With the recent release of “Cave Me In,” the hit collaboration single between American soul singer Gallant, South Korean crooner Eric Nam, and South Korean legendary lyricist extraordinaire TABLO, the idea of musical collaborations between East and West is not as far-fetched as previously thought. Inspired by this amazing development, here are 12 collaborations that are on every music lovers bucket list.
Rain & Beyoncé
Rasp, runs, growls, and range, this collaboration would be the very epitome of vocal greatness. It is a known fact that both artists can conquer any tempo and genre. With their effortless ability to reach incredible notes, it would be an undeniable treasure to hear a ballad featuring both these incredible artists. Alternatively, an up-tempo banger from these two would absolutely blow the roof off any arena, as it is also well known that both artists are able to perform vigorous choreography and give stellar vocal deliveries simultaneously.
Suga & Kendrick Lamar
This collaboration can be summed up in one word, PASSION. The cadences and delivery choices between these two are cerebrally incomprehensible. With Kendrick’s smooth growling tone in combination with Suga’s higher husky rasp, the resulting explosion of passionate wordplay and lyrical genius would make the forefathers of hip hop proud that there are still artists that take the mantle of true lyricism and artistry in hip hop as seriously as they did. A track that would allow both artists to accelerate from 0-100 in a defined space of time would be something to look forward to. Mix in Kendrick’s mastery of modulation and Suga’s signature timed and paced breathy delivery and the track would be simply magical.
Lee Hi & Adele
This pairing is one of the most hoped for collaborations along with one other on this list. Both of these legendary women have some of the most powerful vocals to date. The bluesy soul tones that both have would create a wonderful compliment on a track with a big band feel, complete with brass and woodwind instruments. Adele has demonstrated through songs like Chasing Pavements that she can successfully navigate songs with orchestral melodies. Lee Hi has an undeniable versatility that proves her ability to navigate any tempo or track. A jazz-inspired ballad would be a niche fit for this collaboration.
Ailee & JoJo
Power and energy are what this collaboration would bring. Ailee shows incredible vocal control in the song U&I, waiting until just the right moment to transcend into the heavens during the bridge of the song, while JoJo demonstrates in The Way You Do Me her ability to switch from staccato to legato vocally in the best way. With JoJo’s insane range and Ailee’s powerful vocals, an up-tempo diva track would not go amiss here.
V & Toni Braxton
R&B wrapped with a bow is a perfect description for this collaboration. Both of these phenomenal artists have similar tones. What makes this pairing unique is the fact that, while Toni Braxton has a lower register and range, V had a much wider range. This would enable harmonies in tones that have never been heard before between a male and female vocalist with their respective tones. A song in the realm of Unbreak My Heart or Stigma would put any vocal critique at rest.
Seo In Guk & Sam Smith
This pairing can be summed up in one word, TONE! The vocal tones that this pair produces hark back to the days of Luther Vandross and Lionel Richie. Although Seo In Guk’s vocal prowess was well established during his days as a ballad singer, his recent solo release Bebé showed that he does have the ability to successfully handle mid and up-tempo songs, while maintaining incredible vocal control and stability. Sam Smith has also shown that he has the fortitude to conquer a variety of tempos, as can be seen on his album “In the Lonely Hour”. A jazz or blues inspired track would fit firmly in the pocket of this pairing, creating a solid piece of work that both artists could rightfully be proud of.
D.O. & Kelly Rowland
The soul that this duet would deliver has the potential to shatter souls. Kelly Rowland’s career and body of work speaks for itself. As a 20-year veteran of the music industry, she knows how to work her way around a song to make it a masterpiece. Some excellent examples of this would be the songs “Stole”, “Can’t Nobody”, “Work”, “This is Love”, “Motivation”, “When Love Takes Over”, and “Dirty Laundry”. Her lower register gives her a unique edge, especially when she shows that she is capable of delivering strong and powerful vocals when needed. D.O. is also no slouch when it comes to vocal delivery. Throughout his career with EXO, he has become synonymous with control. He knows when to hold back and when to explode with runs and power vocals. He also has an impressive range and tone that, when paired with the lower tones and range of Kelly Rowland, would create something spectacular, regardless of genre.
CL & Rihanna
The track that would be birthed from the Bajan-Korean duo would be the thing of dreams. Although both artists can accomplish a lot with ballads, they are known for their up-tempo club bangers. One can only imagine the utter sonic obliteration that would result if Rihanna had a feature on “The Baddest Female” or if CL had 16 bars on “S&M”. Both artists could feed off each other and create a legendary party anthem for the ages.
Jessi & Eve
The female representatives for true hip hop have been dwindling since the early 2010s. This pair, however, could singlehandedly revive female hip hop. One does not even need to look at a full song of Jessi to discover her lyrical and tonal prowess. Her performance in her phone commercial with BTS is enough to show the raw potential hidden in her rough tone and cadences. Eve has a discography that speaks for itself. No matter what type of track or lyric, Eve delivers every single time, which is the reason why she is the first ever female MC to win a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. A combination from these two lyricists would be nothing short to powerful.
TaeYang & Usher
This is probably the most sought after and most obvious pairing in the global music industry. It is common knowledge that Usher is a major influence of TaeYang. As such, a collaboration between student and teacher would be a treat for any music enthusiast. Both artists have shown over their combined 32 year career (10 and 22 years respectively) that they are fully able to give high octane and engaging performances as well as soft, soulful, and sultry moments when appropriate. A song in the lane of Usher’s “Confessions” or TaeYang’s “I Need A Girl” would be absolute dynamite.
Rap Monster & Jay Z
When it comes to wordplay in the K-Pop industry, a recurring name that must be recognized, fan or not, is Rap Monster. In his short three-year career, he has demonstrated more lyrical genius and writing quality than some do in an entire decade. Add to that his love affair with English and Korean wordplay on top of his ability to ride and blend with melodies, and you have a truly monstrous rapper. His song “Do You” from his solo mix tape, RM, is an outstanding example of his delivering abilities as a lyricist, as he changes his own tempo an astounding eight times without missing a single opportunity to capitalize on the simplistic beat used as a canvas. Jay Z has also shown over his lengthy career that he has a lyricism and cadence to be reckoned with. Modulation is his signature, as no two songs have the same cadence, although they may be very similar. A track with a similar sound to “Awakening” from RM would be the niche fit for both lyrical geniuses to go wild on.
Jay Park & Tinashe
Smooth as silk would be the theme for this pair. Jay Park has been known to deliver sultry R&B moments as well as off-the-wall hip hop anthems with great success. Whether in English or Korean, he has proven time and again that it is a cake walk for him to make any listener jump or melt. Tinashe’s vocals are not to be trifled with either. Her ability to shine through any melody can be seen throughout her discography. With a strong chest and mixed voice, she would be an excellent complement to Jay Park’s higher tone. A track like “All Hands On Deck” or Welcome” would be the epitome of ear candy.
These are only some of the possible collaborations that would make any music enthusiast swoon, weep, and wail, regardless of his or her preferred genre. Given the fact the Korean music industry is becoming more mainstreamed, these collaborations may just manifest themselves in the not so distant future.