Hip-hop joint albums are special whenever they release. Collaborations can occur between a rapper and producer, two rappers, a rapper and a singer-the list goes on. These collaborations can bring two artists from the same musical world, or it may seem unexpected on paper but work out surprisingly well. When these pairings happen, the discussions of who was the "best" is a popular and fun debate.
The chemistry between the artists matters most, and the better it is, the better the music will be. In hip-hop, joint albums are a staple. From rap's inception, artists have long partnered with each other. Who reigns supreme is debatable, but we've pulled together five joint projects that have excelled over others.
What A Time To Be Alive - Drake & Future (2015)
This is one of the biggest and most celebrated hip-hop joint projects ever. Released in September 2015, What A Time To Be Alive brought together two of the hottest rappers in the game. They recorded the project in six days. It was birthed from their collaborative song "Where Ya At."
After creating that song, the duo locked in and recorded even more. Composed of 11 tracks, the project has no features. The final two tracks are solo cuts from each artist. While not officially credited as a collaboration with Metro Boomin, he produced eight songs on the project. Amongst these was the project's biggest hit "Jumpman." This project capitalized on the popularity of two figures in the rap game and how their styles could complement each other.
This hip-hop joint album dropped when the two artists were at their peak. Lil Baby and Gunna are both artists from Atlanta and are at the helm of modern artists from the city. Their collab dropped in October 2018, the year both of them released several solo projects. Fittingly, the project's name combines the titles from their respective solo project series' Drip Season and Harder. They have featured on each other's music multiple times before. Listeners praised the melodic flows from both artists and their ongoing chemistry with producers Wheezy, Turbo, and Tay Keith. For many listeners, this album was one of the best trap projects of the year, containing the hits "Drip Too Hard" and the Drake-assisted "Never Recover."
SAVAGE MODE II - Metro Boomin & 21 Savage (2020)
This hip-hop joint album was speculated for years before it was released. However, once it was officially announced, listeners were excited. Savage Mode II was released in October 2020 and is the sequel to Metro Boomin and 21 Savage's collab project Savage Mode. For many people, the first project was their introduction to 21's music. The size of 21's audience had nearly tripled when they released the sequel. Metro Boomin had fully established himself as a talented producer too. Like most of Metro's work, this album had an excellent promo. A trailer, directed by Gibson Hazard and narrated by Morgan Freeman, preceded the album's release. Freeman also does narration throughout the project itself. The project balanced the eerie sounds the duo was known for with a few R&B tracks and even an old school-inspired one.
KIDS SEE GHOSTS - KIDS SEE GHOSTS (2018)
This hip-hop joint project was part of a very popular season for Kanye West - Summer of 2018. This was one of the five projects from the "Wyoming Sessions." This one finds him with a longtime collaborator and mentee, Kid Cudi. The duo has since ended their relationship. This album was only seven songs, but the impact was strong for many listeners. It showcased both artists at their most vulnerable, and through this, they created motivational songs.
They spoke about their mental struggles, and the album takes listeners on a journey of their struggles but eventual triumphs. The duo performed multiple tracks from the album at Camp Flog Gnaw 2018 while suspended in what appeared to be a clear shipping container. This album serves as a time capsule for the year they released it and for the duo's relationship both inside and outside of the music.
Watch The Throne - Kanye West & Jay-Z (2011)
This hip-hop joint album brought together two titans in the rap world. Everything about it catered to their established legacy. Many rap listeners knew about the friendship between Jay-Z and Kanye West. Watch The Throne was released in August 2011. The running theme around it was luxury in every sense of the word. The recording process, location, album cover, music videos, and verses all kept this theme going strong.
The album cover was designed by Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci and the late Virgil Abloh. One of the most notable moments from this album is the music video for the hit single "Otis," in which the duo modified a Maybach and drove it with reckless bliss. During a single show during their tour, the duo performed their hit "Paris" over ten times. Few have come close to the extravagance of this album.