A Look Into Hidden Features on Hip-Hop Songs
Making music is a communal thing. Most artists double as A&Rs who take on the task of recruiting the right people to animate their vision when it comes to a song or album. Sometimes though, the artists that are featured only live in the liner notes of a song or album and not on the actual tracklisting. These hidden, uncredited additions on hip-hop songs often emerge as secret ingredients in the formula.
Dating back to the 2001 release of Jay-Z’s catalog classic The Blueprint, Hov tapped Michael Jackson and 1990’s singer Chanté Moore for the background vocals on “Girls, Girls, Girls.” Opposite his brother Kanye West, Jigga sneakily called on The-Dream a decade later to do the same on their 2011 Watch The Throne ripple “No Church in the Wild.”
Aside from singing backdrops, hidden contributions come frequently in the form of ad-libs as well. Childish Gambino’s momentous 2018 track “This Is America” features punch-ins from Young Thug, Quavo, BlocBoy JB and Slxm Jimmi. And on the same type of time, Ty Dolla $ign’s raspy harmonies help emphasize the pain delivered on Drake’s B-side wonder “Jaded,” housed on his 2018 album, Scorpion.
Moreover, guest hooks have a history of running deep in rap. As most can remember from hearing Dreamville’s Revenge of the Dreamers III album in 2019 for the first time, Kendrick Lamar stole the show on “Under The Sun,” gifting Cole’s collective with a prophecy-like chorus that extends no further than two bars.
Whether you’ve peeped game or not, there are a lot more examples to pull from. So today, XXL highlights 20 of them from recent and aged rap songs. Scroll down, read up and listen below.