The 10 Best R&B Songs with Rap Features of All Time
When you listen to a modern day R&B song one of the most common things you notice is a rap collaboration. The rapper may be a featured artist. The rapper may share the song with the r&b singer. Either way it’s no big deal to have hip hop presence in an r&b hit. It’s hard to imagine a mainstream or independent r&b song without some type of hip hop presence. Some of the best r&b songs of all time have a rapper featuring in it. It may be surprising to know that there was a point and time where it was uncommon for a rapper to collaborate with an r&b singer or work with a r&b songwriter. It’s very mainstream and popular now. Certain songs helped make this combination popular. Certain songs literally pioneered r&b featuring rap. Here is our list of the 10 best r&b songs with hip hop features.
10) Goodies – Ciara featuring Petey Pablo
Coming in at #10 on our list of best r&b songs featuring rappers is “Goodies” by Ciara featuring Petey Pablo. Debuting the summer of 2004 this upbeat, catchy and infectious track became an instant hit. It was Ciara’s debut single that introduced her and her amazing dance skills to the world. Inspired by the popular crunk sound of the south and the sensual vocals of Janet Jackson and Aaliyah, Goodies quickly went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts. Rapper Petey Pablo intro and main verse helped take the single to the next level and appeal to various audiences. Goodies became a favorite for the r&b, hip hop, youth and elder crowd. It became the longest running debut single by a female artist since 1977. This and many more reasons is why Goodies make our list of best r&b songs with rap features.
9) Can’t you see – Total featuring Notorious Big aka Biggie Smalls
Another amazing r&b song that featured a rapper is “Can’t you see” by Total featuring the legendary Biggie Smalls aka Notorious Big. The single was r&b group Total debut single. It was definitely a hit amongst the r&b and hip hop crowd. With Total’s sweet, hip and urban style perfectly blended together, this all girl trio quickly caught the public’s eye. “Can’t you see” topped went to #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, while also topping the hip hop and r&b charts. It even made it to the U.K. Singles Chart. One of the reasons this single is considered one of the best r&b songs featuring a rapper is due to its groundbreaking effect. It paved the way for future r&b artists and girl groups to have a feminine yet urban sound. It also featured one of the greatest rappers of all time which helped make the single even more of a classic. “Can’t you see” legacy went on land the single the #28 position on Billboard’s 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time.
8) I can love you – Mary J. Blige featuring Lil Kim
#8 on our countdown of best r&b songs featuring a rapper is “I can love you” by Mary J. Blige featuring Lil Kim. A slow to mid-tempo single off her hit album “Share my world” was released in May of 1997. The single quickly became a fan favorite and went to #28 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. The combination of Mary J. Blige’s raw, r&b vocals and Lil Kim’s pure, rhythmic rap lyrics make this single a modern day classic. It’s one of Mary J. Blige’s singles that helped seal her title as “The Queen of Hip Hop Soul.” It’s also one of the most popular 90s r&b songs that helped make a r&b and hip hop collaboration mainstream. The single topped the U.S and U.K charts.
7) I feel for you – Chaka Khan featuring Melle Mel
An iconic r&b and rap duo is “I feel for you” by Chaka Khan featuring Melle Mel of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. This remake of Prince original 1979 song became very popular and successful when Chaka Khan recorded her rendition in 1984. It shot to #1 on the charts and generated 2 grammy awards. Chaka Khan’s version which featured Melle Mel was not only a huge hit but made history. Chaka Khan and Melle Mel duo was the 1st r&b and hip hop collaboration. It was the 1st time a singer featured a rapper in their song. This song literally pioneered r&b singers and rappers working together. This reason alone is why “I feel for you” has to be on our list of best r&b songs that features a rapper.
6) Lady Marmalade – Christina Aguilera, Mya and Pink featuring Lil Kim
The 2000’s remake of legend Patti LaBelle hit not only blended r&b and hip hop, it combined r&b, hip hop and pop altogether in one mega-hit. The 2001 version of “Lady Marmalade” recorded by Mya, Pink and Christina Aguilera featured female rapper Lil Kim. This perfectly mixed the sensual vocals of r&b and pop with the raw lyrics of hip hop. Audiences instantly fell in love with the record and it became an international hit. It shot to #1 on the charts and was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for nine consecutive weeks straight. It became the top selling song of the year 2001. The song even won a grammy award in 2002. By this time period yes plenty of singers were collaborating with rappers. However, remaking a superstar like Patti LaBelle song over and having 3 different genres record it really took r&b and hip hop collaborations to another level. Not only was “Lady Marmalade” one of the best r&b songs of the 2000’s, it’s still highly celebrated today.
5) Best of me (remix) – Mya featuring Jay-Z
#5 on our list of best r&b songs with hip hop features is “Best of me (remix)” by singer Mya featuring Jay-Z. This modern day urban classic is arguably one of the top r&b songs of all time in general. It’s still loved by many today and it’s r&b singer Mya signature song. With it’s sweet, angelic r&b vocals sung by Mya. It’s dominant, mesmerizing hip hop beat produced by Trackmasters. It’s captivating lyrical rap verse recorded by Jay-Z, what’s not to love about this song? Although not as chart-topping as some of its fellow r&b singles at the time, “Best of me” went on to be requested and loved by audiences especially in the hip hop community. It went on to be celebrated and viewed as one of the best 2000’s hip hop and r&b songs. Some even consider it one of Jay-Z’s best features.
4) Yeah – Usher featuring Ludacris and Lil Jon
Making our list of best r&b songs that features rapper in the #4 position is “Yeah” by Usher featuring Ludacris and Lil Jon. Released in 2004 off his modern day classic album “Confessions“, the single “Yeah” became a huge hit right away. The moment you heard it you knew it was a smash. Audiences quickly fell in love with it and it became an international hit. The single went to #1 on the Billboard Charts and remained there for 12 weeks straight. Not only did “Yeah” top the American charts it went to #1 in 12 other countries. This helped make Usher was one of the most popular artists of the 2000’s and helped his “Confessions” album achieve worldwide success. 2 parties on the single that helped take it to the top were rapper Ludacris and producer Lil Jon. Yes there were other r&b singers who collaborated with rappers. However, the single Yeah is a modern day classic that has the perfect combination of urban appeal, r&b vocals, pure hip hop and mainstream influence. It’s one of the few r&b songs that features a rapper that crossed all barriers.
3) Umbrella – Rihanna featuring Jay-Z
A popular r&b song with a hip hop feature that definitely went to another level is “Umbrella” by Rihanna featuring Jay-Z. This mega-hit deserves to be #3 on our list of best r&b songs with a rap feature for more reasons than one. Released in early 2007 as soon as it premiered it was an international hit. It was almost as if it went to #1 on the charts in a matter of moments. Not only did it top the U.S charts it quickly topped the international charts and made it one of the most popular songs of the year. Not only did “Umbrella” perfectly mixed r&b and hip hop, it also added in a splash of rock and pop influence. It was the single that literally took Rihanna to superstar status. It was deemed as her “claim to fame.” Another element that helped the song achieve its amazing success was the original, genius rap lyrics of hip hop legend Jay-Z. The song epitomized the mentor and protege relationship of Jay-Z and Rihanna. If r&b and hip hop collaborations weren’t mainstream before, they certainly were after “Umbrella.” The song is so celebrate it even made #412 on Rolling Stone’s The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
2) Crazy in love – Beyonce featuring Jay-Z
#2 on our list of the best r&b songs that features a rapper is “Crazy in love” by Beyonce featuring Jay-Z. This upbeat, spunky and modern day classic hit literally became an iconic piece of art. From it’s catchy, upbeat tempo, amazing sample of The Chi-Lites “Are you my woman (tell me so)“, Beyonce’s melodic vocals and Jay-Z’s perfectly added hip hop bars, this single was destined to become a mega-hit. Reaching #1 on the Billboard Charts in 2003, it soon became Beyonce’s signature hit and the song that took her to international stardom. The song’s feature of rapper Jay-Z would end up becoming one of the 1st of many more collaborations to come between the 2. The song’s international and pop culture success made r&b and hip hop collaborations more mainstream than ever. It became a match made in heaven for the r&b diva and hip hop mogul. “Crazy in love” i still one of Beyonce’s most celebrated hits today and still very much performed at all of her concerts and shows. Not only does it tops our list of best r&b songs that features a hip hop artist. It also topped several other lists including Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, 100 Greatest Summer Songs and it’s been named The Greatest Song of the 21st Century.
1) Fantasy (remix) – Mariah Carey featuring O.D.B.
Coming in at #1 on our list of greatest r&b songs with rap features is “Fantasy (remix)” by legendary Mariah Carey featuring O.D.B. This modern day classic is the standard for a r&b hit accompanied by a rapper. Released in 1995, the song immediately became a hit and went to #1 on the Billboard Charts. It also became the 2nd song in Billboard history to debut at #1 on the charts. Not only was the song a huge success in the U.S, it also generated international success. “Fantasy (remix)” helped Mariah Carey cross-over to the hip hop audience and paved the way for future collaborations between her and other rappers. The single received great reviews and was highly acclaimed by music critics. It also became one of Mariah’s most popular hits to date. Although it’s not the very 1st r&b/pop song to feature a rapper, it still deserves a lot of pioneer credit. Before “Fantasy (remix)” there weren’t many pop or r&b songs with hip hop features that reached mainstream success. There were a few but it wasn’t happening on a consistent basis. Mariah Carey’s 1995 international hit featuring O.D.B. started the trend of having rappers feature a pop song that achieved mainstream success. It seems very common now but at the time when Mariah Carey did it it was considered “taboo.” She took a major risk and had to fight with her record label to make the now legendary collaboration happen. After the success of “Fantasy (remix)” more pop and r&b artists started to collaborate with rappers on a regular basis. It no longer became “risk taking” or “frowned upon.” Without Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy (remix)” with O.D.B. we wouldn’t have half of the modern day pop/r&b hip hop mixtures we all love.