From Rihanna to Drake, these stars guarantee streaming dominance
From Rihanna to Drake, these stars guarantee streaming dominance

Rihanna to Snoop: Pop power of ‘feature artists’

Whether motivated by strategy or mateship, the feature vocal has become as ubiquitous as a lyrics video in the pop world over the past decade.

For artists who don't have their own singles about to drop, adding a guest verse or rap on another release can be a lucrative income stream, with major American rappers and singers reportedly commanding anywhere between $25,000 and $250,000 for their contribution.

Here are the artists who constantly prove two - or three - stars are better than one for a pop hit.

 

 

When Jess met Snoop – on the set for the Get Em Girls video. Picture: Supplied.
When Jess met Snoop – on the set for the Get Em Girls video. Picture: Supplied.

SNOOP DOGG

His idiosyncratic style helped hip hop rise to pop dominance in the '90s via his collaborations with Dr Dre but it wasn't long before Snoop Dogg was the go-to rapper for pop artists hoping to surf on his sonic edge.

He teamed with the Pussycat Dolls on two of their hits - Buttons and Bottle Pop - in the mid 2000s and ushered in the new decade with Katy Perry on their global smash California Gurls.

There are pop fans still bemused about the assist he gave Jessica Mauboy's attempted urban reinvention with Get 'Em Girls.

 

 

 

All hail, Rihanna – especially you, Drake. If RiRi’s on the track, it’s gonna be a hit. Picture: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images.
All hail, Rihanna – especially you, Drake. If RiRi’s on the track, it’s gonna be a hit. Picture: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images.

 

RIHANNA

The presence of this Queen on a track is almost guaranteed to send it into the streaming stratosphere.

Her artistic partnership with Eminem has been the most lucrative, with both Love The Way You Lie and The Monster reaching No. 1 in Australia.

She has also lent her distinctive vocals to former flame Drake on his multi-platinum hits including Take Care and Too Good and Calvin Harris is undoubtedly indebted to her vocal magic on This Is What You Came For.

 

If Travis Scott is a collab kind of guy. Picture: Supplied.
If Travis Scott is a collab kind of guy. Picture: Supplied.

TRAVIS SCOTT

All those collabs are clearly boosting the bank balance with Kylie Jenner's baby daddy recently dropping $34 million on a new LA mansion.

The Sicko Mode superstar's credit features on dozens of chart hits, most recently "featuring" on Kanye West's new single Wash Us In The Blood and his The Scotts collaboration with Kid Cudi.

Other artists to employ his talents include Major Lazer, Calvin Harris, Young Thug, DJ Khaled and James Blake.

 

KENDRICK LAMAR

The Humble artist has been an inescapable musical force for the past decade.

In addition to his own solo success, he has the Midas touch with collaborations, most notably The Weeknd (Pray For Me) and SZA (All The Stars) which were top 10 hits in Australia.

But this serious artist of social conscience also likes to play in the pop pit, enjoying a multi-platinum smash with his assist on Taylor Swift's Bad Blood in 2015 and with Australian sonic architect Sia on The Greatest in 2016.

 

 

 

Pretty in pink pop – BTS and Halsey proved to be a stream dream team. Picture: supplied
Pretty in pink pop – BTS and Halsey proved to be a stream dream team. Picture: supplied

 

 

HALSEY

Australian music fans love the American pop artist's voice on anything. Since dominating the airwaves with The Chainsmokers on Closer, Halsey has kept the hits coming with her features and guest appearances.

Eastside, with Benny Blanco and Khalid was one of the biggest hits of 2018, she won the hearts of the K-Pop fan army with her feature on the BTS remix single Boy With Luv, and Be Kind with Marshmello has been one of the positive anthems to get fans through the pandemic shutdowns.

 

 

JUSTIN BIEBER

The Baby singer has been popping up as a featured vocalist on other artists' tracks since the early days of his pop ascendancy.

Major Lazer helped nurse the then troubled singer back to chart health by getting him on Cold Water in 2016, which then rolled into the DJ Snake hit Let Me Love You.

"Duets" with Ed Sheeran and Ariana Grande have proved to be chart gold but the biggest meeting of musical muscle was the Despacito remix - even if he didn't understand what it meant.

 

American pop singer Julia Michaels has the songwriting and guest vocalist Midas touch. Picture: Jonathan Ng
American pop singer Julia Michaels has the songwriting and guest vocalist Midas touch. Picture: Jonathan Ng

JULIA MICHAELS

From songwriter to the stars to solo superstar, the Issues artist has been enjoying a consistent run of slaying the streaming playlists with her vocal collabs.

I Miss You with Clean Bandit in 2017 and Hurt Somebody with Noah Kahan in 2018 achieved double platinum status here, while Lie To Me with 5 Seconds of Summer had a strong run on the ARIA charts.

Her current hit If The World Was Ending, with writing-turned- romantic partner J.P Saxe has spent almost a year in the Australian top 50.

 

 

 

The golden voice of Vera Blue is popular with pop song producers and artists including Illy. Picture: Tim Hunter.
The golden voice of Vera Blue is popular with pop song producers and artists including Illy. Picture: Tim Hunter.

VERA BLUE

The artist known as Celia Pavey on her passport has enjoyed a spectacular run of hit singles with artists keen to add her dexterous vocals to their productions.

She hit the top of the charts with Illy on Papercuts, backed that up with the gold single Fracture with Slumberjack and linked with good mate Flume on Rushing Back.

 

 

 

Beyonce and Jay-Z are partners in life and art. Picture: Supplied.
Beyonce and Jay-Z are partners in life and art. Picture: Supplied.

BEYONCE

Queen Bey doesn't need to share the spotlight with nobody. But when she does, it is guaranteed they are going to enjoy the glow of her solid gold glory.

The most celebrated of her collabs are those with husband Jay-Z on Crazy In Love, Bonnie and Clyde, Deja-Vu and Drunk In Love.

Yet her musical partnerships with fellow female artists have proven the most intriguing, including the majestic namechecking with Shakira on the 2007 single Beautiful Liar, the euphoric brilliance of Telephone with Lady Gaga in 2010 and the career-anointing co-sign on Megan Thee Stallion's Savage remix.

 

DRAKE

The Canadian game-changer and streaming champion just loves to make a guest appearance.

Hook king Drake has enjoyed a streak of pop partnership wins with Rihanna and regularly collaborates with Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, The Weeknd and Rick Ross.

Travis Scott got him on (uncredited) on Sicko Mode - Drake appears in the video - and he teamed with Future for new year kickstarter Life Is Good.

 

KHALID

Who wouldn't want this blaze of human sunshine on their track? The 22-year-old singer and songwriter is pure pop platinum; pretty much every feature, duet or guest vocal he has recorded in the past three years has cracked the top 50 in Australia, with several reaching the top 5.

His big collaborations have included Beautiful People with Ed Sheeran, Lovely with Billie Eilish, Ocean with Martin Garrix, Silence with Marshmello and Eastside with Benny Blanco and Halsey.

And just this week he popped up on Be Like That, a new track from American country artist Kane Brown with another regular feature star Swae Lee.

 

 

 

Originally published as Rihanna to Snoop: Pop power of 'feature artists'


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