“Walk This Way” by Run-DMC feat. Aerosmith
Run DMC released their version of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” on July 4, 1986. It was part of the group’s album Raising Hell. The track featured Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry guesting on vocals and guitars. Aerosmith’s original version of the song appeared as the second single on their 1975 album, Toys in the Attic. Run DMC’s rendition is often credited as the song that was responsible for helping hip-hop music break into the pop music world.
“Kool Thing” by Sonic Youth feat. Chuck D
This track is the first major label single released in June 1990 by Sonic Youth from their album Goo. Public Enemy's Chuck D provided some vocals on the song, supposedly inspired by a controversial interview bassist Kim Gordon had with LL Cool J for Spin magazine.
“Bring The Noise” by Anthrax feat. Chuck D
Anthrax and Public Enemy’s Chuck D released this version of the original Public Enemy song, which was part of the band’s Attack of the Killer B’s, on June 25, 1991. This album included B-sides and covers, including “Bring The Noise,” which is one of the first rap metal collaborations. Public Enemy’s rendition of the song was included on their 1988 album, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.
“Radio Song” by R.E.M. feat. KRS-One
This track released by R.E.M. appeared on their album, Out of Time, and featured KRS-One. It was the album’s fourth single and surfaced on November 4, 1991. KRS-One also makes a cameo in the music video for the track. Out of Time was released on March 12, 1991.
“Slam (Bionyx Remix) by Onyx feat. Biohazard
Onyx and heavy metal band Biohazard came together for this collaboration track in 1993, which was first released as part of a maxi-single called “Slam: The Alternatives,” Later the song was also added to Biohazard’s Tales From The B-Side, a collection of B-sides released on July 3, 2001. The original version of the song was released as the second single from the group’s debut album Bacdafucup as their second single on May 11, 1993. The two groups reunited on the title track for the Judgment Night soundtrack, which was released on September 14, 1993.
“Freak Momma” by Mudhoney and Sir Mix-A-Lot
Mudhoney and Sir Mix-A-Lot teamed up for the track, “Freak Momma,” for the Judgment Night soundtrack, released on September 14, 1993. The entire soundtrack is collaborations, some of which include “Disorder” by Slayer and Ice-T, “Just Another Victim” by Helmet and House of Pain and “Another Body Murdered” by Faith No More and Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E.
“Fallin’” by De La Soul and Teenage Fanclub
This song released in early 1994 is a collaborative effort from De La Soul and Scottish rock band Teenage Fanclub. The jam appears on the Judgment Night soundtrack, which was released on September 14, 1993. Tom Petty’s 1989 song “Free Fallin’” is sampled on the track. Both De La Soul and Teenage Fanclub members are featured in the music video for the track seen wandering down the hallways and in classrooms of a high school.
“White Lines” by Duran Duran feat. Melle Mel
This track was released by Duran Duran as a cover of the original hip-hop-funk version “White Lines (Don’t Do It)” by Melle Mel, which was released as a 12-inch single by Sugar Hill Records in 1983. The cover samples the original and was released as the second single on the English rock band’s cover album, Thank You, in 1995. This rendition reached number five on the U.S. Hot dance Club Songs chart.
“Snoop Bounce” by Snoop Dogg feat. Rage Against The Machine
Snoop Dogg collaborated with Rage Against the Machine minus Zack de la Rocha, on the song “Snoop Bounce,” which was released in 1997 and is featured on the “Doggumentary” single. This single also included “The Doggfather (remix) and “Midnite Love.” The full Tha Doggfather album was released on November 12, 1996.
“Step Into a World (Rapture’s Delight)” by KRS-One feat. Debbie Harry
KRS-One incorporated Blondie’s “Rapture” on his 1997 single “Step Into a World (Rapture’s Delight),” which was featured on his third solo album, I Got Next. He released the album on May 20 that same year and it is still considered his best best-selling release. Blondie’s original version of “Rapture” was released in January 1981 and was featured on their album Autoamerican.
“I Make My Own Rules” by LL Cool J feat. Flea, Dave Navarro and Chad Smith
This track appeared on the Private Parts: The Album, which was the soundtrack for the 1997 film. The song featured LL Cool J along with Flea, Dave Navarro and Chad Smith. There are other collaborations included on this collection, such as “Pictures of Matchstick Men” by Ozzy Osbourne and Type O Negative and “The Great American Nightmare,” a duet with Rob Zombie and Howard Stern.
“It’s All About The Benjamins (Rock Remix)” by Puff Daddy feat. Tommy Stinson, Fuzzbubble, Rob Zombie, Dave Grohl
Puff Daddy released the original version of “It’s All About The Benjamins” as the fourth single from his debut album, No Way Out, on June 30, 1997. The song featured Lil’ Kim, LOX and The Notorious B.I.G. The next year the rapper released the rock remix of the song, which also featured Tommy Stinson, Fuzzbubble, Rob Zombie and Dave Grohl. This rendition has also been known as the “Shot-Caller Rock Remix” and “Rock Remix I.” Spike Jonze directed a music video for this version that was voted Best Video of the Year on the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards.
“Still Not A Player” by Big Pun feat. Incubus
Big Pun released the original version of this song on March 28, 1998. It was included on his debut album, Capital Punishment, which was released on April 28, 1998. Incubus later constructed a remix of the track that same year. The song was part of the 2000 Sony release, Loud Rocks, released September 5, 2000. This compilation of songs featured collaborations between hard rock and hip-hop artists.
“Come With Me” by Puff Daddy feat. Jimmy Page (lead guitar) and Tom Morello (bass)
This Puff Daddy song was featured on the 1998 Godzilla film soundtrack and was released on July 21, 1998. While the song samples Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” Jimmy Page and Tom Morello offered up live guitar parts for the track, with Morello playing bass as well. The music video for the song, directed by Howard Greenhalgh, featured both Puffy Daddy and Page.
This track was the third single released off Limp Bizkit’s second album, Significant Other, on November 9, 1999. Method Man decided to team up with Limp Bizkit on the song because he was curious about working with a rock band. Originally the song was titled, “Shut The Fuck Up,” but was changed due to marketing purposes. The main riff on the song is sampled from the Beastie Boys’ “Get it Together,” which features Q-Tip.
“(Rock) Superstar” by Cypress Hill feat. Chino Moreno and Everlast
This track appeared on Cypress Hill’s fifth studio album, Skull & Bones, which was divided into two discs, one being a hip-hop disc and the second being a rap metal disc. “(Rock) Superstar” was part of the second disc and featured Deftones vocalist Chino Moreno and Everlast. This song was basically a remix of the group’s song “(Rap) Superstar,” which is on the first disc. Skull & Bones was released on April 25, 2000.
Busta Rhymes and rocker Lenny Kravitz teamed up for this track off the rapper’s fourth studio album, Anarchy, which was released on June 20, 2000. This album also included other collaborations, such as “The Heist” (featuring Ghostface Killah, Raekwon and Roc Marciano), “Here We Go Again” featuring Flipmode Squad, “Ready for War” featuring M.O.P., and “Why We Die” featuring DMX and Jay Z.
“How I Could Just Kill A Man” by Rage Against The Machine feat. Cypress Hill
The original song was released by Cypress Hill as the first single from the their eponymous debut album on June 29, 1991. Rap metal band Rage Against The Machine created their own rendition of the song for their cover album, Renegades, which was released on December 5, 2000. The group performed this version of the song with Cypress Hill for the band’s DVD, Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium, released on November 25, 2003.
“Awnaw” by Nappy Roots feat. P.O.D.
Nappy Roots released the original version of the song “Awnaw” in 2001, which appeared on their debut album Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz, released on February 26, 2002. Shortly after, two remixes were released of the song: one being the official remix featuring Jazze Pha, Cam’Ron and Twista and the second being the rock remix, which featured Jazze Pha and Marcos Curiel from P.O.D., who performed a guitar solo on the track.
Gorillaz got together with Del tha Funkee Homosapien for their first single “Clint Eastwood,” which was released on March 5, 2001 and appears on their self-titled debut album. The rapper performs the verses on the song while the chorus is carried out by 2D, otherwise known as Damon Albarn. Del also appeared on the album’s song “Rock the House,” which was released as the third single.
“It’s Goin’ Down” by X-Ecutioners feat. Linkin Park
American turntablists The X-Ecutioners teamed up with Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda and Joe Hahn for this track, which was released in March 2002, as a part of their second album, Built From Scratch. Samples on the song include Xzibit’s “Year 2000” and Linkin Park’s “Step Up” and “Dedicated.” Shinoda also produced the song.
“Numb/Encore” by Jay-Z and Linkin Park
Jay Z and Linkin Park joined forces in creating an entire album, Collision Course, which featured songs incorporating alternative rock and rap sounds, such as “Numb/Encore,” which was released on December 13, 2004. The song peaked at number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, while the album itself went directly to number one on the Billboard 200 after its release on November 30, 2004.
“Fight The Power” by Korn feat. Xzibit
Back in 2005 Korn started constructing a covers album, Korn Kovers, which never saw the light of day. However, even though the album was canceled, they still released their track “Fight The Power” featuring Xzibit on April 26, 2005. It appeared on the xXx: State of the Union Soundtrack. Originally Public Enemy recorded the song in June 1989.
“Flyentology" by El-P feat. Trent Reznor
El-P released this Trent Reznor-assisted song on iTunes on February 20, 2007. The track was included on the hip-hop artist’s second studio album, I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, which was released on March 20, 2007. This album also features other guest artists known from other music genres, such as Cedric Bixler-Zavala from The Mars Volta and Chan “Cat Power” Marshall.
“Part of Me” by Chris Cornell feat. Timbaland
Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell teamed up with Timbaland for this track, which was released on October 14, 2008 and included on his third studio album, Scream. In the music video Timbaland makes a cameo along with boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko and Method Man. The entire album was conceived in six weeks as the result of Cornell and Timbaland collaborating and was officially released on March 10, 2009.
“The Drop I Hold” by The Black Lips feat. GZA
The Black Lips released “The Drop I Hold” featuring Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA as a deep cut from their 2009 record 200 Million Thousand. They released this album on February 24, 2009.
“Ain’t Nothing Like You (Hoochie Coo)” by Black Keys feat. Mos Def & Jim Jones
Black Keys and hip-hop artists Mos Def and Jim Jones collaborated on the track “Ain’t Nothing Like You (Hoochie Coo),” which was featured on Blakroc and released on September 14, 2009. This album was released on November 24, 2009 and included collaborations with several hip-hop artists. The band also teamed up with artists Raekwon, NOE and Ludacris on other tracks.
This track was a collaboration between Los Angeles rock band Weezer and Lil Wayne and was featured on the band’s seventh studio album, Ratitude, released on October 30, 2009. The music video features all members of the band playing onstage with Lil Wayne also making a cameo after he steps out of a fancy car.
“Right On” by The Roots feat. Joanna Newsom & STS
The Roots teamed up with folk artist Joanna Newsom for their track “Right On,” which was featured on their 2010 How I Got Over album. Additional duets on this album include “The Fire” featuring John Legend, “Dear God 2.0” featuring Monsters of Folk and “Now or Never” featuring Phonte and Dice Raw.
Kid Cudi released his track “Pursuit of Happiness” featuring MGMT and Ratatat on January 25, 2010. The song appeared on his debut album 2009 Man on the Moon: The End of Day as the third single. Ratatat produced the track while MGMT provided additional vocals. Man on the Moon: The End of Day was released September 15, 2009.
Kanye West and Bon Iver teamed up for the track “Lost In The World,” featured on West’s fifth album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which was released on November 22, 2010. Lead singer Justin Vernon from the indie folk band provides vocals on the song, which also features a sample from their song “Woods” from their his 2009 EP, Blood Bank. The rendition of the song on the album is split into two parts with the outro being included on a track called “Who Will Survive in America.”
“Pyramids” by Frank Ocean feat. John Mayer
Frank Ocean released this lengthy track as his second single from his debut album, Channel Orange, on June 7, 2012. John Mayer plays a guitar solo, which is uncredited, towards the end of the song. Both artists are featured in the music video that features several metaphors alluding to Cleopatra, pyramids and strip clubs. Channel Orange was released on July 10, 2012.
“Momma Said Knock You Out” by Five Finger Death Punch feat. Tech N9ne
This more recent collaboration between Five Finger Death Punch and Tech N9ne is a heavy metal cover of the original LL Cool J song, which was released 1990 from the album of the same name. The metal version was released in 2013 off the band’s fourth album, The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 1.
This collaboration between Chicago’s Fall Out Boy and 2 Chainz was featured as the lead single on the band’s fifth studio album, Save Rock and Roll. The actual track and video were released on February 5, 2013 in North America. This album featured several guest artists, such as Foxes, Big Sean, Courtney Love and Elton John. Save Rock and Roll was released on April 12, 2013.
“Fancy Bitch” by Gucci Mane feat. Marilyn Manson
Rocker Marilyn Manson recorded this song with Gucci Mane on March 14, 2013 after the Los Angeles premiere of the film Spring Breakers, in which the rapper made his debut acting appearance. The two artists are friends in real life. This track is featured on the rapper’s mixtape, Diary of a Trap God, which was self-released on September 11, 2013.
The history of rap/hip-hop and rock collaborations goes way back to Run DMC's "Walk This Way" featuring Aerosmith released in 1986. Artists from these two music genres have come together over the years to create some pretty killer tracks. However, while some of these team efforts seemed like a good idea, not all of them produced stellar results.
The history of rap and rock collaborations goes back to the year 1986 when Run DMC, considered one of the most influential hip-hop groups of all time, released their own version of the Aerosmith track “Walk This Way.” This song paved the way for hip-hop’s ascent in being accepted into the realm of pop, rock and other forms of mainstream music.
Both rap music and rock have their obvious similarities, such as being genres that allow artists to express strong opinions through their music. These views may be conveyed about social, political and economic issues the specific artist or group feels obligated to bring to the surface, which the public is then made aware of through their music. Korn and Xzibit’s collaboration on the Public Enemy cover “Fight The Power” displays the urge to inform society about the “abuse of power,” which the original 1989 song was meant to exemplify as well.
While rappers and rockers exude extreme passion for their beliefs, they also feel the same way about making music. However, this passion can be the result of an amazing collaboration like “Numb/Encore” by Jay Z and Linkin Park or can produce a horrific track, such as Weezer’s “Can’t Stop Partying” featuring Lil Wayne. That said, not all the collaborations on this list are matches made in heaven, but a lot of them show the brilliance of what can happen when combining genres.
Don’t see your favorite rap/rock collaboration on the list? Feel free to comment on which one is your favorite in the comment section below.