A Guide To Your Favorite Rappers’ Favorite Rockers
Bon Iver‘s self-titled sophomore album comes out tomorrow and why do I care? Because Kanye West collaborated with him on “Lost In The World” from last year’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album, that’s why. As a music lover who concentrates her passions primarily in the urban world, I never would’ve known about Bon Iver lead Justin Vernon‘s signature soulful (and effects-laden) falsetto had ‘Ye not introduced him into my sphere.
When big guns like Kanye and Jay-Z brought Coldplay‘s Chris Martin on board (big brother followed little brother, in this instance) to provide vocals for songs like 2008′s “Homecoming” and “Beach Chair,” they kicked off a trend for hip-hop acts to eschew R&B artists for their hooks and replace them with rock/indie rock favorites instead. Let’s take a look at some of the acts that make the cut.
Francis & The Lights: Last year Drake toured nationally with this act. The symbolic band name used by American performer and songwriter Francis Farewell Starlite, Francis & The Lights produced “Karaoke” from Drake’s debut album Thank Me Later and also covered Kanye’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” on the Guilt By Association Vol. 2 compilation album.
Passion Pit: Cambridge electro pop band Passion Pit have remixed tracks by rappers like Beastie Boys (“Make Some Noise”) and Theo Martins (a version of Bruno Mars‘ “Grenade”). Philly rap group Chiddy Bang then turned the tables and had their own online buzz single with “Truth,” sampling Passion Pit’s “Better Things.” The critical and increasingly commercial darlings (their music has featured on TV shows like Gossip Girl and Big Love) Passion Pit make music ripe for bedroom producers to combine it with more traditional rap, hence the reason YouTube is full of mashups featuring Mos Def, Lil Wayne and more.
Beach House: While The Weeknd isn’t a hip-hop act by any means, we’re claiming him for this article. The Toronto-based singer (born Abel Tesfaye) has sampled the hell out of Beach House, a “dream pop” slash indie rock duo who hail from Baltimore (a nice seaside town, right?) and are also a favorite of Jay-Z and Beyoncé, who’ve been spotted at their shows.
Kimya Dawson: Kimya is one half of the Moldy Peaches, a deeply-confessional singing/songwriting act that achieved crossover appeal with their song “Anyone Else But You” from the Juno soundtrack. Drake (he goes hard when it comes to these acts, right?) once wrote on his personal blog, “If I ever need an underwriter, I want it to be this girl.” Dawson’s been a little quiet as of late but has talked (via Twitter) about potentially collaborating with hip-hop acts like MURS.