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Metal Collaborations: Why Don’t They Happen More Often?

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We don’t talk much about rap on this site, and with good reason: we’re not called RapSucks, we’re called MetalSucks. But I came across an article recently on Consequence of Sound that got me thinking.

A Tribe Called Quest, one of the most revered rap groups in history, released their first album in 20 years in 2016, We Got it From Here, Thank You for Your Service. Of course, Phife’s presence may be limited considering he died due to complications from diabetes during its recording, but it’s still incredible to note that we’ve gotten another album from these guys.

Now that you’ve got a little background, here’s what really intrigued me about the CoS article: it highlights the fact that the group enlisted Jack White, André 3000, Kendrick Lamar, Busta Rhymes, Elton John and a variety of other artists to help collaborate on its creation. This kind of thing is pretty common in the hip-hop world; guests are featured all the time, do a few bars, and move on. But in the metal world it’s relatively rare. Sure, there are instances where it exists — Gojira had Randy Blythe do guest vocals, Slayer’s Kerry King shredded with the Beastie Boys, Aerosmith worked with Run DMC back in the day, Metallica worked with the San Francisco Symphony for S&M, and Lou Reed on LuLu… Okay, maybe those last two aren’t the best examples.

So, here’s the question: what if your favorite metal artists sat down and decided to collaborate with a bunch of different artists from other genres to create a new album? Who would those guests be? How would it affect their sound?

You can pick artists dead or alive. After all, this is meant to be fun, and it’s all for the sake of conversation.

Just to get this started, here’s one of my dream lists:

Take the gents from Animals as Leaders and have them sit down with Les Claypool and get his input on how to incorporate wacky rhythms. Since AAL are instrumental you could easily get any number of vocalists from a variety of different genres to add some additional layers to a couple tracks (Greg Puciato, Fiest, Regina Spektor, Thom Yorke and Eminem would all be at the top of my list), and fly in Ulcerate’s Jamie Saint Merat and The Roots’ Questlove to toss around ideas on how to make the drums sound more unique. Finally, let’s get this entire new record produced by Heavy Devy and Rick Rubin.

Imagine “CAFO” era Seas of Cheese, coupled with some awesome added vocals/rap and drums that vary from crushing death metal to R&B, all mixed with the clarity and overwhelming sound that only Devin Townsend and Rick Rubin can get… Oh, lordy! The result would be a musical mindfuck, I think.

So, chime off in the comments, folks. Let me know what crazy combinations you think might work.

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