Less than a quarter of the way through and 2014 is already a huge year for reuniting rap duos. Outkast announced they will play 40 shows together this year – starting with a long-awaited reunion at Coachella. Meanwhile, Pusha T says he and brother No Malice, formerly Malice, will be releasing a new Clipse album in 2014 – their first since the end of 2009.
If 2014 is a year for squashing beef and collaborating on music, it may be a year for hip-hop fans to dream big. Remember, the relationship between Andre 3000 and Big Boi seemed irreparable just a few years ago, and No Malice’s religious epiphany seemed to have doomed any chance of another grimy, cocaine rap Clipse record.
Some are established groups, some are less known, some were one-time deals, and others would have to reunite from beyond the grave. With that in mind, here are 20 other hip-hop duos and trios we wish would reunite and put out more music.
Technically, the Big Tymers will reunite this year but the new incarnation with consist of Birdman, Lil Wayne, and Drake and leaves out Manny Fresh – who has had a very public falling out with the imprint. The infusion of Wayne and Drake will certainly introduce a new generation to one where Plymouth Prowler limousines reigned supreme in the music videos.
Chester French + Clinton Sparks
The Harvard-bred duo released two albums together – the last in 2012 – and both were pretty good. But the real treasure from these two was their Jacques Jams, Vol. 1: Endurance mixtape that was hosted by Clinton Sparks. Besides being pretty funny, the mixtape featured a lot of excellent music, with a diverse crew of rappers including Kardinall Offishall, Jadakiss, and a pre-fame Janelle Monae. It’s unclear if the two have broken up officially, but a return to mixtapes would be welcome.
This seems like a no-brainer: Talib Kweli is still putting out music, and Mos Def is now Yasiin Bey but is still rapping. Kweli has teased a follow-up to 1998’s Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star, but it seems like to two are still focused on solo projects and other music. Sixteen years is a long time to wait, but the two are still sharp as ever and capable of another classic.
Before you start typing out an angry comment, just wait: it’s not as far-fetched as it seems. Yes, Eazy-E is dead. Yes, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube are busy with headphones and buddy comedies, respectively. But the group partially reformed around the end of the last millennium, recording a couple new tracks with Snoop Dogg as an Eazy-E stand in. Maybe 25 years is too long, and gangsta rap will never make a return. But with hologram technology these days… why not?
The Neptunes and N.E.R.D.
We just can’t get enough Pharrell. It’s been a few years since N.E.R.D.’s Nothing was released – the fourth album in eight years for the trio. Since then it’s been… well, nothing. As for the Neptunes? They have produced countless hits over the last decade, but haven’t put out an official album since 2003’s Clones which was a number one smash. Pharrell had a huge 2013 where he scored seven Grammy Awards. He may be too busy to return to his two side projects, but any kind of Pharrell/Chad Hugo/whoever else album would be undeniably great.
Danger Mouse and CeeLo Green
An open call for more of these two dude’s collaborations: more DangerDoom, more Goodie Mob, and definitely more Gnarls Barkley. Maybe Danger Mouse is too busy making music, and CeeLo is too busy being on… The Voice. Definitely had to look that up. But Gnarls Barkley was one of those weird, fun collaborations that actually worked, regardless of how overplayed they were. Ditto for DangerDoom, the Danger Mouse/MF Doom collabo that created a stellar album in 2005 and not much since.
Lil Wayne + Juelz Santana
With every guitar lick and cunnilingus reference, it gets harder and harder to remember how awesome Lil Wayne used to be. Weezy and Dipset’s Juelz Santana put out a collaborative mixtape called Blow in 2006, as a prequel to a planned album called I Can’t Feel My Face. That album never materialized, and it’s a shame, since the two seemed to bring out the best in each other. Maybe Wayne started playing guitar because he thought he was collaborating with Carlos Santana.
DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
Maybe the death of James Avery will bring these two back together. Will Smith and Jazz have appeared together a few times in the past few decades, but everyone knows nostalgia sells. A full-on album from two nearly 50-year-old rappers may not be the easiest sell, but a generation weaned on Buzzfeed lists and GIFs of Carlton dancing would eat this up.
Method Man & Redman
Not another TV show. NOT another TV show. NOT ANOTHER TV SHOW! Another Blackout! album would be great, you guys. How High 2? Ugh, fine.
Tha Infamous duo had a few false starts the last few years, especially when Prodigy went away up north. The two feuded after Prodigy’s release, but a new album is allegedly on the way, supposedly featuring a guest spot from Queens’ own Action Bronson.
UGK for life should be taken literally. Pimp C died in 2007, but UGK still released a hit record in 2009. The man was prolific enough to sustain at least one posthumous album, so why not another? There have to be some hidden verses somewhere that Bun B can bless.
2 Chainz needs to stop running from his Tity Boi past and embrace it. Dolla Boy probably has some free time – just guessing.
50 Cent is like Michael Jordan – a legend years ago who made plenty of money and ran a team into the ground. Lloyd Banks is like Scottie Pippen – underrated, under-appreciated, and has probably punched a man in a parking lot. Tony Yayo is like B.J. Armstrong. This reunion would mostly be for the benefit of Lloyd Banks, who still has the skills and just needs more exposure.
A New York trio that put out a bunch of great and really fun music for a few years before succumbing to those dreaded “creative differences” in 2010. Defacto leader Fat Jew was known to wear Timberland boots and a thong onstage, which really had to be seen to be fully appreciated.
Spank Rock and XXXChange put out bass-laden, ass-shaking music for a few glorious years before splitting in 2007. Spank Rock released the subtly titled Everything Is Boring and Everyone Is a Fucking Liar in 2011, but it just wasn’t the same.
It may seem greedy with Clipse reuniting this year to wish for more, but some of the best stuff Pusha and Malice created was with Ab-Liva and Sandman. The We Got It 4 Cheap mixtapes simply crushed, and it’s been six long years since the foursome have blessed us with more. With Sandman out of the crew, it may be too much to ask for.
Watch The Throne
Kanye West allegedly needs money. Jay Z cannot say “no” to more touring. This is the safest bet of all duos to put out something new.
Jay Z and Eminem
Here’s something a little more interesting. Everyone loves “Renegade,” Jay Z’s 2001 track off The Blueprint featuring Slim Shady. It is five minutes of pure bliss, featuring two standout performances by Jay and Em. Watch The Throne is cool and all, but why have Jay and Eminem not reunited since? They may not care for each other, but if anything could be bigger than a Jay Z and Kanye tour, it would be this massive pairing.
Jay Z and R. Kelly
Oh man, these two HATE each other – or at least did, following a controversial aborted tour in 2004. But how fantastic would a Best of Both Worlds reunion be?
Eric B and Rakim
Just wishful thinking. Rakim is still around and going strong – though Eric B seems to have left music. The two were finalists for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame a few years ago, and a reunion could pave the way for induction if the two actually care about something like that. They don’t sweat much.