For his new mash-up show, Soundclash (airing tonight at 9pm on VH1), The Roots bandleader Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson pairs three artists from different genres and asks them to perform a concert together. Last week, he had rapper T.I. together with rockers Fall Out Boy and electro-pop outfit London Grammar. This week Sia, Ed Sheeran and Grouplove will perform. In honor of the show, we asked Questlove to tell us his three favorite most-unlikely duets of all time.
Michael Jackson feat. Paul McCartney - “The Girl is Mine”
“For this to be the first single of the greatest-selling album of all time was a super, super risky move on Michael Jackson's part—a middle-of-the-road kind of song at the lead-off to what was supposed to be the album that's going to save the music industry. The song still resonates.”
Chaka Khan feat. Melle Mel - “I Feel For You”
“I remember how shook up the world was when Mariah Carey and Ol' Dirty Bastard did “Fantasy,” which was amazing, however, for the historical sense of it all, not much credit is really given to Chaka Khan and Melle Mel for doing “I Feel for You,” which was, we take that for granted now. In 1984, the idea of mixing hip-hop with your R&B was such a radical idea. That's the first time, but now you've got like Method Man and Mary J. Blige did it, and Jay Z and Beyoncé are doing it, but the very first one to ever do it, that was a radical idea at the time.”
The Roots feat. Erykah Badu - “You Got Me”
“This collaboration saved my life. It was a life-changing moment because in the history of hip-hop, there's no such thing as fourth chances. Our first album came out to critical acclaim, and really no commercial pull. Second album came out, more critical acclaim, no commercial attraction. Third album, more critical acclaim, no commercial attraction, and then it was like, ‘Okay, how long it the label going to bet on us before we start to actually make sense?’ Suddenly, our fourth album, Things Fall Apart, which featured “You Got Me” makes it official. It got us our first Grammy, and that to me was just amazing.”