The popular fad for collaborations and remixing that has flourished in the 00s, may have some roots in the 90s scene. From the endless hip hop titles ‘featuring Snoop Dog’ or ‘Enimen’ or ‘Dr Dre’ that now pushed hip hop from the inventive works of Public Enemy, NWA and De La Soul into more mainstream realms (see the much cited “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” where Dr Dre introsdusced the world to Snoop Dogg and Warren G and Nate Dogg’s ‘Regulate’), as gangsta rap took over.At times brutally reflecting the violence and bling of gang and drug culture in the shape of acts like Wu Tang Clan and Notorious BIG and his countless accomplices. To the work of Unkle aka school friends James Lavelle and Tim Goldsworthy who successfully brought in guest vocalists(Thom Yorke, Kool G Rap, Ian Brown and Mike D) to flesh out their tracks(‘Be There’, ‘Rabbit in your headlights’ et al).
Meanwhile the most successful of their kind were Bristolians Massive Attack from the wondrous ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ featuring the soul tones of Horace Andy as well as Shara Nelson, re-imagined through the trip hop prism of beats and unobtrusive string arrangements to Liz Fraser of the Cocteau Twins’ achingly gorgeous contribution to the imperious ‘Teardrop.’ Massive Attack were taking the coloabration to unencontered realms.
Elsewhere the unlikely combination of Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue deliciously swung their way through the murderous relationship ballad ‘Where the Wild Roses Grow’ while two icons in the shape of Morrissey and Siouxsie Sioux waltzed away on 94’s gorgeous ‘Interlude’ that has all the hallmarks of a old Marcone epic. Another slightly bizarre collaboration saw porn star Traci Lords sang the refrain ‘used used used by men’ on the Manic Street Preacher’s proto femisnist celebration ‘Little Baby Nothing.’ Chemikal Records co-conspirators and fellow Scots Arab Strap and Mogwai worked in harness together on a few occasions probably the most successful of which appeared with the brooding magnificance of 97’s ‘R U Still In 2 It.’
Thom Yorke and Durgstore’s Isabel Monteiro united to produce the glorious ‘Kill The President’ a reworking of the track that appeared on their album dedicated to former Chilean president Salvador Allende, who was ousted in a 1973 coup d’état (in which General Pinochet played a key role). Shoegazers Lush’s 1996 album ‘Lovelife’ featured a guest appearance by Jarvis Cocker of Pulp, in a delightful duet with Miki Berenyi on the song “Ciao!”
Now more likely to be seen fronting sodden Glastonbury coverage former Kenickie Lauren Laverne featured on Mint Royale’s rather lovely bouncy summer pop number “Don’t Falter’ lifted from their 98 album ‘On The Ropes.’ Michael Stipe was fond of a duet or two, combined to great effect with Kristin Hersh on the gorgeously moody ‘Your Ghost’ and overseeing the outstanding Patti Smith contibution to R.E.M hit ‘E bow the Letter.’
Here are some of my favourite collaborations of the period:
What are your favourite 90s collaborations?