By Shawn McFarland
To some, it might just be another album. But to others, a potential collaboration between Chance the Rapper and Childish Gambino could be downright historic.
While nothing is set in stone just yet, Donald Glover (a.k.a Childish Gambino) didn’t rule out a project between the two stars when he appeared on Big Boy’s Neighborhood.
“We definitely met up,” Glover said. “I don’t know if I’ll see him again now that he’s won a Grammy. We’ll see what happens. We actually sat down in the studio and were talking for a little bit. I mean we’re both busy but when he has like a moment we’ve just been sitting down and just working together. I think it’s about catching a vibe.”
It’s far from outlandish. The two do have a musical history, as Gambino was featured on “Favorite Song,” a track off of Chance’s Acid Rap mixtape. Collaborations do have a track record of success as well. Jay Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne (2011) spent its fair share of time atop the U.S Billboard Top 200, as did Drake and Future’s What a Time to Be Alive (2015).
Gambino and Chance could be the next duo to follow in the footsteps set before them, but they aren’t the only attractive pair of artists who could drop a hit album if they teamed up.
Travis Scott and Young Thug
Like Chance and Childish, there’s an established past with these two. “Pick up the Phone” off of Travis Scott’s Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight was one of the top songs of 2016, while “Floyd Mayweather” of Young Thug’s JEFFERY was one of the summer’s most-played songs – both songs had the pair of artists on each. The duo clearly has chemistry, and each others styles compliment each other well.
Both are two of the premier trap artists around, and have helped bring the rap subculture to new levels. Young Thug’s JEFFERY and Scott’s Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight made enormous waves in the rap game in 2016, and fans are clearly hungry for more from both.
Scott’s methodical verses pair well with Young Thugs uptempo bars, and each tend to rap over similar beats. Both hit new peaks in 2016 and are primed for strong 2017’s on individual levels – but together, something special could be produced.
YG and Kendrick Lamar
Ok folks, bear with me on this one. Yes, Kendrick Lamar is arguably one of the top-five most talented rappers in the game, while YG is optimistically a B-list artist, there’s potential for something special here, and it isn’t necessarily because the two have incredible chemistry.
The two have differing styles: YG has a bouncier, upbeat flow which has a 90’s West Coast vibe (see: the entirety of Still Brazy) while K-Dot combines powerful lyrics with a unique jazz-fusion flow.
But where the duo can shine the most is in its message: both rappers are politically outspoken, and the current social atmosphere could use the likes of celebrities, athletes and musicians voicing their opinions more than ever.
Neither have shied away from doing so in the past, either. YG released a song this summer on Still Brazy called “FDT,” short for “Fuck Donald Trump.” Yeah, that’s about as straightforward of a title as one can muster, and he doesn’t pull any punches: “He too rich, he ain’t got the answers / He can’t make decisions for this country, he gon’ crash us / No, we can’t be a slave for him.”
Lamar, on the other hand, has masterfully used his lyrics to promote African American pride. On “Blacker the Berry,” off of his 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly, Lamar dishes on the pride he has in his culture: “I’m African-American, I’m African/ I’m black as the moon, heritage of a small village/ Pardon my residence/ Came from the bottom of mankind.”
Artists might have more social power now than ever before. Many have already made steps in using their platform for good – Kendrick Lamar and YG could do just that.
Chance the Rapper and Kanye West
This one is a softball. It seems too easy, and given the fact that Kanye West had a hand in putting Chance the Rapper on and has already referred to him as “the future of rap,” it could potentially be historic for the rap industry.
Ever since Chance the Rapper spit the best verse of 2016 on Kanye’s “Ultralight Beam” (I won’t be debated on this, either. I don’t care if the Pope dropped a mixtape and gave God a verse, it still wouldn’t top the goosebump-inducing masterpiece that Chance laid at the end of ULB.) the two Chicago rappers have been linked left and right.
While West is arguably one of the most iconic rappers of all time, he clearly respects the 23-year old Chance’s opinions. In fact, West delayed the release of his seventh studio album The Life of Pablo after Chance felt that “Waves” – a song he wasn’t even on – needed to be worked on.
The respect is more than mutual. Chance even went out of the way to rank West’s albums after he felt that Complex had don it all wrong:
— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) January 5, 2017
Like Childish and Chance, a collaboration is realistic. Chance even teased one back in September of 2016:
The collaboration in question is currently rumored to be Good Ass Job, a working title that has been thrown around on several of Kanye’s previous albums. But it seems like it may finally be seeing the light of day thanks to some help from Chance. “It’s something that comes up in conversation every once in a while,” he says during the interview, “We definitely have at least two songs I could say I know would be on Good Ass Job.”Face it: if you polled 1,000 random rap and hip-hop fans, I’d venture a guess that 90% of them would have both West and Chance ranked in the top-five rappers in the game right now.
A Chance and Kanye collaboration would be historic. It would be better than What a Time to Be Alive. It would be better than Watch the Throne. It could go down as one of the best albums of all time.