Sometimes, you can't do it alone - and that applies to making some of the biggest rap songs of the last decade. It's always exciting to see two or more rappers go toe-to-toe on a track, because often, it can bring out the best in all of them.
We've taken a look back at the last decade to see what were some of the best guest verses to emerge. While too many cooks can spoil a broth, when you get some of the biggest musicians on the planet in the same room to record a track together, often it's the best dish you've ever had.
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As fans, it's always exciting to discuss whether the main artist, or the feature artist, had the best verse - and here's a few examples of when the feature artists might just have shone the brightest.
Jay Rock on Kendrick Lamar - Money Trees
Along with fellow Black Hippy Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar's Money Trees is one of the standouts from his 2012 album good kid, m.A.A.d city, but it's one of the rare instances where Kendrick gets outshone on any track - let alone his own.
One of the reasons that Jay Rock's verse stands out so much is thanks to Kendrick, however. Kendrick talks about his past - while Jay Rock talks about his present. He's hitting the streets to make things work, whereas Kendrick says on Money Trees he's left that behind - and it's that energy that Jay Rock brings on his Money Trees verse that makes it one of the best guest appearances of last decade. He wants to sit "under a money tree", and he'll keep grinding until he gets there.
Chance The Rapper on Kanye West - Ultralight Beam
Chance The Rapper had already released the hugely popular mixtapes 10 Day and Acid Rap by the time he featured on Kanye West's 2016 track Ultralight Beam, but when it's all said and done, Ultralight Beam might just be his greatest moment. Invoking religion - a theme that would go on to be a big part of both artists' future output - Chance writes himself an origin story that can never be taken away from him.
For a period, Chance's verse on Ultralight Beam was the only thing worth talking about for rap fans - this was his part, and nobody else speak. Having met Kanye, he thought he was never going to fail - and while that still remains to be seen, 2016 Chance The Rapper had the Midas Touch.
Nicki Minaj on Kanye West - Monster
Back in 2010, things looked a lot different. Kanye had just dropped his magnum opus, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and along with it came Monster. The track features Bon Iver, Rick Ross and Jay-Z - but it's Nicki Minaj who shines brightest.
The song almost never came out, either, with Nicki revealing in 2017 that the song was nearly cut off the album, saying, “It was like an hour-long call where I tried to convince him to let the song stay on his album." We're glad it was kept on the album, because Nicki's verse became legendary amongst hip-hop fans - and stands today as one of the best feature verses in recent memory.
J. Cole on 21 Savage - A Lot
J.Cole went on a feature run in 2018/2019 that seemingly would go on forever without a miss - until it ended with a feature on the new Gang Starr track. Before that, J.Cole recorded what many consider to be his best verse from the run - a feature on 21 Savage's a lot. It's by no means a brief feature, but it does flow by - you'll catch yourself rewinding it a few times to listen to what he's saying, and then it'll hit you. If nothing else, it's the only feature on this list referencing memes.
Speaking about the run to XXL, Cole said, "I don’t want to be done with rap years from now and look back like, Damn, I didn’t even work with nobody. I don’t want to have no regrets. The year that I’m going to have is all coming from a place of when this shit is all said and done, I want to know that I left no stone unturned."
In the space of a year, and without dropping a song of his own, Cole changed the opinions of many about his music. He might have gone platinum three times with no features on his own albums, but it's on those features in 2018/2019 that he arguably did his best work.
André 3000 on Frank Ocean - Pink Matter
André 3000 has to be up there in the conversation for greatest rapper of all time, or at least, one of the most versatile. On Frank Ocean's 2012 debut album Channel Orange, Frank showed the world that he was a superstar - but there was one track in particular where he was outshone.
3 Stacks' flow on Pink Matter is hypnotising, and completes Frank's ode to the female form. Pink Matter is one of Frank's most interesting tracks, and a highlight of his discography - but at least for one track, he's outshone by one of the most accomplished rappers of all time, and there's no shame in that.
Cardi B on Migos - MotorSport
Cardi B had a huge 2017, dropping Bodak Yellow, as well as proving that she had the ability to take over other people's tracks as well as she could her own. Cardi spent 2017 making sure that no-one could forget her name, and it propelled her into superstardom.
On MotorSport, Cardi B competes with Nicki Minaj, as well as Migos, and doesn't pull any punches. Cardi declares herself to be the "trap Selena", and Migos are happy to take a back seat on this track - instead of trying to push themselves into the limelight, they let Nicki and Cardi show exactly what they're capable of bringing to the table on a feature.
Kendrick Lamar on Big Sean - Control (Remix)
Kendrick Lamar's verse on Big Sean's Control (Remix) saw Kendrick feeling himself. After all, he had just dropped good kid, m.A.A.d city, so he can be forgiven - even if many expected him to take a little bit of a break.
The impact of the feature is measurable - for almost three minutes, Kendrick called out 11 of his peers by name, spawning more than a dozen responses, and gaining more than 200,000 Twitter followers for the verse.
It's safe to say that Control (Remix) was a moment in time where all eyes were on Kendrick, for one of the first (but not the last) times. It was a wake-up call to those around him - they needed to stop taking subliminal potshots, and start putting people on blast, which they did - and hip-hop has been better for it ever since.
Beyoncé on Nicki Minaj - Feeling Myself
Beyoncé might one of the biggest popstars in the world, but when she wants to, she can go bar-for-bar with absolutely anyone. Both Nicki and Bey are flexing, and it just makes us wish Bey would rap a bit more.
Speaking about the experience of recording together, Nicki says, “I always feel like I learn so much when I work with her. I don’t normally work with people like me. I’m always the one feeling like I’m a lunatic.” Minaj laughs. “Like I’m over-thinking everything. But she’s very, very hands-on. So whenever I work with her, I feel maybe I’m not so bad after all.” It's clear that Bey is a big influence on Nicki.
Vince Staples on Earl Sweatshirt - Hive
Vince Staples has established himself as one of the most genuine rappers in the game, but back in 2013, he was still definitely up-and-coming. His verse on Earl Sweatshirt's Hive saw him come in at the end of the track and blow Earl out of the water - which is definitely no easy task.
Vince's energy on Hive is utterly menacing - he's making threats, and it's pretty easy to believe he's not mucking around. You won't catch many rappers admitting that they got smashed on their own track, but when it comes to Vince's verse on Hive, Earl was happy to admit that "hes the best."
THIS NIGGA VINCE STAPLES HAS BEST RAP VERSE OF THE YEAR ON HIVE ITS 32 BARS OR SOME SHIT IT TOOK THAT NIGGA 15 MINUTES TO WRITE HES THE BEST
— thebe kgositsile (@earlxsweat) April 28, 2013
Noname on Chance The Rapper - Lost
Noname first got people's attention when she appeared on Chance The Rapper's second mixtape, Acid Rap - and it was clear from that moment that she was going to be a huge talent. Putting her heartache on show, heartbreak was a theme that Noname would continue to discuss throughout her discography, and Lost showed fans exactly what she was capable of bringing to the table when she hopped on a track.
Speaking to comedian Hannibal Buress in 2016, Chance said it was one of his favourite verses, saying, "The best guest verse that I got from somebody is the Noname verse on Lost." It's hard to argue with Chance - the track sees the pair match each other's energy - with both bringing their absolute A game.
Rick Ross on Kanye West - Devil In A New Dress
When you think of Rick Ross, there's a lot that comes to mind, but one thing many people agree on is that his verse on Devil In A New Dress is legendary. Getting a call from Kanye on the last day before he had to turn in MBDTF, after not seeing him for eight years, Rick knew that time was against him - and he brought his A-game. His verse on Devil In A New Dress is a career-defining verse that captures what's so enjoyable about Rick Ross. It's a great way to end the track, and Kanye arguably saves the best part of the song until last.
Rick Ross spoke about recording the verse in his memoir Hurricanes, saying he re-did it after Kanye told him, “I know that you can do something better than that." Two hours later, he had put together the one we hear on Devil In A New Dress - and it's a verse that many consider to be the best he's ever put out.