This week marked the long-anticipated arrival of Watch the Throne, Jay-Z and Kanye West’s superstar collaboration album. The buzz is big and it looks like the album is going to easily top the charts (it’s already No. 1 on iTunes in 23 different countries).
We couldn’t be happier for Hova and Ye, and you can find all sorts of awesome info on them and their record over at MTV RapFix. But here in the MTV Newsroom, well, we’re in the business of divas and can’t even hear the name Jay-Z without thinking of his better half, Beyonce.
Inspired by Watch The Throne, we got to thinking about Bey’s best collabos. Let’s take a look at some of the best.
“Baby Boy,” featuring Sean Paul
The original Beyonce solo collabo (she appeared without her Destiny’s Child bandmates for the first time on “03 Bonnie and Clyde,” but “Baby Boy” was the first collaboration on which she had top billing). The song was the second single from Bey’s debut album, Dangerously In Love. The well-reviewed track was a meld of R&B and dancehall reggae and spent nine weeks atop the Billboard singles chart, the most for any Beyonce song until “Irreplaceable” was released almost four years later.
“Check On It,” featuring Slim Thug
Beyonce’s third number one hit, “Check On It” is often thought to be from the film “The Pink Panther,” in which Beyonce appeared. But, random fact, though it was originally intended for the soundtrack it does not appear there – it was ultimately released on Destiny’s Child’s greatest hits album, #1s, and was also made available as a bonus track on deluxe editions of B’Day, Beyonce’s second solo album. Either way, the video does incorporate imagery from the film, which was a modest box office hit for the songbird, grossing over $82 million in the U.S.
“Deja Vu,” featuring Jay-Z
Here’s the thing: Beyonce and Jay-Z have produced so many fantastic songs together that you could make an entire “best of” list exclusive to their collaborations. “Crazy in Love” is a modern classic, “03 Bonnie and Clyde” is where is all started, “Upgrade U” is, well, it’s just a fantastic jam. With that in mind, for this list, we’re only going with one Bey-Jay collab, and our choice is “Déjà Vu.” Why? Because we don’t think it gets the shine it deserves. As the lead single from B’Day, it didn’t blow up the way Beyonce songs usually do – which isn’t to say it wasn’t a hit; it was, peaking at No. 4 on the Hot 100 – despite having all the elements that should have made it the jam of the summer of 2006. Beyonce puts that killer voice to work, Jay lends some fantastic verses and the whole thing is wrapped in hip-hop groove and horns that make it feel funky and fresh.
“Beautiful Liar,” featuring Shakira
Beyonce has always embraced her international appeal (she even recorded an all-Spanish version of B’Day), so it was pretty great when she teamed up with Colombian superstar Shakira, who at the time was at the peak of her fame in the U.S., for this mid-tempo track. Both divas sound great and the explosive collaboration of two of the world’s biggest female singers turned the video into a sensation, winning it the Most Earthshattering Collaboration prize at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards. The deluxe edition of B’Day was our workout jam album for, um, years, and “Beautiful Liar” was the perfect song to get us started. (Seriously, if you are looking for motivation to start a workout routine, just put on B’Day. All these years later, there’s still no resisting it. If you’re not sweating your face off by the time “Freakum Dress” comes on, you should see a doctor immediately.)
“Party,” featuring Andre 3000
Kanye West produced this upbeat track for Bey’s latest hit album, 4. Rumor has it she’s hard at work on the video for the song now. Hopefully, the song will be the chart-topper Bey needs to keep 4 afloat. It’s certainly doing well, of course, but it’s an amazing record we’d like to see do gangbuster business.
Which Beyonce collaborations are your favorite? Let us know in the comments.