We know that [artist id="510062"]Lil Wayne[/artist] and [artist id="1998098"]T-Pain[/artist] are the top-two guest appearances in the game either way you rank them. In 2008, the two worked with just about everybody, from [artist id="1225081"]T.I.[/artist] to [artist id="1235716"]Fall Out Boy[/artist]. Bankable! Having T-Wayne on your record practically guaranteed you big airplay on at least one radio format.
Who else put it down this year? Glad you asked. We ranked our top cameo performers of 2008 not named T-Pain or Weezy.
1. [artist id="1230523"]Kanye West[/artist]
Best Cameo: His work on
[artist id="1243444"]Young Jeezy's[/artist] "Put On" was amazing. On the song, 'Ye went from talking about the pain of losing his mom to needing at least one of the Simmons sisters to help soothe him. Yet we have to go with his verse on T.I.'s "Swagger Like Us": blissful confidence wrapped around melodic wordplay. As a sidebar, don't sleep on his verses from
[artist id="7590"]Jamie Foxx's[/artist] "Digital Girl."
2. Young Jeezy
[artist id="1270"]Usher's[/artist] "Love in This Club" was the biggest song he hopped on, giving the Snowman some great crossover, mainstream exposure, but we'll go with Young on [artist id="2815934"]Shawty Lo's[/artist] "Dey Know" remix. You had us at "hello." "I'm in my cool whip, insides Jell-O/ Hop up out that pretty mutha----a, like, 'Helllllll-ohhhh!' "
Best Cameo: 'Cris rips the meat off the bone every time he sinks his teeth into a record. The beloved blabbermouth has more styles and metaphors than entire rap crews. This is a tough one, considering how much we love his threat to Samuel L. Jackson on T.I.'s "Top of the World." But we'll go with T-Pain's "Chopped N Screwed" — vintage 'Cris lyrics with an animated style.
4. [artist id="1269"]Jay-Z[/artist]
Best Cameo: His name alone on your track makes it an event. His stint on T.I.'s "Swagger Like Us" had us singing, but the bars he just snuck in on DJ Khaled's "Go Hard" remix are so mean. Did you hear the reference to Heath Ledger? And let's not forget his cautionary line about Andy Griffith's alias: "Number-one rule if ya ass get caught/ Don't chatterbox to the Matlock."
5. [artist id="1164800"]Fabolous[/artist]
Best Cameo: "Addicted," of course. Fab and
[artist id="1715121"]Ryan Leslie[/artist] made a dope tandem on that track and on Slim's "Good Lovin." Let's not forget that Loso also shined on songs that paid homage to his hardcore roots, such as the remixes of Red Cafe's "Paper Touchin" and Maino's "Hi Hater."
6. [artist id="1940303"]Rihanna[/artist]
Best Cameo: Uh, this one is as easy. The absolute standout was "Live Your Life," one of T.I.'s biggest records ever. Rih Rih's word to the wise is a mantra to live by: "So keep on gettin' ya paper/ And keep on climbin'/ Look in the mirror/ And keep on shinin'/ Till the game end, till the clock stop/ We gonna post up on the top spot."
7. [artist id="2002414"]Ne-Yo[/artist]
Best Cameo: He helps more rappers in a bind than Murray Richman. Just ask the [artist id="1833864"]Game[/artist] ("Camera Phone") and
[artist id="1163822"]Jadakiss [/artist]("By My Side"), who connected with the talented songwriter in 2008 to turn what would have been album cuts into radio-friendly hits. But unequivocally, Ne-Yo's biggest guest turn was on [artist id="2034479"]Plies'[/artist] "Bust It Baby (Pt. 2)." His nimble crooning smoothed out the goon's rough edges and inched Plies closer toward mainstream stardom.
8. Ron Browz
Best Cameo: "Eeeeeether boooy" laced Busta Rhymes' "Arab Money" with his Auto-Tune-enhanced vocals and then upped the Vocoder a notch on
[artist id="1796387"]Jim Jones' [/artist] "Pop Champagne." He might not be T-Pain yet, but Harlem's newest heatmaker is two-for-two and recently inked a deal with Universal Motown for a solo project.
9. Jim Jones
Best Cameo: Jones has a way of making every song he jumps on uniquely his, so when he latched onto Kid Cudi's "Day 'N' Nite," well, the gruff Dipset honcho murdered the Cleveland newcomer on his own ish. Dark, unrelenting and woozy, it's classic Capo.
10. [artist id="1240040"]Akon[/artist]
Best Cameo: 'Kon kept his top-40 rep in tune on Kardinal Offishall's "Dangerous," but the Senegalese singer certified his 'hood cred when he belted out the hook on
[artist id="1800901"]DJ Khaled's[/artist] posse cut "Out Here Grinding." He balances out a lineup of thugs with his elastic vocals wailing over the Runners' rumbling synths. Watch for the hook on this one.