Strange connections between Bone Thugs and Phil Collins,
Eminem and Elton John, KLF and Tammy Wynette and more.
We were listening to a rap station on Slacker.com yesterday (by the way, Slacker is the new Pandora but better) and Walk This Way by Run D.M.C. and Aerosmith came on.
We discussed it and decided that was a great collaboration. Quite possibly the best collaboration between a rap group and non-rap or -R&B group ever.
Because there are a LOT of collaborations that are just flat-out weird. So here’s my list of the strangest, weirdest and worst team efforts by rappers and non-rappers ever.
1 | Bone Thugs ‘N Harmony and Phil Collins, Home
In case you don’t know the story, Bone Thugs decided to sample Phil Collins’s Take Me Home as a rap called Home. Except Phil Collins was totally on board with it, and ended up singing the chorus himself. Bone Thugs thought Phil Collins was so cool that they gave him his own nickname, Chrome Bone.
It’s not clear which party came out worse in this collaboration. Bone Thugs ‘N Harmony must’ve taken a hit on street cred… and Phil Collins, well, just can’t pull off the nickname Chrome Bone.
I beg you to watch at least a little of the video of this, you will never be the same.
2 | Nelly and Tim McGraw, Over and Over
Country-rap crossovers just don’t work. Especially on songs like Nelly and Tim McGraw’s Over and Over that are so incredibly repetitive and banal. The phrase “over and over again” repeats, um, over and over again in an incredible 21 of the 72 lines of the lyrics, or 29 percent. I know this because I’ve apparently got so much time on my hands that I count lyrics of several-year-old rap songs.
3 | Wyclef Jean and Willie Nelson, To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before
Wyclef is the only person who gets two spots on this list. This one is for his collaboration with Willie Nelson to produce a reggae-fied version of To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before. Strangely enough, this was Willie’s idea, not Wyclef’s.
4 | Wyclef Jean and Kenny Rogers, The Gambler (Remix)
…but this one was all Wyclef. Ever wanted to hear Kenny Rogers say “This is Kenny Rogers chillin’ on the country side with my man Wyclef”? Or hear “You gotta know when to hold ’em YEAH! YEAH!”? This is your chance.
5 | Eminem and Elton John, Stan
Sure, it was an incredible publicity stunt, but teaming up Elton John (gay) with Eminem (who may have a Guinness world record for number of times saying the word “f*g” in a one-minute span), worked. Everyone watched their performance of Eminem’s Stan at the Grammy’s, with Elton John singing the part that Dido did on the original track.
The big problem here isn’t the publicity stunt aspect, the Elton John selling out the gay community aspect or the uncomfortable hug at the end aspect. It’s that Elton John was way worse than Dido and made the song sound much, much worse. It was a step backwards in so, so many ways.
6 | Busta Rhymes and Linkin Park, We Made It
To represent the brief and regrettable modern era of rap-rock collabos, I could’ve picked any of Jay-Z’s ill-advised songs with Linkin Park, or Method Man teaming up with Limp Bizkit. But I went with the Busta Rhymes-Linkin Park song We Made It… because it sounds the worst. And integrates rap and rock in the worst possible way.
7 | Wu-Tang Clan and George Harrison’s son, The Heart Gently Weeps
Almost two years ago, Dhani Harrison guested on Wu-Tang Clan’s reunion album, on a track called The Heart Gently Weeps.
Dhani’s never been as successful… not even in the same universe… as his father. So why did Wu-Tang want him? Well, I hate to be a cynic, but they sure needed a massive sample of George Harrison’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps to make their track… and it sure seems like the best path to that clearance would be to throw his not-so-famous son a little work.
8 | LL Cool J and Elmo, Addition Expedition
I could go into a whole bit about how Big Bird got a big ol’ butt, but I’ll just let the video speak for itself.
9 | Puff Daddy and Sting, I’ll Be Missin’ You
Puff Daddy became famous when Biggie died and Puffy sampled Sting’s Every Breath You Take in a tribute song to Big. In 1997, at the MTV VMAs, Sting made a surprise cameo, actually singing the chorus while Puff Daddy rapped and Faith Evans and 112 sang the rest.
The whole thing actually, somehow, turned out sounding pretty epic. It makes the list because, when you watch the video of this… holy sweet Jesus is it awkward. Sting and Puffy literally never even look at each other. Sting is too busy wondering “what the hell am I doing here?” and Puffy is too busy dancing around like Elaine Benes (apparently in tribute to Biggie somehow?)
10 | Tammy Wynette and KLF, Justified and Ancient
I remember KLF. I know of Tammy Wynette. I had no idea they’d teamed up for the song Justified and Ancient… which feels unbelievably stilted from start to finish.
The video just proves that, as Tammy gleefully sings, her image so incredibly incongruous to the rest of the video that it’s impossible to focus on anything else.
11 | MC Scat Kat and Paula Abdul, Opposites Attract
Together, they may’ve taken two steps forward… but by collaborating with Paula, in my opinion, MC Scat Kat really sent the credibility of rap two steps back.