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Lists: Kanye West's five strangest collaborations

bon iverKanye collaborating with this guy? Well, it's bound to be better than when he worked with Jared Leto. (Drew Kaiser)

By Allison Stewart

The news that Kanye West's new disc will include at least one track recorded with bearded hipster deity Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver) got Click Track thinking about 'Ye's history of random collaborations.

Thanks to his enduring combination of shamelessness and plugged-in-ness, West is an expert at seeking out mutually beneficial collaborations with artists in other genres who are slightly less famous, and slightly more cool, than he. This is something we've always liked about him, though admittedly, it doesn't explain his threatened teaming with Justin Bieber. Not sure what's going on there.

We've itemized some of West's more unorthodox pairings below. Not included: The upcoming Yeezy/T-Swift rematch at this year's VMAs. Brace yourselves, people: You know it's coming.

1. Kanye and Patti Labelle: "Anything"
Well-intentioned, but awkward. From Labelle's 2006 devotional album, "The Gospel According to Patti Labelle."

2. Kanye and Takashi Murakami: "Good Morning"
The beloved Japanese artist (and fellow Louis Vuitton designer) animated West's best video, and created the album art (we think it's a vomiting astronaut?) for "Graduation."

(Kanyeezy and the guy from Coldplay, after the jump)

3. Kanye and Thirty Seconds to Mars: "Hurricane"
We think this is pretty terrible, but we've always had a Jared Leto problem. In Kanye's defense, he doesn't seem to be trying all that hard hard here.

4. Kanye and Chris Martin: "Homecoming"
The Coldplay frontman had already collaborated with Jay-Z by the time this track was released, so he was already superstar-rapper-approved. It shouldn't work-it's busy and the melody is all over the place-but it does.

5. Kanye and Bon Iver: Untitled Song To Be Released Some Time In The Future. Or Not.
We haven't even heard this collaboration, mostly because it may not exist yet, but just the mere idea of it is enough to earn it a spot on our list. What we're guessing it will sound like: lots of choral-inspired, looped vocals (does Bon Iver even do anything else? He should work on that.) and, if the recent remix of "Power" is any guide, shout-outs to John Cheever.

By Allison Stewart  |  August 25, 2010; 12:19 PM ET
Categories:  Lists  | Tags: Bon Iver, Coldplay, Kanye West  
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Next: Clicky shuffle: Random songs for Thursday morning


Not sure if this is weird as it is not so well known but the collabo between West and the Teriyaki boys for the song "I Still Love H.E.R"

Posted by: Zamora1 | August 25, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I almost put that on! Also his collaboration with Adam Levine from Maroon Five. Then I decided that wasn't weird, just unappealing.

Posted by: Allison Stewart | August 25, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

This is quite funny, you see just the other day I was reading a PopEater article entitled "Hip-Hop's Most Unlikely Collaborations" which, much like you did, listed various "weird" hip hop collabs. Sure enough, it was pretty much everytime a rapper made a song with a white musician/group.

As for this article, as far as I'm concerned, Patti Labelle makes for a nice token and Kanye's collab with Takashi Murakami was more of a visual collab than a musical one.

That aside, "Heard 'em Say" was "unappealing?" Forserious? I'm a proud contrarian but even I must say that like a LOT of his fans (as far as his music anyway) I believe that, next to "Spaceship" and "Jesus Walks," its Ye's best song. Sure it not without its flaws, (ie the farting bassline lol) and no, it wasn't a big fat pop hit like its preceding single "Gold Digger" but it hit a place that I wish Kanye would express more often. I also really like how he decided to push the guitar into the background so the song undermined the cliche somber acoustic guitar-driven deal.

Although I enjoyed the song at first, I've come to find "Homecoming" fairly mediocre. If we were to compare it with "Beach Chair" (and you just know we have to), Jay-Z songs crushes it like a sledgehammer. Requisite Jay-Z quote/paraphrase accomplished.

Not looking forward to the Bon Iver thing but I've been wrong before.

Posted by: JakeJohnson1 | August 25, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

I always found it curious/interesting that he worked with Jon Brion, producer for Aimee Mann and Fiona Apple among many, soundtrack creator for Magnolia (among others) and former member of Jellyfish and the criminally unknown band The Grays.

Posted by: Handsome_John_Pruitt | August 26, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse


Aw, you beat me to it. I was gonna say that Late Registration as a whole should be considered "strange" seeing as it was co-produced by a white guy. A white guy who admittedly didn't know the first thing about making hip hop music. Yet somehow it work, marvelously so in my opinion.

Sidebar: Forgive me for not being able to fully articulate my feelings towards the songs "Heard 'Em Say", "Homecoming", and practically this entire article. The library I was in was closing.

Warms my heart to know that at least one other person is aware of the former existance of The Grays.

Posted by: JakeJohnson1 | August 27, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

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