Hip hop and R&B have always had an intimate relationship. From the early days of hip hop, R&B singers have featured prominently on rap tracks, adding a melodic touch to the rap’s raw, rhythmic beats and gritty rhymes.
Over the years, the combination has produced some of the most iconic and timeless songs in music history. From the classic ’90s tracks like “I’ll Be There For You/You’re All I Need to Get By” by Method Man feat. Mary J. Blige and “Ghetto Superstar” by Pras feat. Ol’ Dirty Bastard & Mya to more recent hits like “Take Care” by Drake feat. Rihanna and “Power Trip” by J. Cole feat. Miguel, this list covers the most memorable and influential rap songs that have benefitted from the smooth sounds of R&B.
So let’s get into it. From Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” featuring Alicia Keys to the Ashanti-assisted “What’s Luv,” here are the top 50 best rap songs with R&B features of all time.
50. “Lotus Flower Bomb” – Wale feat. Miguel
Release date: October 11, 2011
“Lotus Flower Bomb” is a perfect fusion of rap and R&B, with Wale’s effortless flow complimenting Miguel’s silky smooth vocals. The two artists explore themes of love and romance, as they create a lush, fragrant atmosphere reminiscent of the titular lotus flower.
49. “Hey Lover” – LL Cool J feat. Boyz II Men
Album: Mr. Smith
Release date: April 21, 1995
An iconic collaboration between the legendary LL Cool J and Boyz II Men, “Hey Lover” showcases the Queens rapper’s seductive storytelling ability, as he narrates the tale of an unattainable love interest. Boyz II Men’s impeccable harmonies further elevate the track, creating the perfect backdrop for the rapper’s smooth verses. With its unforgettable sample of Michael Jackson’s “The Lady in My Life,” “Hey Lover” remains an essential entry in the pantheon of rap R&B crossovers.
48. “Hey Luv (Anything)” – Mobb Deep feat. 112
Release date: December 11, 2001
As a testament to the versatility of Mobb Deep, “Hey Luv (Anything)” from their 2001 album “Infamy” sees the duo of Havoc and Prodigy exploring romantic themes over a captivating R&B-infused beat. Enlisting the talents of the renowned group 112, their soulful chorus adds an unexpected yet satisfying contrast to Mobb Deep’s gritty rap style.
47. “What’s It Gonna Be” – Busta Rhymes feat. Janet Jackson
Album: E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event): The Final World Front
Release date: February 15, 1999
This iconic late-90s collaboration between Busta Rhymes and pop queen Janet Jackson is a timeless gem that showcases the perfect blend of hip-hop and R&B. Produced by the legendary duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the track’s infectious melody sets the stage for Busta’s rapid-fire flow, while Janet’s seductive vocals elevate the song to a whole new level.
46. “I’ll Be Missing You” – Puff Daddy feat. Faith Evans & 112
Album: No Way Out
Release date: May 27, 1997
A heartfelt tribute to the late Notorious B.I.G., “I’ll Be Missing You” is a poignant classic that unites Puff Daddy’s emotive rhymes with the soulful melodies of Faith Evans and 112. Sampling The Police’s iconic “Every Breath You Take,” the track strikes a powerful balance between rap and R&B, capturing the raw emotion and vulnerability felt after Biggie’s tragic passing.
45. “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” – Jay-Z feat. Beyoncé
Album: The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse
Release date: October 10, 2002
A modern-day hip-hop love story, “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” finds Jay-Z and Beyoncé joining forces to deliver a pop smash that redefines the power couple dynamic. With Hov’s slick verses and Beyoncé’s captivating R&B hooks, the song borrows inspiration from the infamous criminal duo, Bonnie and Clyde, but adds a contemporary spin. Built on a sample of Tupac’s “Me and My Girlfriend,” this chart-topping hit showcases the undeniable chemistry between two music titans at the top of their game, paving the way for future collaborations and cementing their status as the ultimate hip-hop and R&B power couple.
44. “Slow Jamz” – Twista feat. Kanye West & Jamie Foxx
Release date: January 6, 2004
In a perfect blend of rapid-fire raps and smooth R&B vibes, “Slow Jamz” is a certified banger that showcases the distinct talents of Twista, Kanye West, and Jamie Foxx. With Twista’s lightning-fast rhymes, Kanye’s witty wordplay, and Foxx’s seductive crooning, the track is an irresistible ode to the classic slow jams of yesteryear.
43. “Love the Way You Lie” – Eminem feat. Rihanna
Release date: June 18, 2010
A powerful collaboration that tackles the raw, emotional complexity of an abusive relationship, “Love the Way You Lie” brings together Eminem’s razor-sharp lyricism and Rihanna’s haunting vocals. Eminem’s verses depict the turbulence and passion of a toxic love affair, while Rihanna’s poignant chorus echoes the pain and confusion of being caught in its cycle.
42. “Gold Digger” – Kanye West feat. Jamie Foxx
Album: Late Registration
Release date: July 5, 2005
This infectious, chart-topping hit pairs Kanye West’s witty verses with Jamie Foxx’s soulful, Ray Charles-inspired hook, creating an unforgettable anthem about the perils of fame and fortune. The track cleverly samples Charles’ “I Got a Woman,” adding a catchy, retro flair to West’s tongue-in-cheek storytelling. “Gold Digger” showcases Kanye’s unparalleled ability to blend humor, social commentary, and dynamic production, ultimately becoming a pop culture phenomenon that still resonates today.
41. “Good Life” – Kanye West feat. T-Pain
Release date: September 11, 2007
This feel-good anthem brings together Kanye West’s signature production and T-Pain’s infectious, auto-tuned hooks to create a celebration of success and the joys of living the high life. From its vibrant beat to its clever use of Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” sample, “Good Life” exudes an irresistible energy that’s impossible not to bop along to.
40. “Show Me” – Kid Ink feat. Chris Brown
Album: My Own Lane
Release date: August 6, 2013
With its infectious beat and catchy hook, “Show Me” is a quintessential club banger that showcases Kid Ink’s effortless flow and Chris Brown’s silky smooth vocals. The track is the perfect marriage of rap and R&B, combining Kid Ink’s West Coast vibe with Brown’s signature sound.
39. “Run This Town” – Jay-Z feat. Rihanna & Kanye West
Album: The Blueprint 3
Release date: August 11, 2009
The powerhouse collaboration track that got all of hip hop talking about the Illuminati. Looking at the video for “Run This Town” and you’ll see three future billionaires strutting around in all black. Rihanna’s anthemic hook, “Who’s gonna run this town tonight?” echoes triumphantly over the track’s war-mongering production (courtesy of No I.D.), while Hov and Kanye battle it out with hard-hitting verses. This was one of the few times Kanye got the better of his big brother.
38. “Power Trip” – J. Cole feat. Miguel
Album: Born Sinner
Release date: February 14, 2013
One of the biggest hits of J. Cole’s career, “Power Trip” is a magnetic collaboration between the Dreamville MC and Miguel that marries raw hip hop emotions with smooth R&B vibes. J. Cole’s introspective verses, detailing a tale of unrequited love and obsession, sit perfectly atop the dreamy, nocturnal production. Miguel’s gorgeous crooning on the hook adds an extra layer of sensuality to the track.
37. “Aston Martin Music” – Rick Ross feat. Drake & Chrisette Michele
Album: Teflon Don
Release date: July 6, 2010
“Aston Martin Music” is Rick Ross at his opulent best. The track showcases the Bawse’ signature swagger while Drake’s introspective verse and Chrisette Michele’s heavenly vocals effortlessly elevate the song. As the ultimate ode to lavish living, “Aston Martin Music” has solidified its place in the pantheon of timeless rap songs with R&B features.
36. “Empire State of Mind” – Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys
Album: The Blueprint 3
Release date: October 20, 2009
“Empire State of Mind” is a soaring anthem that captures the essence of New York City like no other. Released in 2009, the number-one hit single became Hov’s first chart-topper in a career that spanned over two decades at the time. Jay-Z’s masterful storytelling and sneaky Easter Eggs for lyrical heads pay homage to his hometown, while Alicia Keys’ powerful and soulful chorus celebrates the city’s unyielding spirit.
35. “Ma, I Don’t Love Her” – Clipse feat. Faith Evans
Album: Lord Willin’
Release date: August 20, 2002
“Ma, I Don’t Love Her” is a standout track from Clipse’s critically acclaimed 2002 debut album, Lord Willin’. Featuring the timeless vocals of R&B songstress Faith Evans, this Neptunes-produced gem is playful and sexy, on an album full of gritty street tales and coke-dealing wordplay. With their hard-hitting verses and unapologetic honesty, the duo navigates the complexities of relationships and fidelity in this unforgettable collaboration.
34. “Got Your Money” – Ol’ Dirty Bastard feat. Kelis
Album: Ni**a Please
Release date: November 14, 1999
Featuring the sassy and distinct vocals of a young Kelis, “Got Your Money” is as catchy as it is eccentric. Produced by The Neptunes, the beat is an irresistible blend of funky basslines and playful melodies, perfectly complementing ODB’s raw, off-the-wall style and Kelis’ irresistible charm on the hook.
33. “Go Hard” – DJ Khaled feat. Kanye West and T-Pain
Album: We Global
Release date: November 24, 2008
“Go Hard,” the banger from DJ Khaled’s 2008 album We Global, still slaps just as hard today as it did on release. Yeezy and T-Pain teamed up to make this joint a certified classic, with Kanye spitting fire and flexing his lyrical muscles, while T-Pain delivered that catchy, Auto-Tuned hook we all know and love.
32. “Make Me Better” – Fabolous feat. Ne-Yo
Album: From Nothin’ to Somethin’
Release date: May 29, 2007
This sleek collaboration between Fabolous and Ne-Yo, is a timeless testament to an era when the R&B singer was on top of the world. Released in 2007 as part of Fab’s From Nothin’ to Somethin’ album, the track showcased the Brooklyn rapper’s effortless flow and wordplay, paired with Ne-Yo’s smooth, soulful vocals on the hook. Produced by the legendary Timbaland, the beat offers a laid-back, infectious vibe that complements both artists’ styles perfectly.
31. “Thug Lovin”‘ – Ja Rule feat. Bobby Brown
Album: The Last Temptation
Release date: November 19, 2002
“Thug Lovin'” brings together two worlds: the gritty street vibes of rap and the sexy sound of R&B. The track pairs Ja Rule’s distinctive raspy flow with the legendary Bobby Brown’s smooth, impassioned vocals. Produced by Irv Gotti, “Thug Lovin'” features an energetic beat that captures the essence of early 2000s hip-hop and R&B fusion, making it impossible not to nod along.
30. “Excuse Me Miss” – Jay-Z feat. Pharrell
Album: The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse
Release date: November 5, 2002
“Excuse Me Miss” is one of the most iconic collaboration between Jay-Z and Pharrell, marked a defining moment in the early 2000s hip hop scene. The track features Hov’s effortless storytelling skills and smooth, swagger-filled flow. Pharrell’s velvety, laid-back vocals on the hook provide a R&B contrast, making “Excuse Me Miss” an undeniable earworm. Produced by The Neptunes, the beat’s infectious, bouncing piano melody adds an extra layer of sophistication, giving the song its polished and timeless appeal.
29. “Best Friend” – 50 Cent feat. Olivia
Album: Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (soundtrack)
Release date: November 8, 2005
“Best Friend,” a standout collaboration between 50 Cent and Olivia, was one of those rap and R&B joints that defined the mid-2000s rap game. Featured on the soundtrack of 50’s semi-autobiographical film, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, the track highlights the Queens rapper’s ability to switch from his signature gritty, streetwise rhymes to a more tender and introspective side. Olivia’s silky smooth vocals on the chorus bring an alluring R&B flavor to the song, while Hi-Tek provides the soulful, laid-back instrumental.
28. “Ayo Technology” – 50 Cent feat. Justin Timberlake & Timbaland
Release date: July 17, 2007
Featured on 50 Cent’s last solid album Curtis, this electrifying track showcases the rap mogul’s ability to adapt to the evolving hip-hop landscape, while Justin Timberlake’s pitch-perfect vocals bring an irresistible touch to the chorus. Timbaland’s futuristic, pulsating beat is the real star of the show though.
27. “Low” – Flo Rida feat. T-Pain
Album: Mail on Sunday
Release date: September 25, 2007
“Low” by Flo Rida and T-Pain is the ultimate club banger. Since dropping in 2007, this infectious hit has set dancefloors ablaze worldwide. Flo Rida’s energetic rhymes and T-Pain’s Auto-Tuned hook create an irresistible combo, giving the track its iconic status.
26. “Into You” – Fabolous feat. Tamia
Album: Street Dreams
Release date: March 4, 2003
“Into You” by Fabolous featuring Tamia is a silky-smooth rap-R&B fusion that has aged like fine wine since its 2003 release. Fabolous’ slick wordplay and laid-back flow blend effortlessly with Tamia’s sultry vocals, making the track a bonafide slow jam classic. A testament to the magic that occurs when rap and R&B collide, “Into You” continues to resonate with hip-hop connoisseurs who appreciate the finer nuances of the genre.
25. “Area Codes” – Ludacris feat. Nate Dogg
Album: Word of Mouf
Release date: November 27, 2001
A straight-up banger that defined the early 2000s with Nate Dogg’s infectious hook and tongue-in-cheek lyrics, “Area Codes” is prime example of rap and R&B colliding to create an irresistible anthem. The track remains a staple in hip hop and R&B playlists, transporting listeners back to a time when the late, great Nate Dogg ruled the airwaves.
24. “Successful” – Drake feat. Trey Songz & Lil Wayne
Album: So Far Gone
Release date: February 13, 2009
“Successful” is a poignant, introspective track that delves into the complexities of fame and success. A highlight track off Drake’s So Far Gone, it showcases the Toronto rapper’s ability to weave vulnerable storytelling around moody, late-night production.Trey Songz’s silky smooth chorus adds a soulful touch, while Lil Wayne’s irreverent wordplay provides the perfect counterbalance.
23. “Regulate” – Warren G feat. Nate Dogg
Album: Regulate… G Funk Era
Release date: April 28, 1994
Released in 1994 at the height of the West Coast’s domination of the rap game, “Regulate” is a timeless anthem that oozes G-funk swagger, marrying Warren G’s laid-back flow with Nate Dogg’s soulful crooning. Sampling Michael McDonald’s “I Keep Forgettin’,” “Regulate” weaves a captivating narrative of a night out in the streets of Long Beach. The song’s infectious hook and smooth production, courtesy of Warren G himself, make it an essential ’90s hip hop classic.
22. “Take Care” – Drake feat. Rihanna
Album: Take Care
Release date: November 15, 2011
“Take Care,” a standout collaboration between Drake and Rihanna, is a captivating fusion of rap and R&B that hit the airwaves in 2011.
Produced by Jamie xx and Noah “40” Shebib, “Take Care” masterfully samples Gil Scott-Heron’s “I’ll Take Care of U” to create this standout collaboration between Drake and Rihanna. This powerful duet showcases both artists at their best, blending vulnerability and swagger to deliver a hit that has become a mainstay on playlists for a decade.
21. “The Way You Move” – Outkast feat. Sleepy Brown
Album: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
Release date: September 23, 2003
A funk-infused gem from Outkast’s iconic double album, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, this irresistible banger showcases Big Boi’s smooth flow and razor-sharp lyricism, while Sleepy Brown’s bouncy hook adds an R&B twist that’s impossible to ignore. Produced by Big Boi and Carl Mo, the track highlights Outkast’s ability to push creative boundaries, seamlessly fusing rap and R&B elements into a timeless masterpiece
20. “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)” – Nas feat. Lauryn Hill
Album: It Was Written
Release date: June 4, 1996
The lead single off Nas’ sophomore album, “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)” was a massive switch-up from the blueprint laid down by Illmatic. A soulful, introspective anthem that united two of hip hop’s most respected artists, the track finds Nas contemplating a world of unity, justice, and freedom, while Lauryn Hill’s ethereal, hook elevates the song to new heights, blending her R&B sensibilities with the rapper’s poetic prowess. Produced by Trackmasters, the song samples Kurtis Blow’s classic “If I Ruled the World,” injecting a nostalgic vibe while remaining undeniably fresh.
19. “Money Maker” – Ludacris feat. Pharrell
Album: Release Therapy
Release date: August 22, 2006
“Money Maker” is a magnetic, high-energy banger that brought together the charismatic Ludacris and the versatile Pharrell in 2006. Featured on Luda’s fifth studio album, Release Therapy, the track highlights the rapper’s signature flow and witty wordplay, while Pharrell’s smooth, infectious hook and production prowess turned the song into an instant club hit.
18. “I Know What You Want” – Busta Rhymes feat. Mariah Carey & The Flipmode Squad
Album: It Ain’t Safe No More…
Release date: March 18, 2003
Featured on Busta’s sixth studio album, It Ain’t Safe No More…, this track seamlessly blends Mariah’s angelic, soaring vocals with Busta’s distinct, rapid-fire delivery, creating a captivating contrast that’s hard to resist. Produced by Rick Rock, “I Know What You Want” flaunts a laid-back, infectious beat that highlights the undeniable chemistry between the artists, while the Flipmode Squad’s verses add extra depth and flavor to the mix.
17. “Fuck You Tonight” – The Notorious B.I.G. feat. R. Kelly
Album: Life After Death
Release date: March 25, 1997
A steamy, hypnotic track from The Notorious B.I.G.’s iconic 1997 double album, “Fuck You Tonight” features the sensual vocals of R. Kelly and Biggie’s smooth, storytelling flow. Produced by Daron Jones and Puff Daddy, the track’s irresistible beat, seductive lyrics, and provocative subject matter make it a standout example of 90s hip hop and R&B fusion.
16. “‘Till I Collapse” – Eminem feat. Nate Dogg
Album: The Eminem Show
Release date: May 28, 2002
Another Nate Dogg-featured classic, “‘Till I Collapse” is an exhilarating anthem of resilience and the soundtrack to many gym bros’ workouts around the world. The high-energy track showcases Eminem’s incredible wordplay and rapid-fire delivery, as he raps about his unwavering determination and persistence. Nate Dogg’s powerful, melodic hook adds an anthemic R&B element, perfectly blending with Eminem’s fiery verses. “‘Till I Collapse” has since become a staple in workout playlists and sports arenas worldwide.
15. “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” – Eve feat. Gwen Stefani
Release date: March 26, 2001
“Let Me Blow Ya Mind” is a fiery collaboration between hip hop’s first lady, Eve, and No Doubt’s punk rock-meets-pop frontwoman, Gwen Stefani. Released in 2001 as part of Eve’s sophomore album Scorpion, the track, produced by Dre, is a perfect blend of hip hop and R&B, as Eve’s confident, razor-sharp flow interweaves with Stefani’s catchy, melodic hook.
14. “Can’t Knock the Hustle” – Jay-Z feat. Mary J. Blige
Album: Reasonable Doubt
Release date: June 25, 1996
The opening track to Hov’s seminal debut album, “Can’t Knock the Hustle” is blessed by the timeless vocals of the queen of hip hop soul, Mary J. Blige. Produced by Knobody and Sean C, the song’s mellow, jazzy beat sets the stage for a lyrical journey through the hustle of the streets and the desire for success. The chemistry between Jay-Z and Blige on this classic record is undeniable, and their powerful performances serve as a testament to their lasting impact on the hip hop and R&B genres.
13. “To Live & Die in L.A.” – 2Pac feat. Val Young
Album: The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
Release date: November 5, 1996
“To Live & Die in L.A.” is a quintessential West Coast anthem, showcasing 2Pac’s love and loyalty to the City of Angels. Featured on his 1996 album, “The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory,”
Featured on an album that found 2Pac at his most paranoid and incendiary, “To Live & Die in L.A.” is a drastic tonal shift which finds the rapper spitting heartfelt verses as an ode to the City of Angels. Produced by QD3, the son of legendary producer Quincy Jones, the smooth G-funk beat is infused with a laid-back California vibe, capturing the essence of L.A.
12. “Ghetto Superstar” – Pras feat. Ol’ Dirty Bastard & Mya
Album: Ghetto Supastar
Release date: June 9, 1998
“Ghetto Superstar” is a genre-blending banger that samples Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s “Islands in the Stream,” giving it a fresh hip hop twist. Pras’ smooth verses are perfectly juxtaposed with ODB’s raw, unfiltered energy, creating an unforgettable rap collaboration. Mya’s timeless hook ties the track together, adding a touch of R&B flair that balances out the grittier rap elements.
11. “How Do U Want It” – 2Pac feat. K-Ci & JoJo
Album: All Eyez on Me
Release date: June 4, 1996
Over a smooth, infectious beat, 2Pac delivers verses that explore themes of success, fame, and desire, demonstrating his unparalleled storytelling prowess. K-Ci & JoJo’s passionate, melodic hook elevates the track to new heights, blending seamlessly with the raw and honest verses. “How Do U Want It” serves as a testament to 2Pac’s legacy as a master of blending hip hop and R&B, creating a timeless classic that continues to resonate with rap fans across generations.
10. “Dilemma” – Nelly feat. Kelly Rowland
Release date: June 25, 2002
A slick fusion of hip hop and R&B that propelled Nelly and Kelly Rowland into the spotlight in 2002, “Dilemma” is the perfect showcase of the pair’s undeniable chemistry as they trade verses about the complications of falling in love with someone who’s already taken. Upon its release, “Dilemma” became a chart-topping hit that cemented its place in early 2000s pop culture.
9. “Always On Time” – Ja Rule feat. Ashanti
Album: Pain Is Love
Release date: November 27, 2001
“Always On Time” is a classic early 2000s banger that showcases the undeniable chemistry between Ja Rule and Ashanti. Featured on the rapper’s 2001 album Pain is Love, the track pairs his gruff, aggressive rap style with Ashanti’s sweet and seductive vocals. As the lead single from the album, “Always On Time” quickly became a chart-topping hit, cementing Ja Rule and Ashanti as a dynamic duo in the R&B scene.
8. “What’s Luv?” – Fat Joe feat. Ashanti & Ja Rule
Album: Jealous Ones Still Envy (J.O.S.E.)
Release date: February 26, 2002
“What’s Luv?” is a quintessential early 2000s party anthem that brings together Fat Joe’s gritty flow with Ashanti’s R&B vocals and Ja Rule’s signature raspy delivery. Featured on Fat Joe’s 2001 album “Jealous Ones Still Envy (J.O.S.E.),” the track samples Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” adding a fresh twist to the classic song.
7. “You Got Me” – The Roots feat. Erykah Badu & Eve
Album: Things Fall Apart
Release date: January 25, 1999
A timeless gem from Things Fall Apart featuring the ethereal vocals of Erykah Badu and a razor-sharp verse from Eve, “You Got Me” became The Roots breakout hit and went on to win the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. Black Thought’s introspective lyricism and flow, coupled with Erykah Badu’s enchanting voice, create an unforgettable soundscape that resonates deep within the soul. Eve’s fiery verse adds a fierce dynamic to the mix, further elevating the track’s status.
6. “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)” – Jay-Z feat. Pharrell
Album: The Dynasty: Roc La Familia
Release date: November 6, 2000
This club-ready anthem captures the essence of early 2000s hip hop with its uptempo beat, funky bassline, and witty wordplay from Hov. Pharrell’s smooth, laid-back chorus adds a touch of R&B flair, creating a vibe that’s impossible to resist. The track’s effortless charisma and playful lyrics about the pursuit of a good time highlight Jay-Z’s versatility as a rapper and set the stage for his continued reign in the hip hop world.
5. “Still Not a Player” – Big Pun feat. Joe
Album: Capital Punishment
Release date: April 28, 1998
Released in 1998 as part of Big Pun’s critically acclaimed debut album, Capital Punishment, this song showcases Pun’s incredible lyrical prowess and charismatic flow, while Joe’s smooth hook adds a distinct R&B flavor. Big Pun’s clever wordplay and rapid-fire delivery, blended with Joe’s soulful voice, create a classic rap and R&B fusion that proves the two genres are a match made in musical heaven.
4. “21 Questions” – 50 Cent feat. Nate Dogg
Album: Get Rich or Die Tryin’
Release date: April 29, 2003
The second single from Get Rich or Die Tryin’ to top the charts, “21 Questions” finds certified hitmaker 50 Cent teaming up with the late Nate Dogg to reveal a softer side of himself. Nate Dogg’s distinctive, soulful voice on the hook adds an irresistible R&B element to the track, making it a classic in the rap-meets-R&B genre. The combination of 50 Cent’s honest lyrics and Nate Dogg’s unforgettable chorus solidified “21 Questions” as a timeless hit.
3. “I’ll Be There For You / You’re All I Need to Get By” – Method Man feat. Mary J. Blige
Release date: April 25, 1995
An iconic collaboration between the gritty, raw lyricism of Method Man and the powerful, emotive voice of Mary J. Blige, “I’ll Be There For You / You’re All I Need to Get By” became one of the biggest hits to ever come out of the Wu camp. With Meth’s razor-sharp storytelling and charismatic mic presence, combined with Mary J. Blige’s soul-stirring chorus, the track is a timeless masterpiece that showcases the best of both artists.
2. “One More Chance / Stay with Me (Remix)” – The Notorious B.I.G. feat. Faith Evans and Mary J. Blige
Album: Ready to Die
Release date: June 6, 1995
This timeless remix showcases Biggie’s unparalleled storytelling skills and smooth flow, as he raps about his romantic escapades. The R&B powerhouses Faith Evans and Mary J. Blige lend their soulful vocals to the track, providing an irresistible and timeless appeal. The fusion of Biggie’s rap genius with the emotive performances of Evans and Blige make this remix one of the greatest rap and R&B fusions ever.
1. “Gangsta’s Paradise” – Coolio feat. L.V.
Album: Gangsta’s Paradise
Release date: September 19, 1995
Released in 1995, Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise,” featuring L.V., is a haunting, introspective masterpiece that has since become synonymous with ’90s hip hop. The song, which appeared on the Gangsta’s Paradise album, tackles the harsh realities of inner-city life, as Coolio delivers thought-provoking verses over a sample of Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise.” L.V.’s gripping, soulful chorus adds an R&B touch that elevates the track, making it all-time classic that has resonated for decades.