2016 was, without a doubt, one of the best years of album releases, concert tours, and rising artists. We’ve seen artists push against their own boundaries, most successfully with the assistance from other artists who can provide extensions of the vision, the sound, the beat. The results of collaborating, more often than not, are fascinating and contagious, and usually the best route to scratching the surface of something new. Here are 10 Collaborations We Want to See in 2017, duos that would, inevitably, advance our quality of music.
When a fan threw it out into the internet that he would love to see a collaboration between Flying Lotus and Anderson Paak, a request that isn’t too unsubstantiated given where both artists fall in the R&B genre, that fan was given a very special gift. Flying Lotus tweeted back that such collaboration already exists and Anderson Paak. didn’t take very long to back him up, saying “They ain’t ready!!” And considering how talented they are as individual artists, we probably aren’t ready for what they have in store.
Fans were ready to give up hope as to when, if ever Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole were going to release their rumored joint project. But at the end of 2016, fellow rapper Ab-Soul took to the Breakfast Club Radio show to confirm that the two iconic rappers have been working on something for a really long time. He jokingly added that he hopes they keep his verse. So at least we know the J. Cole and Kendrick collaboration exists. Hopefully it will only be a matter of time before it hits our ears.
The Childish Gambino and Chance the Rapper collaboration has been a rumor for a couple of years now, and when Chance released Coloring Book this past May, we all thought we’d see an appearance from the actor/rapper. Though we haven’t seen them on a track together since 2013’s “The Worst Guys”, both rappers are at amazing places in their respective careers, making no time better than the present. Just last week, Chance posted a photo of the two of them on Instagram. The caption read “Hawaii then LA, back to work. #roscoeswetsuit” The hashtag refers to his Because the Internet screenplay, which featured Chance as his co-star. We’re hopeful this means the two are picking up on what they left off before both of their lives got a little crazy.
For the past year or so, Justin Bieber has spread his artistic wings out from the usual pop standards, and has worked with the likes of DJ Snake, Skrillex, and Diplo. Though he’s been busy touring in support of Purpose, a photo posted by 2 Chainz on Instagram alludes us to believe that he’s also making new music, or at least spending time with the people who he’s about to collaborate with. The picture showed the two of them at a concert, with the caption “New music on the way ??? Take JB to the trap ???” A 2 Chainz + Justin Bieber collaboration would definitely be a hit, especially considering how well the remix of “Boyfriend”–feat. 2 Chainz, Mac Miller, and Asher Ross–did on the charts.
Ed Sheeran and John Mayer
There have been very few professional guitarists to enter the pop mainstream since John Mayer, who actually redefined the genre for awhile. Then Ed Sheeran came along. Though John Mayer has fallen out of the direct attention of the music industry, Ed Sheeran has incredible respect for him, and decided to show it during last years Grammys when he brought Mayer up on stage for “Thinking Out Loud”. We’re not sure if they heard the demand for a collaboration resonate through the internet after their performance, or if they were already thinking about it, but it’s confirmed that John Mayer will make an appearance on Ed Sheeran’s 3rd record. Considering how incredible these two singer/songwriters are, the John Mayer + Ed Sheeran collaboration could potentially be the best of the entire record.
Honestly, we’re surprised that a Taylor Swift + Ed Sheeran collaboration doesn’t already exist, considering their similar audiences and how close these two are. Long admirers of each others work, Sheeran and Swift make their friendship very known to the public eye. When Sheeran took to Twitter to announce his new music, Swift was definitely among the ecstatic fans, and even sent a personal e-mail telling Sheeran how excited she was. Could this be because she makes an appearance on the forthcoming record? Taylor Swift was relatively quiet in 2016 because she was taking a break from recording and touring. But if anyone was going to drag her into the studio for a collaboration, it definitely would have been Ed Sheeran.
Though there’s no evidence that Beyonce and Solange Knowles will collaborate, but after what was an amazing year for both of them, we are hopeful that the sisters will combine forces in 2017. Just last week, Beyonce conducted an interview of Solange, discussing the inspiration behind her beautiful, compelling record A Seat at the Table, which was largely inspired by their family and history in America. Through the interview, it was blatantly clear that Beyonce, arguably the best performer of this generation, has large respect for her sister, and even calls herself Solange’s biggest fan. Both of their projects in 2016 had to do with empowerment, women, race, and identity. if the Knowles sisters decide to collaborate in 2017, we think the only possible result is magic.
After he made it onto six tracks from Dre’s latest album Compton, the industry rightfully perked their ears, and started listening to the genius that is Anderson Paak. Known for keeping a brutally honest rhythm, his innovative vocals and smooth rap style, Anderson Paak. quickly became the perfect fit for several collaborations, including Q-Tip, Kanye West, Kaytranada, and more. Just last week, Paak. went on Pharell’s Beats 1 Radio Show to discuss their current favorite artists, what it was like to work with Dre, and more. At the end of it, the two broke out into a live version of Thundercats “The Rhythm Changes”, and it was amazing. But the best news we were gifted was that Pharrell and Anderson Paak. were scheduled to hit the studio together later that day. We’re not sure if anything came out of their session together, but we hope to see the results of it sometime in 2017.
Lorde and St. Vincent
When we think of two women who have the ability of shaking up the rock genre, we immediately go to St. Vincent and Lorde, both of which have such clear artistic visions and voices that are desperately needed in the genre. Though some of you wouldn’t consider Lorde a rockstar, we’d implore you to remember her incredible performance of “All Apologies” at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where St. Vincent also paid tribute to Nirvana by a compelling rendition of “Lithium”. Both artists are due to put out new records this year, and if they were blown away by each other’s performances like we were, we think it’s very likely that they end up featuring each other in 2017.
These two have collaborated in the past, on Solange’s 2012 effort True. But both artists have experienced tremendous growth since then. Kendrick Lamar, on To Pimp A Butterfly explored his vocal ability and style, giving the album multiple personalities in many ways, but specifically his voice. On Solange’s A Seat at the Table, listeners feel as if they are getting to know her in a way that just wasn’t possible before. At times vulnerable, other times angry, using her family and its history in America as fuel, Solange created a masterpiece that ranks among albums like To Pimp A Butterfly, not to mention both Solange and Kendrick are brave enough to discuss the subject of race. We think these two would be a match made in R&B heaven.
All in all, 2017 has the potential to be an incredible year for music, possibly even better than 2016. We can thank the previous year for putting some of these artists on the map and propelling others into stardom. Now that plenty of the pieces have fallen into place, we think you can expect to see some truly remarkable collaborations in 2017.