Hip-hop tandems are nothing new. In 2009, KRS-One and Buckshot collaborated on Survival Skills, and that same year Canibus and Keith Murray got together and put out their Undergods album.
But in 2011, the idea of two solo MCs getting together seems to be more popular than ever. In June, [artist id="1163340"]Royce da 5’9″[/artist] and [artist id="502642"]Eminem[/artist] dropped their collaborative EP, Hell: The Sequel, as Bad Meets Evil, then on Monday, [artist id="1269"]Jay-Z[/artist] and [artist id="1230523"]Kanye West[/artist] released their get-together, Watch the Throne. On the very next day, [artist id="1938028"]Gucci Mane[/artist] and [artist id="3443335"]Waka Flocka Flame[/artist] emerged with their Ferrari Boyz album.
“It’s a trend,” Royce da 5’9″ said when he visited “RapFix Live” on Wednesday. “I don’t know who did it first, but it’s definitely a trend. I think my group — without tooting our own horns — I think my group Slaughterhouse started that four-man trend, that group trend. As far as the tandem thing, me and Em were working on the EP for a long time.”
Royce doesn’t take full credit for setting things off with Bad Meets Evil; he said he believes great minds think alike. “I think it’s a good thing that people are teaming up doing that because it’s something new in hip-hop and something that will continue the art form growing. If it stays the same for long periods of time, it starts to feel like it could fade away — which it can.”
The Detroit rapper, who dropped his fifth solo album, Success is Certain, earlier this week, admits that he’s only heard WTT in its entirety once — but so far, so good. “I think it’s good,” Nickel Nine commented. “It sounds like they went in and did what they wanted to do, which I can respect. That’s exactly what me and Marshall did: We went in and did the type of music that we wanted to do.
“They wanted to go in and make an album; that’s what they did. We wanted to go in and just be lyrical and box, go back and forth, and we not thinking about making an album.”
The success of both Watch the Throne and Hell: The Sequel leaves Royce optimistic about hip-hop’s future. “I think the fact that both of those projects are out and they are doing well, it’s great for hip-hop because both of them are lyrical projects, and it was one time in hip-hop when it wasn’t really cool to be lyrical,” he said. “So you got these big guns going in and showing these kids of today that it’s cool to be lyrical.”
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