Like a lot of Soundgarden fans, I bit my tongue a bit (OK, a lot, like, until there was blood and maybe some permanent damage) when I heard rock god Chris Cornell was working on an album with Timbaland. I’m all for my heroes stepping out of the box and trying something unusual, because lord knows, three Audioslave albums was two too many. But now that I’ve heard the results, I’m not so sure.
Granted, I’ve only peeped about 30 seconds of a handful of songs Cornell debuted earlier this week, so it’s way too early to make a judgment, but based on what I did hear, it’s actually not unusual enough. Timbaland and Chris Cornell is kind of exactly what you’d expect: Cornell’s meaty vocals over Timbaland’s squeaky, freaky, stuttering beats, some of which sound like they might have been swept up off the floor from the last Justin Timberlake session. It’s like they both came to the studio with their parts and then superglued their personas together.
Plenty of Cornell’s red-meat(head) fans are likely to revolt and decry his crossover to the pop side, but if nothing else, Scream just makes me want to go listen to some of the truly bizarre rock-rap collaborations that have won me over in the past. They didn’t just lay the artists next to, or on top of each other; they seamlessly blended them. Yes, Run-DMC and Aerosmith kicked the walls down with their legendary take on “Walk This Way,” but here are some other cross-genre hookups that have rocked my world:
O.D.B. covers Phil Collins: When Dirty put his mitts on “Sussudio,” forget about it. Every bit as bananas as you’d expect.
Dr. Dre and Burt Bacharach: We know the good Dr. loves a smooth chorus, but his subtle beats on At This Time, the 2005 album by legendary pop songwriter Bacharach, threw everyone for a loop (even though he doesn’t actually rap on it).
Nelly and Tim McGraw: OK, this one kind of sucked, but we give Nelly credit for trying.
Jay-Z and Linkin Park: These guys didn’t just try one song, they did a whole album together, Collision Course … and it (mostly) killed, because they took the best of each other and made it work together.
Rihanna and Maroon 5: On “If I Never See Your Face Again,” these two are like butter. We need more than just a song.
What are your favorite rock/rap mashups?