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The Rise of Hip Hop Collaborations in the 80s

Hip hop music emerged in the South Bronx of New York City in the late 1970s, and by the 1980s, it was a cultural phenomenon. The genre began as a way for inner-city youth to express themselves, but it quickly gained popularity and spread across the country. In the 80s, hip hop music evolved, and collaborations between artists became more common. This article explores the rise of hip hop collaborations in the 80s and how they helped to shape the genre.

The Emergence of Hip Hop in the 80s

In the early 80s, hip hop music was still a relatively new genre, but it was rapidly gaining momentum. Artists like Grandmaster Flash, Run-DMC, and Public Enemy began to rise to prominence. These early hip hop artists pioneered the use of samples, drum machines, and turntables to create a new sound that was unlike anything that had been heard before.

The Rise of Hip Hop Duos

One of the most noticeable trends in hip hop music during the 80s was the rise of duos. Groups like Eric B. & Rakim, EPMD, and Whodini were dominating the airwaves with their unique sound and catchy beats. These duos brought a new level of energy and creativity to hip hop music, which helped to propel the genre even further into mainstream culture.

Duos like Eric B. & Rakim were known for their smooth, intricate rhymes that were delivered over laid-back beats. Songs like “Paid in Full” and “I Ain’t No Joke” were instant classics and helped to solidify the duo as one of the best in the game.

EPMD was another popular hip hop duo that emerged in the 80s. They were known for their funk-inspired beats and laid-back rhymes. “You Gots to Chill” and “Strictly Business” were two of their most popular songs and helped to establish them as one of the most exciting and influential duos in hip hop.

Rise of Hip Hop Collaborations

While duos were gaining popularity in the 80s, collaborations between artists were also becoming more common. These collaborations allowed artists to experiment with their sound and to incorporate new influences into their music.

One such collaboration that had a major impact on hip hop music was the 1986 single “Walk this Way” by Run-DMC and Aerosmith. This collaboration brought together two very different artists and helped to introduce hip hop music to a wider audience. The song was a massive commercial success and helped to pave the way for future collaborations between hip hop artists and musicians from other genres.

Another notable collaboration during the 80s was between LL Cool J and Rick Rubin. Rubin was a producer who had worked with a variety of artists, including the Beastie Boys and Run-DMC. When he teamed up with LL Cool J, they created some of the most iconic songs in hip hop history, including “I Can’t Live Without My Radio” and “Rock the Bells.

The Influence of Hip Hop Collaborations

The collaborations between hip hop artists during the 80s helped to push the genre in new and innovative directions. By working with musicians from other genres, hip hop artists were able to experiment with new sounds and styles that they might not have explored otherwise.

Collaborations also played a key role in widening the audience for hip hop music. By teaming up with artists from other genres, hip hop artists were able to reach new fans who might not have listened to hip hop before.


Hip hop collaborations were a major trend in the 80s and helped to shape the genre into what it is today. Duos like Eric B. & Rakim and EPMD brought a new level of creativity and energy to hip hop music, while collaborations between artists like Run-DMC and Aerosmith and LL Cool J and Rick Rubin helped to introduce the genre to a wider audience. These collaborations opened up new avenues for hip hop artists to explore, and their influence can still be seen in hip hop music today.