Jay-Z’s 6 Most Off-The-Wall Collaborations, From Linkin Park To Blue Ivy Carter
Jay-Z is a master of collaboration. Just look at his back catalog for proof of the massive list of artists he’s worked with. But while Hova’s features with Kanye West, Rihanna and his wife Beyonce are interesting and make for great singles, the rapper hasn’t always made the most usual choices when it comes to collaboration. In fact, he’s made some pretty weird decisions that have yielded some pretty weird songs. From Linkin Park to Lenny Kravitz to his mom, Jay-Z has taken the road less traveled when it comes to collabs — for better or worse. Below we lay out six of his strangest.
Linkin Park, Collision Course (2004)
This 21-minute album is basically a collection of mash-ups combining Linkin Park’s pop metal aggression and Jay-Z fast-talking rhymes. The disc, produced by Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, sold over 5 million copies, which is apparently the number of people in the world who equally like hip-hop and Chester Bennington.
Blue Ivy Carter, “Glory” (2012)
Think about this: Infant Blue Ivy Carter was featured on a single that bowed at #23 on Billboard‘s Rap Songs roundup, making her the youngest person in history to have a song that charted. The track, which includes audio of Blue Ivy’s heartbeat as well as her crying, was a one-off track released on Jay-Z’s website celebrate the birth of his daughter. And all your dad got you was a teddy bear.
Bono and The Edge, “Stranded (Haiti Mon Amor)” (2010)
Bono and The Edge joined with Jay-Z, Rihanna and producer Swizz Beatz on this song for Haiti benefit album Hope For Haiti Now. Beatz was actually responsible for the collaboration, pulling the musicians together remotely (later they all performed the number onstage as part of a fundraising telethon in London). The response was notably mixed – the song went to No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 but got mediocre reviews — and for good reason; while it was made with positive intentions, this is one of the more bizarre collabs we’ve ever heard.
Lenny Kravitz – “Storm” (2004)
Lenny Kravitz’s single “Storm,” off his 2004 album Baptism, wasn’t the first time the rocker had paired-up with Hova.. Kravitz had actually played guitar on Jay’s The Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse, so it sort of (not really) makes sense that the rapper would pay back the favor. Stranger still, this song was originally a Michael Jackson number titled “(I Can’t Make It) Another Day” that Kravitz re-wrote and re-recorded with Jay.
Coldplay, “Lost+” (2008)
We know, we know — Chris Martin and Jay-Z are totally BFFs. They do New Year’s together; their wives go on juice cleanses together; everyone has a lot of money to throw around together. It’s great. But that doesn’t mean that Hova’s remix of Coldplay’s 2008 Viva La Vida… single “Lost!” makes much sense. In this form, it’s just a droning Coldplay song where Jay tosses in a few verses somewhere in the middle. Definitely not the coolest thing these guys have done together.
Gloria Carter, “December 4th” (2003)
Aww. Jay-Z featured his mom on a track off his 2003 Black Album. (See a trend with his features?) The rapper’s madre opens the song with these lines: “Shawn Carter was born December 4th/Weighing in at 10 pounds, 8 ounces/He was the last of my four children/The only one who didn’t give me any pain when I gave birth to him/And that’s how I knew he was a special child.” It’s cute until you realize just how enormous a 10 pound, 8 ounce baby is.