While everyone loves a good rap beef, We at AFTR PRTY know that some of the best moments in hip-hop have come from people working together. Nothing quite shakes the culture like when two elite rappers/artists come together to create one cohesive project.
So here it is - AFTR PRTY’s top 10 hip-hop collaboration albums of the 2010s (in no particular order):
1. Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz - COLLEGROVE
One of the perks of being as prolific as Lil Wayne is is that you have time to bring some people into the studio with you to make a whole project. Given how Wayne inspired a whole generation of punchline rappers, teaming up with 2 Chainz, one of the funniest rappers in the game, was a natural choice.
COLLEGROVE, a name that derives from their respective hometowns, College Park and Holly Grove, is one of the most fun rap albums of the past 10 years. Songs like “Gotta Lotta” and “Blue C-Note” are filled to the brim with humor, and it all starts with a moving tribute to the importance of Weezy F on “Dedication.”
2. Jay-Z & Kanye West - Watch the Throne
Heard of this one?
In 2011, two of the most influential names in hip-hop came together to drop an album that felt instantly important.
Watch The Throne may not be either of these rappers’ crowning lyrical achievements (though “Otis” certainly features some of their most iconic bars), and the music isn’t their most adventurous (though the production on “No Church in the Wild” and “Who Gon Stop Me” showed Kanye West at his creative peak), but songs like “Paris” and “H.A.M.” solidified the two as perhaps the most important and exciting duo in hip-hop.
3. 21 Savage, Offset, & Metro Boomin - Without Warning
In 2017, 21 Savage’s menacing, unbothered delivery met Offset’s iconic Migos flow. With Metro Boomin underscoring it with his cinematic trap sound, the result was almost a guaranteed success.
While the two rappers bounce off each other in delightful ways (“Still Serving”), the lasting track is “Ric Flair Drip,” a wake-up call to anyone who thought a single Migos couldn’t stand alone.
4. Lil Wayne & Birdman - Like Father, Like Son
The mark of a great collab album is chemistry, the sense that working together comes naturally.
By 2006 (not the 2010s but still a gem), Lil Wayne and his mentor Birdman had been rapping together for almost a decade, so Like Father, Like Son feels less like a debut collaboration album and more like business as usual.
Birdman’s southern swag and Lil Wayne’s prolific punchline bars make for a duo so dynamic you can barely take your eyes off them. Songs like “Over Here Hustlin’” and “Stuntin Like My Daddy” make a case for both of them as the most iconic hip-hop artists to come out The South.
5. Eminem & Royce Da 5’9”: Hell: The Sequel
Eminem’s label Shady Records is clearly a lyricism-first project. Eminem & Royce Da 5’9”, AKA Bad Meets Evil, make that clear on Hell: The Sequel. Starting with “Welcome 2 Hell,” the two rarely take a breath during the album’s 46 minutes.
The hilarity of the Mike Epps-sampling “I’m On Everything” and the sweetness of the Bruno Mars hook on “Lighters” are barely enough to distract from the intensity that Detroit’s finest rappers bring to the table.
6. Gunna & Lil Baby - Drip Harder
It’s in the name.
Gunna & Lil Baby’s album Drip Harder is, well, dripping with confidence. It’s an album that feels dedicated to the many naysayers of melody-heavy rap, proving it can be just as hard-hitting and lyrically proficient as an old head’s favorite rapper.
Three years later, the album’s standout single, “Drip Too Hard,” feels almost like a State Of The Union for Atlanta rap.
7. Kanye West & Kid Cudi - KIDS SEE GHOSTS
2018 was a banner year for Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music label. In the midst of drops from Teyana Taylor and Pusha T (and of course, Ye’s solo album), Kanye and Kid Cudi came out with a 7-track collab under the name KIDS SEE GHOSTS.
Their eponymous album mixes Kanye’s all-encompassing 808’s with haunting, almost folk-like sounds; his drunken rap bravado mixed with Cudi’s wounded melodies. The record feels lived-in as if this was a style they’d been experimenting with for decades.
“Fire” and “Kids See Ghosts” are not either of their best songs as individual icons, but show they both still have sides to show us.
8. Drake & Future - What a Time to be Alive
When Drake and Future released What a Time to be Alive, they had individually proved themselves as two of the hardest working people in the game. It felt like they were perpetually coming out with new music.
How they found the time to make one of 2015’s most exciting projects, we may never know.
“Jumpman” and “Diamonds Dancing” are perfect examples of what makes these two work: Drake makes Future more focused, Future makes Drake more fun. Together, they had rap radio on lock and the whole club jumping. What a time that was.
9. Young Stoner Life - Slime Language 2
Young Thug & Gunna are two of the most hypnotizing vocalists in hip hop today. Earlier this year, Young Thug’s label Young Stoner Life (YSL) dropped a collaboration album with the two Atlanta natives at the forefront.
On Slime Language, the talent on YSL almost sounds like they’re dancing on the beat instead of rapping. “Ski” and “Solid” put the label’s cash cows at the center, while “Real” and “That Go” make strong cases for the label's lesser-known talent.
10. Jay-Z & Beyonce - Everything is Love
Ok, so Beyoncé isn’t a rapper. Or is she? Many claims that she bodied her husband on Everything is Love’s lead single, “APESHIT” (or in the words of Jay-Z- “She went crazy!”).
After each released deeply personal solo albums about the trials and tribulations of their relationship, they came together to make amends and solidify their role as the most powerful couple in music. “Summer” and “713” are captivating, they’ll make you ask “Becky With The Good who?”