Hip-hop and R&B collaborations are an integral part of music within The Culture. And it can be argued that the first decade of the 2000s provided the best collabs of all-time. It’s not hard to see why when you have greats like Beyonce, Kanye West, Usher, and Lil Wayne in the rotation. So checkout our list of the Best Hip-Hop and R&B Collaborations of the Early 2000s.
10. “Love Of My Life” by Erykah Badu and Common
“Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)” is the 2002 single by singer Erykah Badu and rapper Common. Like the title says, the song is a beautifully crafted love letter from Badu and Common to hip-hop as part of the Brown Sugar soundtrack. It spent four weeks at number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, and reached number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song also won a Soul Train Lady of Soul Award for Best Solo R&B/Soul Single and the Grammy for Best R&B Song in 2003.
9. “Into You” by Fabolous & Tamia
“Into You” is the hit 2003 hip-hop love song from Fabolous with a complicated backstory. Depending on the version, the song features either Ashanti or Tamia. The album version features Ashanti, but after the CEO of Murder Inc., Irv Gotti, refused to let her film a music video for the single, Fabolous reached out to Tamia (with the song being based on Tamia’s 1998 single “So Into You”, anyway which samples the Commodores’ song “Say Yeah”) to re-record a version to release as a single. Both the album and single versions received heavy radio-play, resulting in all three artists being credited on the US Billboard Hot 100. “Into You” reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song released in the summer and stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart throughout the rest of 2003.
8. “You” by Lloyd and Lil Wayne
“You” is a 2007 song by Lloyd and features Lil Wayne off Lloyd’s second album, Street Love. It features a very smooth interpolation of 80’s pop classic, “True” by Spandau Ballet, and was recorded at producer Big Reece’s basement. The original version of the song featured Atlanta rapper Tango Redd, and Lloyd himself has reported that he leaked the song to an Atlanta radio station to receive airplay. Once it gained traction Lil Wayne was added to song and it took off. “You” became Lloyd’s first and Lil Wayne’s second top-ten single on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, charting at #9. The song reached #1 on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart becoming both Lloyd and Lil Wayne’s first #1 single on this chart.
7. “21 Questions” by 50 Cent and Nate Dogg
“21 Questions” is the creative R&B influenced love song by 50 Cent featuring the king of hip-hop hooks himself, Nate Dogg. The song was part of 50’s multi-platinum debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’. In a bold change up to much of 50’s work at the time, the song featured a series of questions pertaining to a relationship between 50 Cent and his potential partner. Written by 50 Cent, produced by Dirty Swift and mixed by Dr. Dre, it peaked at #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart becoming the second consecutive chart-topping single for 50 and the first ever for featured artist Nate Dogg. In total, 21 Questions spent four weeks atop the Hot 100 and twenty-three weeks on the chart overall.
6. “Blame It” by Jamie Foxx and T-Pain
“Blame It” aka “Blame It On the Alcohol” is a song by singer and actor Jamie Foxx featuring singer/rapper/king-of-autotune T-Pain released in 2008. Both Foxx and T-Pain use the Auto-Tune on this club anthem that gives us all an excuse for a questionable action at the function (which we’ve all used at least once right?). The song received many accolades and nominations, including a win for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals at the 2009 Grammy Awards.
5. “Dilemma” by Nelly and Kelly Rowland
“Dilemma” is the classic collab between Nelly and Kelly Rowland that was the summer bop of 2002. It was featured on both Nelly’s album, Nellyville and Rowland’s album, Simply Deep. It is an hip-hop/R&B ballad describing the “dilemma” of two people wanting to start a new relationship with each other despite both being in existing relationships. The song was #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 for 10 weeks and won the 2003 Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Performance. And don’t sleep on the mad wholesome music video witch features an appearance by Patti LaBelle (who is sampled in the song) and is infamous for the a scene in which Rowland text Nelly on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet while using a Nokia 9210 Communicator.
4. Always On Time by Ja Rule and Ashanti
The #1 hip-hop and R&B collaboration duo of the early 2000s! Ja Rule and Ashanti reigned supreme at the beginning of the millennium with a number of hit collabs. Their biggest and best being “Always on Time”. Featured on Ja’s third album Pain Is Love, the single released in early 2001. Produced by Irv Gotti, and written by himself and Rule, the song stuck to the long-time collaborator’s formula and became another radio and club smash for The Inc. “Always on Time” spent two weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Ashanti’s first Hot 100 number-one single and Ja Rule’s second. #FunFact: The song was originally set to feature Brandy instead of Ashanti.
3. “Slow Jamz” by Twist feat. Jamie Foxx and Kanye West
A slow jam that’s an ode to slow jams. “Slow Jamz” was The song was produced by Kanye and samples Luther Vandross’ cover of Dionne Warwick’s 1964 song “A House Is Not A Home”, and contains a smooth blend of hip hop, pop rap, R&B, and soul and some serious 90’s vibes. This was classic Kanye West production. Foxxx’s hook names drops classic R&B singers from the 80’s and 90’s and sets the perfect tone for the song. “Slow Jamz” peaked at #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100, which was the first number one song for all three artists. The song went platinum and received a nomination for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration in 2005.
2. “Yeah” by Usher feat. Lil John and Ludacris
“Yeah” was the lead single from Usher’s 2004 album Confessions. The song features fellow ATLiens Ludacris and Lil John who also produced the song, incorporating the crunk sound he was making famous at the time and merging it with R&B. This song was everywhere in 2004 topping the US Billboard Hot 100 chart for 12 consecutive weeks (making it the longest-running number one single in 2004) it won the Grammy that year for best Rap/Sung collaboration and went an astonishing quadruple platinum. If you were in a club, a car, owned a TV, or even just stepped out of your home in the mid 00s, you head “Yeah”…a lot.
1. “Crazy in Love” by Beyoce feat. Jay-Z
Remember those crazy times in the early 2000s when Beyonce and Jay-Z were acting like they weren’t together and barely new each other? This was a part of those days. In 2003 Beyoncé finally went solo. And for her debut she went big. Beyoncé’s incredibly highly anticipated debut solo studio album Dangerously in Love was lead by the huge single “Crazy In Love”. The song about a romantic obsession featured future husband Jay-Z. “Crazy in Love” was a #1 hit on Billboard, and went multi-platinum. VH1 declared it the greatest song of the 2000s decade, and Rolling Stone declared the song the greatest song of the 21st century so far. It also went on to win Grammys for Best R&B Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration in 2004. And we can’t forget the iconic music video which features Beyoncé in a tank top, short shorts and high heels being…well Beyonce.
We Hope You Enjoyed Our Look At The Best Hip-Hop and R&B Collaborations of the Early 2000s. Check Out More Of Our List Below:
Written by @TalentedMrFord