10. Lose Control – Missy Elliott, Ciara, and Fat Man Scoop
Missy Elliott was one of the most influential rappers and producers of the 2000’s. She was known for aggressive and strange beats that all combined for a unique sound. Lose Control is a perfect example of a signature Missy Elliott song. This track immediately takes you on a wild ride. It combines dance, hiphop, and R&B to make for one of Missy Elliott’s best songs. Ciara’s breathy voice comes in to add some sexiness to the song. The best thing about these women is that they are good friends and frequent collaborators, so they know how to feed off of each other’s energy. Missy raps and Ciara sing “Everybody here get it outta control. Get your backs off the wall. Cause misdemeanor said so,” on the hook and it makes the listener want to instantly move. Lose Control peaked at #3 on the Hot 100, was certified gold in the US, and is one of Missy Elliott’s most notable songs.
9. When You Believe – Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston
The sheer diva star power of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston in this song is enough to put it on this list. When You Believe was recorded as the theme for the 1998 motion picture The Prince of Egypt. The R&B, gospel, and soul sounds of this song are strong. Lyrically, it talks about each person’s ability to overcome obstacles, achieve miracles, and reaching out to God. Both divas sing “Who knows what miracles you can achieve when you believe.” This song is lead into a powerful crescendo that displays both Houston and Carey’s strong voices. We would expect nothing less from a duet with these two leading ladies.
In the 90’s there was a rumored rivalry between these two, but When You Believe crushed these rumors. This song experienced moderate success on the Hot 100, peaking at #15, but its greatest achievement was winning the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 1999 ceremony.
8. Flawless (Remix) – Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj
Before this remix was released Beyoncé’s song Flawless was already highly critically acclaimed and a fan favorite. In typical Beyoncé fashion, this remix was released without any prior promotion. Bey has a talent for breaking the internet with her new music, and the Flawless (Remix) was no exception. The original version contained a sample of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Ted Talk about feminism. In the remix, Nicki’s verse is substituted for it, and it is her best guest verse since Kanye West’s Monster in 2010. Beyoncé pokes fun at the scandal between Jay-Z and her sister Solange that occurred earlier this summer with the lyric “Of course sometimes shit goes down when there’s a billion dollars on that elevator!” The remix still contains the now famous “I woke up like this,” part from the original. The transition to Minaj’s verse is stunning when the production dies down, and Beyoncé yells “Onika!” (Nicki Minaj’s real name). Minaj then takes the lead and raps “Looking Trinidadian, Japanese and Indian. Got Malaysian, got that yaki, that wavy Brazilian.” The best part of the whole song comes after when Beyonce chimes in with a growling “them bitches thirsty, I’m Hungarian. Nicki, Bey, be eatin’ diamond fangs, barbarian, ah!” The Flawless (Remix) contains the aggressive production and vocal performance of the original, but it is taken to a new level with this remix. Making it one of the best tracks by Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj.
7. Me Against The Music – Britney Spears and Madonna
When Britney began her album In The Zone she had a little help from the Queen of Pop for the lead single. Me Against the Music has Spears and Madonna trading lines during the verses to build into a dance chorus that is irresistible. The track was a departure from Spears’ previous body of work because of its hip-hop elements. Funk guitars also drive this song to a new place where Spears’ had previously left unvisited.
Madonna haunts Britney on this track, and it creates a somewhat weird but enjoyable chemistry between the two. On the chorus they sing “All people on the floor let me see you dance!” These two pop queens together created a storm when this song was released. This was also due to that fact that Madonna rarely does features in other artist’s songs. This song came out at the time of high publicity between Spears and Madonna because of the kiss they shared at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards. Some saw that performance and this song as Madonna passing the torch to Britney, but more than ten years later both of these women are still at the top of the charts.
6. Beautiful Liar – Beyoncé and Shakira
Beautiful Liar is the sexiest song on this list. This track blends Beyoncé’s R&B and hip-hop background with Shakira’s latin style for a midtempo breakup anthem. Lyrically, this song deals with two women who were charmed by the same man. Instead of feuding they both decide that he is not worth their time. An earlier song, this shows Beyoncé has been consistently talking about feminism in her music.
This song opens with moans from both Beyoncé and Shakira, and it instantly sets the mood. Each woman tells their story on a verse, and the bridge melds their voices to a beautiful harmony. This song peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, certified platinum and was nominated for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals at the 2008 Grammys. The music video was also seen as one of the sexiest of the year because of Shakira and Beyonce’s dancing and styling.
5. The Boy is Mine – Brandy and Monica
Brandy and Monica were two of the biggest R&B stars off the 90’s, and The Boy Is Mine was their biggest chart success. We all remember the phone call that opens this track “I just want you to know he’s mine.” This song became the first pop #1 for both artists. The fun thing about The Boy Is Mine is that these two women were rumored to be in a feud. This turned out to be just silly tabloid rumors, and the normal routine of pitting female singers up against each other. Brandy and Monica poked fun at this ‘feud’ with this song, and created one of the most memorable songs of the 90’s. Infamous R&B songwriters and producers have their marks all over this song, including Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins and Dallas Austin. The Boy Is Mine was ranked at #8 on the Decade End Charts by Billboard, was nominated for three Grammys including Record of the Year, Best R&B Song, and won for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group in 1999. These two later reunited 14 years later in 2012 for the track It All Belongs To Me.
4. Bang Bang – Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj
This is the newest song on this list, but Bang Bang is already one of the best female collaborations ever. This song was immediately a success when it was released. Bang Bang debuted at #6 and peaked at #3 on the Hot 100, and received rave reviews from critics and fans. Originally, Jessie J was the only artist on Bang Bang. Producer Max Martin played it for Ariana Grande and she wanted to record a verse after.
Later on, Minaj heard it and jumped right on board with Jessie and Grande. Jessie J said “It was like real females, coming together, creating an empowering and supportive vibe, and then Nicki jumping on it was like the icing on the cake.” This song has just the right amount of sass, bounce, and clap beats to make it a pop classic. Jessie and Grande both sing “See anybody could be good to you. You need a bad girl to blow your mind!” These two have some of the strongest voices in pop music today, and Minaj is without a doubt the hottest female MC in the game. People will hear this song years from now and jumped enthusiastically when it plays. Bang Bang helped Jessie J make a comeback in the US, and added to Grande’s and Minaj’s numerous hits in 2014. Bang bang goes all of our hearts…
3. Let Me Blow Ya Mind – Eve and Gwen Stefani
As soon as this Dr. Dre produced track starts you are instantly drawn in. The minimal guitar notes that lead the production are some that are engraved into our memory. Eve raps about her place as a female rapper in the industry, and the way her peers look at her. She says “Now why you grittin’ your teeth? Frustration baby you got to breathe. Take a lot more than you to get rid of me,” over the smooth flow. Gwen Stefani then sings one of the most memorable hooks of the 2000’s “It took a while to get me in, and I’m gonna take my time. Don’t fight that good shit in your ear now let me blow ya mind,” Stefani playfully sings.
Let Me Blow Ya Mind is important because it marks the first solo work into a more pop sounding area for Gwen Stefani. Yes, her first solo debut was on Moby’s South Side, but that was more alternative rock and trip hop. She was one of the most prominent women in music in the 2000’s and she is still relevant today. These two women later reunited of Stefani’s commercially successful Rich Girl. Let Me Blow Ya Mind peaked at #2 on the Hot 100, was ranked on Billboard’s Decade End Chart, and won a Grammy Award in 2002 for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
2. Telephone – Lady Gaga and Beyoncé
This song was originally written for and turned down by Britney Spears. You can even her demo version online. Lady Gaga then took this track for herself, got Beyoncé on it, and made one of the best dance tracks of the past decade. This song fit in perfectly with The Fame Monster’s darker pop sound and helped Gaga and Beyoncé score another smash hit. The harps and Gaga smooth voice at the beginning set a relaxed mood, but it is then kicked into high gear with electro synth beats. No one did dance music better than Gaga in the early 2010’s, and Telephone is the proof.
The lyrics of Telephone speak of being suffocated by your partner, and leaving them behind for the night. This track contains the very Gaga lyric “Stop calling, stop calling, I don’t want to talk anymore. I’ve left my head and heart on the dance floor.” Arguably the best aspect of Telephone is it’s very strange structure. Gaga dazzles on the intro, first verse, and chorus, but Beyoncé brings in some major adrenaline to her part to take the listener on a wild ride. This song was nominated for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals at the 2011 Grammy Awards. The music video for Telephone was also widely acclaimed for its fashion, choreography, and storyline. It is a continuation of her video for Paparazzi, and Gaga has said part three is coming soon. Let’s hope these ladies get back in the studio together sooner rather than later.
1. Lady Marmalade – Mýa, P!nk, Lil Kim, and Christina Aguilera
The most well-known female collaboration is definitely Lady Marmalade. In 2001, the musical Moulin Rouge! was released and this song was the lead single from the soundtrack. It almost seemed as if the planets aligned to bring a rapper, R&B star, and two pop singers together for this track. Each woman’s voice is displayed individually on a verse, first Mýa, then P!nk, Lil’ Kim, and finally Christina Aguilera. All the lyrics are very sensual — examples include “She said, ‘Hello, hey Jo, you wanna give it a go?’” and “On her black satin sheets is where he started to freak.” All these verses lead up to a climax of Aguilera hitting some of her signature high notes.
This song is now a modern day classic. Every time it plays it gets a crowd going and brings a flirtatious energy. Every part of this song pays homage to each female, Lil’ Kim’s rap, Mýa’s soul, and P!nk and Christina Aguilera’s powerhouse voices. It is fun, sexy, and it is perfect to sing along to. Where would we be without the now iconic Lady Marmalade music video and the lyric voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?
What’s your favorite female collaboration?