From Ciara and Missy Elliott to Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj, we’re compiling a list of some of the greatest pop guest hooks in recent hip-hop history.
Long before hip-hop become the dominant force on the Billboard charts, rappers have enlisted major pop stars to deliver a hook-driven chorus.
In 1995, Mariah Carey and Ol’ Dirty Bastard helped pioneer collaboration between pop and hip-hop with the remix of Carey’s iconic single “Fantasy,” and ever since the two worlds have collided into a genre-blurring litany of Billboard hits — by everyone from Jay-Z and Beyoncé to Wale and Lady Gaga.
In honor of Ariana Grande’s guest starring turn this Friday on the chorus of 2 Chainz’s “Rule The World,” we’ve put together a list of 12 memorable times a pop star hopped on the hook of a hip-hop banger.
Missy Elliott feat. Ciara & Fatman Scoop, “Lose Control”
Music make you lose control! Teaming up with Fatman Scoop, Missy Elliott followed up her smash Ciara collaboration “1, 2 Step” with another top 5 Hot 100 hit: this skittering, dance-heavy single took over dance floors throughout the mid-to-late 2000s thanks to Ciara’s mind-blowing choreography and swaggering chorus.
Nicki Minaj feat. Ariana Grande, “Bed”
Following in the footsteps of their past bangers like “Side To Side” and “Get On Your Knees,” besties Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande joined forces for the fourth time on the sultry “Bed,” the second single off Nicki’s 2018 album Queen. “Got a bed wit’ your name on it,” Ari coos repeatedly on the seductive hook before adding “Love me good/Love me down/Don’t turn me down.” Later that year, Nicki returned the favor by adding a guest verse to “The Light Is Coming” for Ariana’s Sweetener.
Jay-Z feat. Justin Timberlake, “Holy Grail”
Following Jay-Z’s guest verse on Justin Timberlake’s swanky 2013 comeback single “Suit & Tie,” the former boybander returned the favor by delivering the bombastic chorus on “Holy Grail,” the lead single from Jay’s 12th studio album, Magna Carta Holy Grail. The tour mates later struck gold with the song, earning the Grammy for best rap/sung collaboration at the 2014 ceremony.
Eminem feat. Rihanna, “Love the Way You Lie”
Eminem earned his first No. 1 on the Rap Songs chart since his debut single, “The Real Slim Shady” thanks to this dark collaboration with Rihanna from 2010’s Recovery. Filled with violent imagery and themes of domestic abuse, the song also topped the Billboard Hot 100, and RiRi later recorded mournful ballad “Love The Way You Lie (Part II)” as a sequel for her fourth album Loud.
Calvin Harris feat. Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams & Big Sean, “Feels”
Calvin Harris’ 2017 album Funk Wav Bounces, Vol.1 was jam-packed with high-profile guests, but none stood out quite like Katy Perry’s hook on summer-y earworm “Feels,” alongside Pharrell Williams and Big Sean. “Don’t be afraid to catch feels,” Perry urges on the dancehall-inflected banger, which spent three weeks on top of the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart.
Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys, “Empire State of Mind”
“Concrete jungle where dreams are made of!” The soaring chorus by Alicia Keys on Jay-Z’s 2009 love letter to NYC helped turn the song into an instant classic — it peaked at No. 1 on the Hot 100 and remains the quintessential anthem for New York dreamers everywhere.
Wale feat. Lady Gaga, “Chillin'”
Wale and Gaga collaborated on the lead single from the rapper’s 2009 debut album, Attention Deficit. Sampling the high school marching band classic “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” by Steam, the electro-pop party jam features a hook written by The Fame-era Mother Monster herself.
DJ Khaled feat. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance The Rapper & Lil Wayne, “I’m The One”
Featuring a veritable who’s who of superstar guests including Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance The Rapper and Lil Wayne, DJ Khaled’s 2017 hit “I’m The One” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and instantly became a major contender for song of the summer, thanks in part to Bieber’s trop-pop-infused chorus. The following year, Khaled attempted to catch lightning in a bottle again by reuniting the whole crew, sans Wayne, for 2018’s “No Brainer.”
French Montana feat. Mariah Carey & Swae Lee, “Unforgettable (Mariah Carey Remix)”
This 2017 French Montana single with Swae Lee received a major assist when Mariah Carey jumped on the official remix. The new version opens with Mimi adding her unforgettable melisma to the original chorus, crooning “It’s not good enough for me/ Since I been with you/ It’s not gonna work for you/ Nobody can equal me, ooh” in her signature diva fashion before Swae joins in over MC’s dreamy ad-libs.
will.i.am feat. Britney Spears, “Scream and Shout”
You are now, now rockin’ with will.i.am and Britney, bitch! Britney Spears went full fembot for this slinky, club-ready banger off The Black Eyed Peas MC’s fourth solo album #willpower, donning the unforgettable quasi-British accent she would replicate once again on her own 2013 single “Work Bitch.”
Jay-Z & Kanye West feat. Beyoncé, “Lift Off”
While Beyoncé’s impressive resume of hip-hop guest hooks includes Nicki Minaj, husband Jay-Z, DJ Khaled and more, this album cut from Jay and Kanye West’s collaborative 2011 album Watch The Throne sends Queen Bey’s vocals soaring sky-high with lyrics like “We gon’ take it to the moon, take it to the stars/ How many people you know can take it this far?/ I’m supercharged/ I’m ’bout to take this whole thing to Mars.” Lift off achieved.
Diddy feat. Christina Aguilera, “Tell Me”
Christina Aguilera’s confident hook helped turn this single into a standout track off Diddy’s 2006 album Press Play. “Tell me/ What you’re thinking about when your hands is all on me/ Cause I’ve been thinkin’ about all the possibilities,” Xtina urges over a booming beat in between Diddy’s sauntering verses.