Top Ten Pop-Meets-Rap Collaborations Of The Decades Eras
At Decades, Panorama Productions’ newest club, celebrating the pop music of the greatest-selling eras in music history is exactly what’s being done at all times. One of the keys to the music of these eras selling so well is that oftentimes genres were blended and blurred in ways that created fresh sounds and fanbases for hit singles. Notably, it’s when hip-hop and mainstream cultures merged when the hits were the biggest. Here’s the ten biggest-selling pop-meets-rap collaborations in the past thirty years.
All songs listed are also available for purchase by clicking them!
#1 – 5 countries, 7 million singles sold
By 2001, Ruff Ryders’ affiliated rapper Eve had broken out from the considerable shadow of fellow “Double R” clique members DMX and Swizz Beatz to be rap’s top-selling female performer of that era. Dr. Dre and Scott Storch co-produced this heater, which was the second single from Scorpion, Eve’s breakthrough second album. For Eve and Gwen, it was the bigger-selling of their two Dre-produced collaborations, the other being, “Rich Girl,” a 2004 Stefani single.
#1 – 5 countries, 9 million singles sold
Before his debut 2009 single “Low,” Flo Rida was an appropriately-named emcee from Carol City, Florida. Comparatively, T-Pain had released three albums that had sold nearly two million copies in the United States alone, with five top-ten singles including 2007’s “Buy You A Drank (Shawty Snappin’).” T-Pain delivers on the hook for “Low,” as “Apple Bottom jeans, and boots with the furrrr” is probably one of the era’s most iconic moments.
#1 – 8 countries, 20 million sales and streams
Katy Perry goes electro-trap alongside a member from Three Six Mafia? That’s exactly what happened on this extremely surprising hit 2013 pop meets rap collaboration. Regarding working with Perry, one-time “Stay Fly” Three Six Mafia hit-maker Juicy J said, “My verse I did on that song, she was singing it. She’s really a genius, she was by the mixing board and telling the guy what to take in and take out. She’s really hands-on with her music, she knows music.”
#1 – 10 countries, 8 million singles sold
When St. Lunatic Nelly and Destiny’s Child member Rowland combined forces on 2002 R & B ballad “Dilemma,” the result was a Grammy-winning smash. In the same way that ‘80s heavy metal’s “rules” meant that every huge band needed a power ballad, rappers enlisted the aid of pop/soul divas to make their largest waves. Throw in a sample from Patti LaBelle’s 1983 R & B smash “Love, Need and Want You,” and the song had just enough OG soul legitimacy and pop power to make an impact.
#1 – 10 countries, 9 million sales
Following up partnering with Pharrell Williams for his 2002 album Justified, Justin Timberlake paired with another Virginia-born producer in Timbaland for 2006’s FutureSex/LoveSounds. Leading the charge on the album was this soulful electro-pop jam that featured Timbo in a role similar to Diddy, cheering on JT’s vocals from the background. Similar to so many Bad Boy hits of the late ‘90s, “SexyBack’s” mix of party chants, sexy soul lyrics, and a thumping beat are undeniable.
#1 – 12 countries, 8 million sales
The standard setter for Katy Perry and Juicy J’s “Dark Horse” is her “surprising” collab with none other than Snoop Dogg for 2010’s “California Gurls.” Regarding the mega-hit’s inspiration, Perry noted, “it’s been a minute since we’ve had a California song and especially from a girl’s perspective. We took the references of Prince, which is always a great reference, and we took a lot of the ’90s, … almost that house music, some of those references.”
#1 – 14 countries, 10 million sales
Alongside his Bad Boy artists 112 and mourning widow Faith Evans, Puff Daddy bittersweetly honored the memory of his slain protege The Notorious BIG with 1996’s “I’ll Be Missing You.” The sample of The Police’s 1983 hit “Every Breath You Take” added to the song’s appeal, which made it to that point, Diddy’s biggest-selling artist single. An iconic songs that’s instantly recognizable as a part of hip-hop culture, it has a legacy that’s larger than the number of copies it’s sold overall.
#1 – 15 countries, 9 million sales
Amazingly enough, one of Rihanna’s biggest hits ever was originally written for Britney Spears. Of course, given that Jay Z was the president of Rihanna’s label Def Jam, there’s no guarantee that Hov would’ve appeared on Brit’s version of “Umbrella,” but still, what a fact in general, right?!?!? In one epic smash, “Little Miss Sunshine” broke out from being the child known for “Pon De Replay” into being the woman known for hits like “Work.”
#1 – 16 countries, 6 million sales
When Caribbean dancehall mixed with Puerto Rican salsa on Haitian vocalist Wyclef Jean and Colombian singer Shakira’s 2005 hit “Hips Don’t Lie,” there’s the influence of two continents, 30 countries, 25 islands, and an American territory at play. Therefore, the song being a global smash makes sense. Throw in a music video with hip-shaking dancing, and there’s literally something in it for absolutely everyone.
#1 – 16 countries, 7 million sales
“Peace up, A Town down.”
By 2004, Usher had already sold 17 million albums, and had nine top-ten singles. At the same time, Lil Jon had released two #1 indie albums, had two top 10 Billboard hits, and had produced three other smash singles for artists including the Ying Yang Twins. Jon’s street stardom mixed with Usher’s mainstream success on a single that used Jon’s signature catchphrase to make the most successful pop/rap collaboration of all time.