Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 at 10:02 am
the unofficial tag-team is one of hip-hop’s quiet victories over other forms of music. while rock and jazz and r&b is often replete with dual acts like the singer and the drummer, or the keyboard player and the bassist, hip-hop tends to thrive on the power of the individual voice.
the special remedy in rap music to the sometimes overwhelming shout of The One Dominant MC is the specialty duo. it’s accepted that outkast, daz & kurupt, and epmd ran a two-man game that they’re careers greatly depended upon, but what of mos def & talib kweli, nas & az, ghost & rae, em & royce, or even bun b and pimp c?
the most memorable duos often worked in a super-pair, more batman/superman than hero/sidecar, bringing their respective audiences together for a forceful work unlike that of a traditional “group”, which can sometimes suffer from the weight of mainly working with one another, and having the general impulse to branch out as soloists (see: 3 stacks) and experiment beyond the established duo’s sound.
but with rap sales flagging, and major banking artists like kanye west and jay z combining efforts to create more traction with a release, the unconventional duo stands to benefit from shared riches and touring perhaps more substantially than an artist hustling to do the same digits in a one-man outfit. the added bonus is that it’s way more efficient than a crew or a band, which stretches the talents of one headliner without ever building up his subsidiary homeys.
here are modern rap’s best/most promising duos.