Some things just don't go together.
We all remember how mortified we felt in 2019 when Adam Levine and Travis Scott started bouncing around the stage together, Levine strumming a few power chords on the guitar, trying to excite a crowd that he knew was vehemently disinterested in him.
But the embarrassment we felt for the Maroon 5 frontman's dated rocker boy antics didn't distract us from seeing the performance in its shirtless, misogynistic entirety. There's a particular sort of dread that comes when celebrities clash–when fans' rose-tinted glasses come off and we witness something highly anticipated dissolve into a debacle. We can't look away, as much as we so desperately want to.
In music especially there's been a slew of uncomfortable collaborations that we can't believe actually happened. Fergie actually butchered "Sweet Child O' Mine" next to Slash himself at Super Bowl XLV in front of millions of people. We didn't just have a fever dream.
Here are other absurd music collaborations that should never have happened, but unfortunately did.
Justin Bieber and Busta Rhymes<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="974275f31d195610de9994a497863758"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/txpdpWyY2xg?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Off of Bieber's oddly beloved 2011 Christmas album, <em>Under The Mistletoe</em>, the Busta Rhymes collaboration on "Drummer Boy" was a lost cause once the high-hats started kicking from the tracks start. At first glance, it's easy to think that a splash of high hat drums is the only slight variation to the 1940 carol, but then the song completely breaks down and mutates into an agonizing hip-hop beat, with Bieber spitting bars like: "I'm surprised you didn't hear this from the bible / I'm so tight I might go psycho." </p><p>Busta Rhymes serves as a splash of gasoline on the already raging dumpster fire, merely telling the story about how he came to be featured on this song and just not mentioning Christmas at all: "At the table with the family, havin' dinner / Blackberry on our hip and then it gave a little flicker / Then I took a look to see before it activates the ringer / Came to realize my homie Bieber hit me on Twitter." The whole ordeal is just bizarre.</p>
Dolly Parton and Sylvester Stallone<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e9a9e5f4c59bdcaa824933e895cd49ca"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tKJpj2uqZ5E?start=24&rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The best movie plot ever: Jake Farris (Dolly Parton) a down and out country singer stuck performing at a sleazy urban cowboy nightclub in the Big Apple, tells the club manager that she bets the remainder of her contract she can turn anyone into a country star in two weeks. The club manager agrees to the bet, but if she loses then another five years will be added to her tenure, and she'll have to sleep with him. He also gets to pick the man, so he picks Rambo.</p><p>A critical and commercial failure, 1984's <em>Rhinestone </em>should never have happened. Sylvester Stallone's tone-deaf grumbles cripple every ounce of charm this movie could have had, even when Parton's talent swoops in to save the day. The film went on to be nominated for five Golden Raspberry Awards, winning Worst Actor (Stallone) and Worst Song ("Drinkenstein.") </p>
Brad Paisley and LL Cool J<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7d047a80c2b13d15c2a95c6a4a2e2602"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KSurzeGvPrQ?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The title of the song alone is enough to warrant a fat cancellation in 2020, but the song itself, a country power ballad that equates slavery to the fight "of yesterday," somehow finds a way to even further trivialize racism. "The relationship between the Mason-Dixon needs some fixin," raps LL Cool J in complete seriousness. "The past is the past; you feel me?"</p><p><span></span>"I think it's ludicrous to think for a second that I would ever trivialize slavery," LL said on <em>The Ellen Show</em> after the track's inevitable backlash. "I don't feel like African Americans have to be upset. I don't define myself by slavery...I just wanted to have a real honest conversation with a guy about being a human being first." The track in and of itself is a cringe ballad, but the sentiment of being an "Accidental Racist" really drove home the point that this piece of work should never have happened.</p>
Brian May and Dappy<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="91b7b8b483b5089bc0e6b49d47c3a35d"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/J5tKSeSF8-w?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>One of them is one of Rock and Roll's most famous guitarists, and the other is from N-Dubz. Apparently, May was a massive fan of Dappy's work and wrote to the rapper, telling him he should "win an Ivor Novello for lyrics." "He told me, 'You are a very different artist and unique, so carry on what you're doing. There's nobody else challenging you," Dappy said of his conversation with May.</p><p>The bizarre mash-up is like a bastard child of the <a href="https://www.popdust.com/metal-bands-2647075079.html" target="_self">Nu Metal era</a>. It sounds like the rap of B.o.B got swallowed up by Dance Gavin Dance. The result is genuinely atrocious.</p>
Eddie Murphy and Michael Jackson<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d10cf758a8c9a0fff340e680b520b142"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/D9cQOcAC_K8?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>While it has all the makings of an effective parody, 1993's "Whatzupwitu" was 100% serious. Murphy had tried his hand at making music on more than one occasion, but his third studio effort, <em>Love's Alright,</em> was particularly cringe-worthy. Jackson became involved in "Whatzupwitu" after hearing the lyrics and thinking they had a positive message ("Men ain't got no power / He kills nothing but himself / men is a creation / men is nothing else, so"). </p><p>The track's coinciding music video, which features Jackson and Murphy aimlessly floating around a computer graphic made-background that looks jankier than those on Apple's Photobooth, was ranked by<em> MTV </em>viewers in 1999 as the <a href="https://uproxx.com/tv/about-the-time-vanilla-ice-went-apesht-with-a-bat-on-the-mtv-set-and-nearly-took-out-jon-stewart/" target="_blank">third-worst music video of all time</a>. From the sad clown at the video's beginning saying "the elephant is dying" to the animated graphic of three elephants standing on top of a sea turtle while holding Earth on their backs, this collaboration simply made no logical sense.</p>
Jack White and Insane Clown Posse<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="84be21de1ec61a455691b704694bd7e7"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Qk2HD8-UtO4?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>In August of 2011, Jack White contacted the Posse and invited the horrorcore duo to his mansion to collaborate. The rocker showed them a track he had been working on: an absurd arrangement of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Leck mich im arsch," the title of which translated to "Lick My A**." </p><p>The end result is absolute chaos, with a haunting choir singing "lick my ass" alongside rocking guitars, as the ludicrous duo rap about licking butts. Yet the collaboration somehow... works? I found myself humming the track's absurd chorus afterward, so that's something, isn't it? Maybe some music is so strange, it's good.</p>
Because celebrities are not "just like us."
If there's one thing that celebrity magazines have taught us, it's that "celebrities are just like us."
They use their mouths to eat food, and they occasionally use their legs to walk outdoors. Sometimes they don't even look like a team of makeup artists and fashion designers have sculpted every facet of their look! So normal.
Here's the thing, though. Celebrities are weird. It takes a strange personality (and maybe some underlying mental health issues) to want that much attention. And sometimes when a person with a strange personality (and maybe some underlying mental health issues) gets way too much money, they really start to lose touch with reality and end up manifesting their strangeness with some of the craziest homes the world has ever seen. Homes so strange that they can almost never find buyers at full price. Homes like...
Nicolas Cage's Dragon House
Celine Dion's Waterpark House
Robert Downey Jr.'s Windmill House
Drake's Yolo Estate
Jordan McGraw's "Tim Burton" House
Penn Jillette's "Slammer"
Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch
Naomi Campbell's Eye of Horus House
Dick Clark's Flintstone House
Bob Hope's Spaceship House
John Travolta's Airport House
Naomi Campbell's Spaceship/Airport House
While the late Brooklynite was only able to put out two albums before his untimely death, both works are regarded as some of hip-hop's greatest contributions.
One of Hip-Hop's most prominent icons The Notorious B.I.G. was senselessly gunned down at a red light in Los Angeles on this day in 1997.
He was heading home from a Vibe Magazine party when a gunman rolled down his window and opened fire. The death has remained unsolved and has unearthed a vast number of conspiracy theories in its 23-year wake. Highlights include theories that P. Diddy was responsible for the murder and that the late rapper isn't dead at all, and rather he was recently spotted alive on an island in Greece.
While the late Brooklynite was only able to put out two albums before his untimely death, both works are regarded as some of hip-hop's greatest contributions. To rank any of his songs is impossible; there are simply too many great entries to count. Still, there were a few lyrical gems that monumentally redefined East Coast rap and proved Biggie to be one of the greatest storytellers of all time.
Here are a few of his crowning musical achievements to honor the immense talent of The Notorious B.I.G.:
Gimme the Loot
Biggie's mastery of the pen is undisputed, but on "Gimme the Loot," off 1994's Ready To Die, all his strengths seem to click right into place. His flow is so tight that fans thought for years that the track's quippy call-and-response was done by Biggie and another uncredited rapper. His stream of consciousness lyricism makes listeners feel that they're hitting a lick right alongside him, and his tales of late night violence are haunting and captivating.
"Man, I throw him in the fiend you grab the f*cking cream
And if he start to scream, bom bom, have a nice dream
Hold up, he got a f*cking b*tch in the car
Fur coats and diamonds, she think she a superstar. Ooh Biggie let me jack her, I'll kick her in the back
Hit her with the gat. Yo chill shorty, let me do that
Just get the f*cking car keys and cruise up the block
The b*tch act shocked getting shot on the spot. Oh sh*t the cops!"
"Everyday Struggle" isn't as play-by-play as "Gimme The Loot," but it once again demonstrates the raw poetry of Biggie's rhymes. He is undoubtedly a victim of his circumstances and is drawn to street life not by his own doing but by circumstances completely out of his control – he even calls out Mayor Giuliani by name. Suicide often lingers in the back of his mind, but he unfortunately knows that the only way out is through. "That's just how the shit go in the struggle motherf*cker," he says with a shrug.
"But they don't know about the stress-filled day
Baby on the way mad bills to pay
That's why you drink Tanqueray
So you can reminisce and wish
You wasn't living so devilish, sh*t."
An eerie slow-burning tale of an impending drug deal, Biggie's haunting thoughts and anxieties are put on full display all the way up through the track's explosive conclusion. Biggie's eye for unsettling detail is uncanny, and the story is soaked in unrelenting tension that doesn't let up. It builds in an almost theatrical way, before exploding in the final verse with the ferocity of a Quinten Tarantino film. Through it all, Biggie remains unmoved by such grotesque violence, instead, he finds a dark humor in knowing that his enemies car just got towed for double parking. His emotional distance from violence is the track's most haunting quality.
"That's when Ron vanished, came back speaking Spanish
Lavish habits, two rings, twenty carats
Here's a criminal, n*gga made America's Most
Killed his baby mother brother, slit his throat
The n*gga got bagged with the toast
Weeded, took it to trial, beat it
Now, he feel he undefeated, he mean it
"Nothing to lose" tattooed around his gun wounds
"Everything to gain" embedded in his brain
And me? I feel the same..."
10 Crack Commandments
"10 Crack Commandments" is undeniably witty and offers the catchiest how-to guide for novice crack dealers. It has been cited as one of Biggie's greatest hits, solely because of its unique balance of cold authenticity and dark humor.
"Number 3, never trust no-bo-dy
Your moms'll set that ass up, properly gassed up
Hoodied and masked up, shit, for that fast buck
She be laying in the bushes to light that ass up"
You're Nobody 'Till Somebody Kills You
The final song off of Biggie's final album is one of the rapper's most haunting tracks, to say the least. Released after his death, the song is drenched in fear, self-doubt, and betrayal, with the seemingly unshakable B.I.G. mumbling in defeat, pleading, "I don't wanna die, God tell me why." It was as if he knew that people were coming for him, the song his attempt at salvation and coming to terms with what he thought was imminent. It all makes his death even more devastating.
"As I leave my competition, respirator style
Climb the ladder to success escalator style
Hold y'all breath, I told y'all, death
Controls y'all, Big don't fold y'all, uhh
I spit phrases that'll thrill you
You're nobody til somebody kills you"
- The Notorious B.I.G. mural in Bed-Stuy will come down - Curbed NY ›
- 50 Cent blasts Diddy over Biggie | Music | The Guardian ›
- R.I.P BIGGIE SMALLS MARCH 9 by Tommie Allen | Mixcloud ›
- RIP Biggie Smalls by Big Hongry on SoundCloud - Hear the world's ... ›
- 2pac God Bless The Dead (R.I.P. Biggie Smalls) HD - YouTube ›
- R.I.P. B.I.G.: Lyrical Tributes to Biggie Smalls | Billboard ›