Best Musical Collaborations

Best Musical Collaborations
ESSENCE.COM Apr, 09, 2012

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We don’t condone catfights, but it sure sounded good when these two R&B princesses released this melodic duke-out about who was the better woman for their two-timing man with “The Boy is Mine” in 1998. In 2012 they came back with “It All Belongs to Me,” a follow-up song that showed the two had cleared the air about their old (fictional) flame.

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Gaye and Terrell recorded several duets together but none showed just how sweet their vocal chemistry was quite like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” The R&B classic is still the soundtrack of our lives.

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MJB and Method Man remixed Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “You’re All I Need to Get By” into one of hip hop and R&B sweetest partnerships. This classic will forever be an example of how the hip-hop generation views love.

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On “When You Believe,” Mariah and Whitney proved that two divas could occupy the same space at the same time. And the results? Out of this world. The song, featured in the animated movie The Prince of Egypt, received a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Collaboration in 2000.

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By far one of the greatest love songs of all time, Diana Ross and Lionel Richie’s vocal compatibility on “Endless Love” was just right for this ballad. The song would receive two Grammy nominations for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group and Record of the Year in 1982.

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It’s hard to pick just one song from hip hop kings and constant collaborators Jay-Z and Kanye West. It goes without saying that no matter they put out — from “N***as in Paris” to “Otis” — Jay and Ye are a dream collaboration come true.

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The self-proclaimed musical soulmates proved just how vocally connected they were on the classic “Fire and Desire.” By the end of this romantic duet, released a year after Marie made her debut, the blue-eyed soul singer unleashed some of her most memorable ad-libs in her signature soprano.

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A master at R&B duets, Eric Benét teamed up with Faith Evans in 1999 to give us a soulful remake of Toto’s “Georgy Porgy.” Benét also released “Spend My Life with You,” a duet with Tamia that was nominated for a Grammy.

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On “Count on Me,” a single from the soundtrack of Waiting to Exhale, real-life pals Whitney Houston and CeCe Winans sing about the joys of strong female friendships. Unsurprisingly, the song is a certified tearjerker.

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Some love songs are just so sweet they’re hard to forget. With their classic, “Where Is the Love?” Flack and Hathaway raised the bar for good R&B duets.

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Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ collaboration on “Empire State of Mind” had us all feeling like a New Yorker and quickly became the go-to anthem for dreamers looking to be in the “concrete jungle, where dreams are made.”

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The dance hall king and singing sensation got hips moving with this sexy summer anthem at the height of the reggaeton run on “Baby Boy.”

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With “Summertime,” Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff gave us a summer anthem we’ll be playing at every BBQ and pool party for the rest of our days. It won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Single in 1991.

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Mariah and Boyz II Men collaborated on “One Sweet Day” in 1995, which turned out to be the sweetest and most successful singles of all time. It continues to hold the record for spending the most weeks (16) at number one on the Billboard charts.

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Rihanna and T.I. smashed the airwaves with the uplifting “Live Your Life,” a rare hip hop song that reflects on being thankful.