10 musical collaborations we never expected

Who thought that Brian May and Dappy teaming up was a good idea?

Collaborations can revive a failing career or bring you the musical combo you didn’t know you needed; but sometimes all it offers is the most painstakingly uncomfortable few minutes of your week.

After years of feuding, Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks have announced they’re getting together to produce music. This all follows Banks coining the phrase “Igloo Azealia” and dragging her in countless interviews; but despite her fans skepticism, Iggy claims she thinks the team up will be “good for female rap”.

Here are some of the other collaborations that we never expected, some surprisingly brilliant, some totally weird, and some timeless for all the wrong reasons.

Weezer and Lil Wayne – ‘Can’t Stop Partying’


They are: Geek rock band famed for ‘Buddy Holly’
He is: Rapper best known for wanting you to lick his ‘Lollipop’
How did it happen? Weezer frontman River Cuomo co-wrote the tune with ‘Cant Stop Partying’ with Jermaine Dupri. “I was a big fan of his song, [the Mariah Carey-sung] ‘We Belong Together’.” he told Pitchfork – after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, Cuomo ended up with a song from Jermaine, which after appearing on his solo record, eventually turned into the ‘Can’t Stop Partying’ we here on Weezer’s 7th record ‘Raditude’.
Did it work? Not exactly, unfortunately it doesn’t exactly make you want to hit the club.

Justin Bieber and Busta Rhymes – ‘Drummer Boy’

Justin Bieber is: Tweenage starlet (before he blossomed into pop sensation)
Busta Rhymes is: Outlandish rapper and record producer with nine records under his belt
How did it happen? In Christmas of 2011 Bieber released his second studio album in the form of a Christmas release. Biebs teamed up with a plethora of A-Listers, including Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, Usher and Busta Rhymes.
Did it work? Not really – this collab with Busta Rhymes on a festive classic was just too bizarre to become the next seasonal anthem.

Brad Paisley and LL Cool J – ‘Accidental Racist’

Brad Paisley is: American country crooner
LL Cool J is: Grammy winning forefather of pop rap
How did it happen? Explaining about writing the song to Entertainment Weekly, Paisley said: “I just think art has a responsibility to lead the way, and I don’t know the answers, but I feel like asking the question is the first step, and we’re asking the question in a big way. How do I show my Southern pride? What is offensive to you? And he [LL Cool J] kind of replies, and his summation is really that whole let’s bygones be bygones and ‘If you don’t judge my do rag, I won’t judge your red flag.
Did it work? The misguided ‘Accidental Racist’ generated controversy due to its clumsy discussion of racism, and instead of solving racism – it lead to criticism and countless parodies. Whilst there were good intentions, Brad Paisley and LL Cool J ended up with a bit of a mess.

Slash and Fergie – ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’


He is: legendary Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver guitarist
She is: one quarter of The Black Eyed Peas
How did it happen? Slash heard that Fergie was lowkey a bit of a rocker – and recruited her for his debut solo album ‘Slash’ in 2010. “I got hip to Fergie being probably as good or better a rock singer than she is a pop singer” he told MusicRadar, “I heard her do Barracuda, the old Heart song, and I was like, fuckin’ wow!”
Did it work? The duo teamed up several times; but the most notable was when Fergie took on ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’. Fergie took a quick break from Black Eyed Peas to play at being a rock star with Slash, and surprisingly had the pipes to pull it off.

Beyoncé and James Blake – ‘Forward’

She is: the baseball bat-wielding queen of pop
He is: soulful, Mercury Prize winning crooner
How did it happen? Bey invited James to her studio to work on some music for her sixth studio album. As he was improvising and singing the hook to ‘Forward’ Bey’s daughter Blue Ivy would sing “Forward!” Blake told The Guardian: “that’s how you know it’s catchy!”
Did it work? If it’s got Blue Ivy’s seal of approval it’s got to work.

Miley Cyrus and The Flaming Lips – ‘Dooo It!’

She is: the twerking Disney princess who came in like a ‘Wrecking Ball’
They are: American psychedelic rockers
How did it happen? Cyrus became pals with The Flaming Lips when they joined her on her Bangerz Tour. After a couple of Beatles covers, they then teamed up for Miley’s fifth album. “We’re so much alike in believing art is supposed to be fun. She’s just a freak. I love her to death.” frontman Wayne Coyne told Rolling Stone. “They’re real musicians – they can change keys on a whim. I’ve never seen anything like it. They’ve had me on this journey that’s greater than anything I’ve been on. It’s really deep.” Miley added.
Did it work? Against all odds – yes it did. There’s just something about the ode to Miley’s love of weed and peace, complete with a bizarre music video featuring her regurgitating glitter, which mysteriously works.

Queen and 5ive – ‘We Will Rock You’

Queen are: legendary British rock band
5ive are: A late 90s pop band who wanted you to ‘Keep On Movin’’
How did it happen? It’s mid 2000, the Millennium Dome is open and a boy band called 5ive are in their heyday. After the success of their debut, they cranked out the follow up, which featured this Queen cover.
Did it work? A classic case of if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Sadly 5ive’s rapping failed to add anything to the 70s anthem.

Jay Z and Linkin Park – ‘Numb/Encore’

He is: Legendary rapper, who’s only got ’99 Problems’
They are: One of the biggest rock bands of the millennium – selling over 70 million albums worldwide.
How did it happen? The collaboration originally started for part of a MTV TV show, but they ended up re-recording parts of the songs “Jay and I realized it’s better to re-perform the rap vocals if you’re gonna do it to a new beat because the vibe changes and you have to deliver your verse a little differently,” vocalist Mike Shinoda told MTV. This then resulted in the ‘Collision Course’ EP being released.
Did it work? Completely – and the Grammy that ‘Numb/Encore’ won confirms that. There’s something about the reworked songs that’s totally convincing.

Brian May and Dappy – ‘Rockstar’

Brian May is: One of the greatest guitarists of all time
Dappy is: From N-Dubz
How did it happen? Apparently May was a fan of the rapper, with Dappy telling the Daily Star: “Brian bigged me up for my last single and said I should win an Ivor Novello for lyrics. So I got his email and contacted him. It was a coincidence that track was called ‘Rockstar’. He told me, ‘You are a very different artist and unique, so carry on doing what you’re doing. There’s nobody else challenging you’.”
Did it work? It remains a mystery why Brian May signed up for this one, as the combo is almost too bizarre to comprehend; but sadly this was not the fantastic pairing they duo might have hoped for.