Crossover tracks polarize opinion. Some gain mainstream appeal; others tick the right boxes for hardcores; while the rest fail miserably at achieving anything.
The best crossover rap rock tracks have broken barriers both culturally and musically. We all have our favorites, and this list is ultimately subjective but more than anything, symbolizes how by having the gumption to break new ground it can result in something quite outstanding while opening up doors for a whole new movement entirely.
Jay Z & Linkin Park – ‘Numb/Encore’
Jay Z has always been a businessman. His ability to jump on trends while they are still gathering momentum has been a financial winner for the rapper over the years.
However with Linkin Park, he saw a band at the peak of their powers in 2004. Thus, he decided he wanted to collaborate with them. The result surpassed anything the music industry could’ve expected. Below is a snippet of the magic the Jigga Man and Linkin Park created.
Public Enemy & Anthrax – ‘Bring The Noise’
Both extremely successful in their respective genres, they saw an opening to appeal to their opposing crowds through collaboration. Released in 1991, no one thought two culturally different bands could meld together so effectively. ‘Bring The Noise’ featured heavily on MTV and was a glob brought the noise like anything seen before – it was a phenomenon. And it was ultimately the birth of rap rock at its most potent.
Beastie Boys – ‘Sabotage’
There are many variables that set the Beastie Boys apart from other bands. In terms of this list, they accomplished the whole rap rock crossover all by themselves. They didn’t enlist the services of a world famous rock band – they had the foresight to craft their sound like no other rap group working the scene during the 90s. On top of such a face-melting track, the Beastie Boys created one of the most memorable music videos ever, that went on to take MTV by storm. “Listen all y’all this is sabotage.”
Run DMC & Aerosmith – ‘Walk This Way’
Aerosmith were a mainstream success in the States. Steven Tyler was a pinup. But Run DMC were the real trailblazers here. The track hit the airwaves and remained on radio and television for the best part of a year, dominating the Billboard 100. Both gained an incredible amount of success from the release and continue to tour the world.
Gorillaz & De la Soul – ‘Clint Eastwood’
Unlike the others on this list, the Gorillaz and De La Soul track didn’t come in the 90s nor did it break ground in an era when two genres like rock and rap were miles apart. This is just a wonderful contemporary track that brought together two very similar groups just from different corners of the musical landscape. Both exhibit a lulling tempo in their music, that when put together created the globally successful ‘Clint Eastwood’.
For a deeper look into crossover rap and rock tracks, Paste Magazine compiled their list of their favorite 20 crossover tracks featuring everyone from R.E.M., Radiohead, Chuck D and MGMT.
From a top down view on the list provided here, even contemporary bands such as Gorillaz helped new innovations in crossing over industries. What Gorillaz did well was by utilizing Jamie Hewlett’s talents, they crossed new barriers incorporating animation with music. His animations even inspired the band to perform live at festivals with holograms of the Gorillaz characters playing alongside the band.
Crossovers are rampant in music, transcending other industries too. The popularity of huge bands saw the global success of games such as Guitar Hero, which Game Informer stated, fused the thrill of performing live in front of a make believe audience with the mechanics of modern day gaming. We’ve also seen the likes of gaming channel Spin Genie use popular bands from the 80s and 90s such as Guns N’ Roses to theme online games after them. In short, bands like the aforementioned will always have a place in our hearts and will continue to entertain generations for years to come.
While the last few mentions didn’t exactly have a profound impact on society, they just go to show how crossover music can be a catalyst to thinking outside the box and creating something utterly groundbreaking.