After Avril Lavigne released her new single with rapper Nicki Minaj, we explore some of the strangest collaborations in music.
This week, pop’s original punk princess Avril Lavigne teamed up with Nicki Minaj for her new single ‘Dumb Blonde’. Taken from her forthcoming new album ‘Head Above Water’, the collaboration was a surprising release for some. Now, with news that Dolly Parton wants to collaborate with K-pop supergroup BTS, we take a look at some of the most brilliantly bizarre team ups in the world of pop, rock and rap.
Run DMC and Aerosmith
Arguably one of the most iconic collaborations, Run DMC’s guest appearance on Aerosmith’s ‘Walk This Way’ made the track an international success. While rapping over a rock beat is pretty common these days, this song was one of the first rock/rap crossovers, making it one of the most unique songs to come out in the 80s. It proved a hit for both groups and was later covered by Girls Aloud and Sugababes in 2007.
Miley Cyrus and The Flaming Lips
In 2014, Miley Cyrus shunned her good girl image and released her career-changing album ‘Bangerz’. However, it’s her 2015 release ‘Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz’ that is still one of the pop star’s strangest and perhaps, underrated releases to date. Bringing The Flaming Lips on board as producers, the 23-track album is a heady mix of weird Wayne Coyne guitars and screaming Cyrus vocals. In 2017, Cyrus returned to her country-pop roots but we’ll always have The Flaming Lips phase.
Linkin Park and Stormzy
Who knew that the golden boys of Nu-Metal would one day collaborate with the golden boy of grime? For their last album, Chester and co teamed up with the BRIT award winning MC for their song ‘Good Goobye’. It marked a shift in sound for the band, with the once riff-heavy group opting for a poppier, auto-tuned style. Also featuring a guest spot from Pusha-T, the song reached number 15 on Billboards Hot Rock Songs chart.
Weezer and Lil’ Wayne
Rivers and co are known for releasing wacky projects (please no more Toto covers), but this team-up with Lil’ Wayne is perhaps one of their most bizarrely brilliant moves. The 2009 song went on to feature on their album ‘Raditude’ – an LP which divided Weezer fans like no other. Speaking of the song at the time of its release, Cuomo told Pitchfork: “It might be my favorite track on the album. It was an epic process coming up with it between me, [co-writer] Jermaine Dupri, and [producer] Polow Da Don– and then Lil Wayne topped it off with this rap from the edge of the grave.”
Paul McCartney, Kanye West and Rihanna
Speaking about their odd collaboration, McCartney told Tim Minchin in a Facebook live chat: “I got a phone call and my manager said, ‘Kanye West would like to work with you.’ And I go, ‘Yeah, we’ll do it.’ I was a little bit nervous at first, because I thought it could go horribly wrong. But I was intrigued to see what he was up to and how he did it.”
“And it was a very intriguing process,” McCartney continued. “You basically don’t write songs. You basically just talk and noodle a bit and you record it all on your phone. And then he goes away. And that’s basically his record. But it was great doing it because I don’t work like that.”
Ke$ha and Iggy Pop
Some might find this collaboration surprising but as badass as Ke$ha is, it’s no wonder that Iggy Pop wanted to team up with the pop star. Ke$ha revealed that the rock singer was a big influence on her 2012 LP ‘Warrior’, calling it a ’70s cock-rock album”. The record also featured writing credits from The Strokes, The Flaming Lips and will.i.am.
David Bowie And Mickey Rourke
Yep, this actually happened. Taken from Bowie’s ‘Never Let Me Down’ LP, Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke provided a rap on album track ‘Shining Star.’ Rourke allegedly met Bowie in London while filming A Prayer for the Dying, when he approached Bowie and asked to make an artistic contribution to the album. Bowie, surprisingly agreed.
The record is arguably Bowie’s least popular album, with the star himself later describing the response as “a bitter disappointment.” Released in 1987, he would wait another six years before releasing his next solo album.
Jack White and Insane Clown Posse
In a world where The White Stripes’ Jack White and Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J of Insane Clown Posse release a song together, it feels like anything is possible. White reportedly met Violent J by chance at an airport and the pair got chatting about working on something together. “We could’ve done a song with Megadeth, and it wouldn’t be as talked-about as us working with you guys,” White said of the collaboration at the time.
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