As music itself changes over the years, so does the way artists and their management organize themselves. While music collabs are nothing new, they have taken bold new forms in recent years, especially in rap. Here are a few ways that today’s rap artists are working together to create unique music that is only possible with a team effort.
The most successful rap supergroup in recent memory, Migos took the Atlanta rap scene by storm with hits like “Versace” and “Hannah Montana.” Since then, they have climbed to the top of the Billboard charts, most notably in 2016 with the ubiquitous single “Bad and Boujee.” Migos shows no sign of slowing down, and each member has released successful solo albums to critical acclaim.
Brockhampton was formed from a group of 13 rappers, singers and producers that met on a Kanye West fan forum. Since their formation, they have released five studio albums. They refer to themselves as a “boy band,” and while they are definitely more rap focused, there is definitely a parallel. Each Brockhampton artist has his own personality and style, and several members have launched successful solo careers.
In 2011, Kanye West and Jay-Z released the smash-hit collaboration album “Watch the Throne.” Building on the synergy of both artists’ signature styles, the two rap giants created an album for the ages. Since then, many other artists have joined forces to create collaboration albums in a similar way.
More recently, Quavo and Travis Scott’s Huncho Jack was one of the most successful collab albums, featuring both artists in full form, with a cowboy vibe in many of its instrumentals. Drake and Future’s “What A Time To Be Alive” was another well-received collab album, bringing together two very different artists to create hits with unusually high replay value. Kanye West and Kid Cudi’s experimental “Kids See Ghosts” has a lasting appeal, as well.
Fueled by social media and the changing landscape of the music industry, many artists are banding together in ways beyond the general expectations of their record labels. While each music collective can differ significantly, they all consist of artists who frequently collaborate on songs, albums and branding. Today’s rap collectives are building on the legacy left by influential groups such as the Wu-Tang Clan and The Diplomats.
One of the most successful rap collectives in recent history began in LA near the end of the recession, but spread worldwide with help from the internet. Tyler the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt and the other members of Odd Future made waves with their offbeat “alternative rap” style. Since then, Odd Future has become a global behemoth, creating TV shows, music festivals and successful clothing lines.
On the other side of the country, A$AP Mob experienced a similar rise to power. With help from the late visionary A$AP Yams and talented producers like Clams Casino, New York rapper A$AP Rocky built a huge following by making bold statements. Mostly hyped online, A$AP Rocky’s stylish music videos were ahead of their time in almost every aspect. Featuring rappers like A$AP Ferg and A$AP Twelvyy, the collective owes its success in part to experimental, yet effective, branding.
The YBN collective, formed by rising star YBN Nahmir, is a growing force in the industry. Similar to A$AP Mob, each member’s name starts with YBN. Members YBN Cordae and YBN Almighty Jay have made names for themselves over the past year, and the collective shows no sign of slowing down.
In today’s dynamic industry, artists are sure to find even more creative ways to work together.