringement as his motives. This led to the group’s demise and a feud that lasted nearly 20 years. Yet, to Beyonce, nothing is impossible. In 2016 during her show at MetLife stadium, she ordered a cease-fire between the three icons, resulting in a peaceful selfie.
I Can’t Feel My Face, The Album-Juelz Santana and Lil Wayne
In 2009 two of Hip-Hop’s brightest stars at that time, Juelz Santana and Lil Wayne announced that they would be releasing a joint album titled I Can’t Feel My Face. Leading up to its possible release date the duo dropped several songs including the “I Can’t Feel My Face” single. But, ultimately the project never dropped. In a 2012 interview, Santana explained that Lil Wayne’s “high demand” as an artist in combination with the fact that Juelz and his boss, Cam’ron, were not seeing “eye to eye” at this point in his career hindered the production of the album.
Helter Skelter-Ice Cube and Dr. Dre
After viciously beefing throughout the early 1990s, former N.W.A. members, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube found peace by the end of 1993. This rekindled friendship led to several collaborative songs resulting in the duo creating a joint project titled, Helter Skelter. Unlike most hypothetical albums, this project was actually completed and set to release on Death Row Records. Outside of Cube and Dre, Helter Skelter featured Snoop Dogg, D.O.C., and Scarface. Yet due to the severed relationship between Death Row, D.O.C., and Dre, the album was never released and is rumored to still be in the possession of the label’s CEO, Suge Knight.
What failed collaborations are you missing right now?