Rap music has historically been a competitive scene, but lately its big-name players have been unafraid to team up for more than a quick track.
In 2011, it was Jay-Z and Kanye West joining together for the luxury album “Watch the Throne.” Just a few months ago, Drake and Future teamed up to celebrate life with the hit mixtape “What a Time to be Alive.”
And early next year, we could see a truce between two undisputed top-five superstars. That’s the hint dropped by J. Cole on a punchy new remix of Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright,” which was released on Black Friday. “But this February, bet s--t get crazy when I f--k around and drop,” Cole teases before the track cuts off.
Lending credence to this theory is the fact that Lamar dropped his own remix on Black Friday, a ferocious four minutes of bars over Cole’s “A Tale of 2 Citiez.” “I’m yelling Mr. Kanye West for president,” Lamar barks on the remix, touching briefly on politics in the midst of an epic stream-of-consciousness outpour.
Both tracks are welcome treats to go with some Thanksgiving leftovers, but leave the listener salivating for more. Rumors of a collaboration between the two rappers have bounced around the Internet for a while now, and both have acknowledged their desire to work together publicly.
Lamar’s sister Kayla added fuel to the fire with an Instagram post suggesting a collaborative project would drop on Feb. 16. The post has since been deleted.
There is great potential should the rumors come to fruition. Cole found a groove with last December’s slick “2014 Forest Hills Drive,” in which his own production finally meshed well with his penchant for lyrical dexterity. The album is heavy on both radio hits and meaningful raps.
Lamar extended his own winning streak in March with the masterful “To Pimp a Butterfly,” which took his concept album formula and swapped in a slate of funky production to massive critical acclaim. The album landed a 96 rating on critical aggregate site Metacritic, the fourth-highest score an album has ever received in the site’s 16-year history.
Should the two work together, a commercial release has the potential to top both “Throne” and “What a Time” in sales. Both Cole and Lamar have platinum albums under their belts, with “Forest Hills Drive,” becoming the first hip-hop album without a single guest feature since 1989.
Lamar would be a remarkably high-profile guest, as his 2012 breakout effort “good kid, m.A.A.d city” passed 1.3 million copies sold in January 2015, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
If these two released a full project together, it would be a heck of a spectacle. If the “Black Friday” remixes are any indication, Cole and Lamar are ready to bring the heat again, and they would surely bring out the best in each other over the course of a full-length project.
Tyler Keating is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.