TITLE: The Case of the Collabo
For as long as man has existed, there have been examples of collaborations between separate entities in effort to achieve excellence and progress that would be otherwise unattainable. Collaborations like the Wright brothers who worked together to put humans in the sky, or Shaq and Kobe when they were winning NBA titles at the Lakers or the Americans and the allies during World War II. Music collaborations arguably have had as much influence into landscaping society.
The abruptly random string of thoughts above were sparked serendipitously as I was listening to Drake and Future’s ‘What A Time To B Alive’ mixtape. The Metro Boomin executive produced tape rides in on a tsunami wave of anticipation from their fans. This is evident as reports coming in state that the project pushed around 375K units in its first week and debuted comfortably at the top of the Billboard Charts.
WATTBA plays the perfect case study to test the hypothesis: In music collaborations, all entities cannot be equal. One cannot shake off the feeling that WATTBA is a collection of Future songs laced with Drake verses with the exception coming in the form of ‘30 for 30 Freestyle’ right at the end. Is it always the case that the dynamics of collaborations inherently categorises the collaborators as superior/inferior to one another? One party seems to always be carrying the other on its back on songs when people expect two strong forces to come together to create even a stronger force. If this is the case then it stands to say that collaborations can potentially be dangerous to the career of the artists who comes into a joint venture and is devalued and relegated as a ‘back-up singer’. This is not always the case however.
When it comes to collaborations, chemistry is everything. In WATTBA, Drake and Future’s chemistry was tested and possibly beyond its limits. History has given us great examples of pure chemistry such as Method Man and Redman who seamlessly came together to give us those crazy raunchy lyrics and somehow seemed as a single unit. Other examples are Mos Def and Talib Kweli (Black Star) and even Wiz Khalifa and Snoop. That last example might not be at the top of avid hip hop heads minds but no one asks, “Who killed who?” on a Wiz and Snoop joint, which is a result of their cohesion and which proves my point precisely.
If we are to speak about the magnum opus of collaborations of our day, we then need to talk about Kanye and Jay’s ‘Watch The Throne” album. That piece of artwork is a treasure trove of quotables and possesses velvet regal teamwork that we might never see/ hear again. The game definitely needs more partnerships like this where instead of cats tearing each other down in useless beefs, they come together to make history. I’m letting rip of a prayer hands emoji that SA MC’s can come together to give us our very own Watch The Throne.