How SG Lewis, Injury Reserve, ROSALÍA + more are finding 2019 fame in collaboration
Collaboration has always been a major factor in songwriting, but in 2019, it feels more vital than ever.
Collaboration has always been a centric source of inspiration in songwriting. There are artists who thrive on collaborational partnerships and songwriting, forming unbreakable musical bonds that are sometimes so efficient and perfectly matching, that it makes their collaborational projects more successful or adored than their main work. It's something that's present across almost every genre - in dance, there are Mark Ronson and Diplo creating pop-house as Silk City; in hip-hop, there's too many to count - Beast Coast (Joey Bada$$ and friends) and KIDS SEE GHOSTS (Kanye and Kid Cudi) among the most prominent recently; in indie, there's Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus as boygenius, then Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers as Better Oblivion Community Center. They're places where artists can work off one another and combine respective strengths without the shackles of having to release the work through their own names and images, and they're becoming more and more popular.
In 2019, however, it seems that collaborations are only becoming more popular and prevalent. Artists are working together and striving together, tapping into each other's audiences to grow fanbases and capture larger and broader audiences, and as a result, artists aren't just releasing their best music yet through collaborations, they're releasing their most popular and acclaimed too. There's a lot of examples here, but they come from a wide array of genres, both locally and internationally. There are names like SG Lewis, who through drip-feeding his debut EP in three sections - Dusk, Dark and Dawn - has given us collabs with AlunaGeorge, Clairo and most recently, Ruel. There's James Blake, who enlisted everyone from Moses Sumney to Outkast's André 3000 for his Assume Form record at the start of the year; Robyn producer Kindness taking on the queen herself - then Seinabo Sey - for a pair of 2019 singles each as good as the other; Karen O teaming up with Danger Mouse, Lizzo with Missy Elliott, Col3trane with DJDS and RAYE, Mark Ronson with Lykke Li and the list goes on.
There's a lot to tackle, but if you're keen on knowing what we're talking about, here's a list featuring some of our favourites for the year thus far, and it's full of gold:
SG Lewis & Clairo - Throwaway
SG Lewis is no stranger to collaboration. As just mentioned, in the slow drip-feed of his three-part, gradual-release debut album, he's already collaborated with a whole horde of favourites, but his one with recent Laneway Festival alumni and internet favourite Clairo is one of our favourites. It combines SG Lewis' signature, funk-infused grooves with Clairo's captivating topline, finding the perfect harmony between each of their respective styles for a single that'll whisk you away.
Flying Lotus & Anderson .Paak - More
A couple of weeks ago came news of Flying Lotus' upcoming record Flamagra, which really captures the essence of his tendency for collaborational writing. There's everyone from Solange to David Lynch on the record, but the most recent cut included Anderson .Paak, and it's really a showcase of why FlyLo is such a top-tier collaborator. Paak's signature sway meets FlyLo's rough, thick production without either side feeling over-powering, which is a sure sign they did something right.
Injury Reserve & Aminé - Jailbreak The Tesla
Interpolating Tokyo Drift and turning it into a high-octane, high-energy collaboration comes Australia-bound rap crew Injury Reserve, who teamed up with one of our favourite's, Aminé, for one of the year's rowdiest hip-hop songs thus far. It's light-hearted and fun ("Get a Tesla and take it to West Coast Customs / Turn the touchscreen to iOS for fun"), but it B.A.N.G.S., not just balancing that fine line but doing it in brilliant fashion.
Rico Nasty & Kenny Beats - Big Titties
Rico Nasty and Kenny Beats is a partnership worth its weight in gold, with Kenny's thick 808s perfectly matching Rico Nasty's unique, high-octane yells. It's a tried and tested partnership that has seen both halves find fame, but on their recent Anger Management mixtapes, this is really taken to the next level. Big Titties is one of the best of the whole mixtape and with Baauer and EARTHGANG joining the party, it only solidifies our thoughts towards collaboration in 2019.
Harvey Sutherland & Jace XL - Something In The Water
Harvey Sutherland and Jace XL are both heavyweights in their respective sounds, Sutherland - from Melbourne - taking on this funk-fuelled, jazz-infused take on lo-fi house that has seen him land names like Jamie XX and Disclosure as fans, while Hiatus Kaiyote vocalist Jace XL delivers soothing, R&B-infused toplines. Something In The Water sees them come together with sensational results; Jace's repeating vocal finding a familiar home in Sutherland's percussive pulse.
imbi the girl & SUPEREGO - i used to
Moving things into Australian waters comes imbi the girl and Fremantle's own SUPEREGO (fka POW! Negro), who on i used to, combine their strengths in poetry-led R&B and hip-hop. It comes as both acts straddle on the edge of a full national break-out, with imbi the girl cementing their status as one of our R&B's scenes most exciting names, and SUPEREGO returning after a little while away from the spotlight. Both are set to dominate in 2019.
Dave & Burna Boy - Location
Taken from Dave's spectacular debut album Psychodrama, Location is a stand-out single from the British rapper's opus that stands tall thanks to guest work from Nigerian Afro-fusion musician Burna Boy, who adds his unique, signature twist to the track to deepen its sound and create something that really stands out. It's a gem on an able full of gems, and by incorporating new voices into the record mid-way through, Dave's able to keep things fresh and exciting where many albums tend to fall off.
ROSALÍA, J Balvin & El Guincho - Con Altura
Spanish pop queen ROSALÍA is someone already finding international, mainstream appeal - a difficult feat, considering she sings completely in Spanish. She worked with James Blake on his Assume Form record, counts Charli XCX as one of her biggest fans, and is now being thrown further into the spotlight via her new track with J Balvin and El Guincho, Con Altura. With Balvin being one of the biggest artists in the world right now, ROSALÍA has been able to tap into that audience and find a whole new realm of fans through the collaboration, pushing her into a new phase bound for full, international acclaim.
JPEGMAFIA & Eyas - The Who
Last year, we introduced you to the world of JPEGMafia - a rapper "bent on destructive experimentalism" and lyrical politics who, over the last few months, has done nothing but rise, teaming up with names like our own Flume. The Who - a single stand-alone track - sees him link up with Eyas for a swelling single that sits on the boundaries of hip-hop and electronica, deeping his experimental approach to hip-hop that sets him apart as a rapper doing something not many others are right now.