Over the past few years hip hop has been defined by the re-emergence of the collective.
From A$AP Mob to Odd Future, OVO to Brick Squad, the success of collectives has proved there’s strength in numbers – but this year looks set to see the return of the rap duo.
Back in the ‘Golden Age’ duos ran the airwaves: Erik B and Rakim, Mobb Deep, OutKast, Clipse, MOP and UGK all left an enduring legacy. However, for the last decade, with the exception of the odd collaborative album, the magic of a two-person team-up has been missing from hip hop’s second peak.
2016 is the year that’s all set to change. As legends team up on the mic, underground duos redefine the game and the release of collaborative album we’ve been waiting on for years, we look ahead to give you the 7 rap duos that will run 2016.
ColleGrove (Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz)
Two of trap’s biggest names released their first full-length collaboration today. Since announcing their ColleGrove project back in November, 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne have kept details pretty sparse, building up the hype slowly but surely, and regardless of how you feel about Wayne or the artist formerly known as ‘Tity Boi’, ColleGrove is kind of a big deal considering both MCs have out of the spotlight for a minute (despite the recent release of 2 Chainz’ Felt Like Cappin mixtape).
Following a questionable run of mixtapes himself, Weezy’s fans are going to be hoping that 2 Chainz can inject some energy back into the veteran MC on this project. Judging by the pairs performance on The Tonight Show with The Roots a couple of weeks back, they don’t have much to worry about.
Martin Shkreli might know how to get under the rap game’s skin, but Ghostface Killah knows who hip hop’s real Super-Villain is. Ghost and MF Doom have been promising an album together since what feels like before hip hop began and have been teasing tracks from it since last year when they dropped Lively Hood.
The album was due out in February, however, and because this is a Doom project, February has been and gone and all we have is a possible album cover. It might be safe to say that if/when DOOMSTARKS finally drops every underground rap fan from here to Shaolin is going to lose their minds.
French Montana & A$AP Rocky
This might seem like a somewhat unlikely pairing considering Rocky moves in some pretty high-class circles these days, and French Montana is well, French Montana. However, according to an interview the Wave Gods MC gave on DJ Khaled’s Apple Music show, the pair have not only music, but ‘movies’ on the way as well.
That said, French managed to enlist Nas and Kanye for a track on his latest mixtape, and Rocky and French have already teamed up on Wave Gods cut Off the Rip (Remix), so stranger things have happened in hip hop. As far as movies go, we’re holding out for a buddy movie in which the two New York MCs bust Max B out of prison.
J. Cole & Kendrick Lamar
A joint Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole album would be the millennial equivalent of Madvillainy 2 actually getting confirmed. Every now and again some blog or hip hop Twitter account announces a release date and everybody jumps on it.
Prince is supposed to be involved, as is Drake, but the more we hear about the project the more it feels like an urban legend (no pun intended). Who knows, maybe they’ll pull a Beyoncé on us.
Run The Jewels
Do we really need to tell you why Run The Jewels are on this list? As far as rap duos go, RTJ have set the modern standard, and by combining the best parts of El-P’s dystopian New York production and Killer Mike’s southern flow, the pair have taken the world by storm with their two studio albums.
Hard at work on their third (between Bernie Sanders campaign stops of course) 2016 is unlikely to be a quiet year for the pair.
Ho9909 have been around for a minute and while their brand of hardcore punk influenced horrorcore may not be to everyone’s taste, the duo are the most obvious successors to Odd Future’s anarchic crown now that Tyler has been banned from our shores.
Their latest mixtape, Dead Bodies in the Lake, dropped in November and they’re racking up festival slots by the day. If they manage to translate the sheer insanity of their live show onto the larger the stages, Ho99o9 will be a defining act in 2016’s festival season.