The first CD I ever bought (besides “Now That’s What I Call Music,” remember those?) was Blink-182’s Greatest Hits album in 2005.
That CD, though bootleg, was my golden ticket into the world of rock-n-roll. The genre, back then, was filled with all sorts of rock, from crappy-punk to screamo to Christian.
Rock-n-roll basically had no limits, which is why I instantly grew to love all that is rock. However, I never thought I’d live to see the day when the rockstars I fell in love with collaborated with some of my favorite rappers.
And, for starters, I kind of love it.
Let’s get one thing straight: I love music. All kinds. Rock, rap, house, reggaeton, reggae, hip-hop, you name it. This is why I can welcome these collabs I’m about to mention with open arms, while most music critics might see them as too over the top or as the death of rock-n-roll. But, as I always say, to each his own.
We should have seen these collabs coming when the Bamboozle Festival welcomed Snoop Dogg to the tri-state in 2008. This was the first time that Bamboozle welcomed an artist of that genre. Of course, it wasn’t the last.
In following festivals, performers like Drake, 50 Cent, Birdman and even Lil Wayne had headlining performances at Bamboozle.
We could have also seen it coming when Maroon 5 joined Rihanna in their re-release of the band’s song “If I Never See Your Face Again” in 2008 or when Paramore’s Hayley Williams joined B.o.B in his single “Airplanes” in 2010.
Though B.o.B and Rihanna are more pop stars than rappers, both collaborations brought fame for Maroon 5 and Paramore.
Maroon 5 has always had their share of fame in the music world, but Paramore, a once-underground band that I started listening to in 2007, was finally being welcomed to the world-stage of music. (I’m sure that I wasn’t the only one a little taken aback when I heard Hayley’s easy-to-recognize voice streaming through hit radio stations in the tri-state.)
America began to fall in love with rock bands.
Soon, rappers would do the same.
There are countless collaborations that have been released between rockers and rappers in recent months. Just to name a few: Blink182 and Yelawolf in “Pretty Little Girl;” Fall Out Boy and 2 Chainz in “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up);” and Adam Levine, 50 Cent and Eminem in “My Life.” If you want to go a little further back, we also have the recent Maroon 5 and Wiz Khalifa collab for “Payphone” (Mind you, I still think the song was perfectly fine without Wiz’s input. But, I admit, I do enjoy that man’s music).
Collaborations have always been a success for artists because they combine two separate (or more) fan bases and potentially open doors for musicians, which is what happened with Paramore and Maroon 5.
For Fall Out Boy, collaborating with 2 Chainz may be a good way to come back into the music world after a couple years of being off of the radar. The music video for “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark,” which was released a couple of weeks ago, signified a change in the band.
The video showed 2 Chainz and two other women enjoyably burning and blowtorching various Fall Out Boy memorabilia like guitars, drum sets, amps, posters, vinyl records, t-shirts and even “Take This to Your Grave,” the band’s second studio album released in 2003.
That album, arguably, was what originated Fall Out Boy’s fan base.
Their “Save Rock and Roll” tour scheduled to kick off in May and their next album (also titled “Save Rock and Roll”) suggest a change in the genre altogether: Fall Out Boy hopes to save rock-n-roll, but with the help of 2 Chainz? And a blowtorch?
I’m not entirely sure where they’re going with this, but we’ll be sure to find out in coming months.
Collaborating with rappers for Blink-182, on the other hand, might be a direct result of their drummer’s ongoing affair with rap and hip-hop.
Blink-182’s drummer, Travis Barker, has always had a love for hip-hop. With his 2010 release of “Can A Drummer Get Some,” his first solo album as a drummer, Barker had collaborations with big names like Swizz Beatz, Busta Rhymes, Lil Wayne and, yes, even Yelawolf, among others. (The album also featured Steve Aioki; this suggests future collaborations with veterans in the house genre. With the rise of electronic dance music or edm, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to see that happen too.)
The Yelawolf-Blink collab on “Pretty Little Girl,” a song off of their 2012 Christmas EP “Dogs Eating Dogs,” was the first time that Barker’s affair with rap or hip-hop impacted the band’s music.
For me, a die-hard Blink-182 fan, hearing a rap verse at the end of a Blink song was… different. But it’s something I could get used to since Blink-182 is becoming known for changing their sound with the release of their sixth studio album, “Neighborhoods” in 2011.
Essentially, these collaborations keep coming. Festivals and tours continue to welcome rappers on stage and rappers continue to find their ways into rock songs (or vice-versa).
Maybe it’s the success of music-veterans like Maroon 5 that attracted bands to follow their lead or maybe it’s the general broadening of audience’s tolerance for music. Or, maybe, it’s social media. (Social media seems to be the reason for everything lately.)
Will these collabs ever end? I don’t know and I’m not sure if I will ever have a definite answer, but what I do know is that it IS happening.