It's always a rush when an artist releases a side project, and explores a different side of their creativity. Sometimes, it ends up being their biggest release, while in other occasions the music ends up being some hidden gems for the artist's biggest fans to discover.
Unfortunately, there haven't been any real collaborative albums or side projects by female rappers, but we're hoping that changes in the near future. Saweetie's hinted at a collaborative album with Cardi B, and we'd love to hear that eventuate. In the meantime, we've taken a look at a few of our favourite side projects, and what makes them so special. From global superstars, to Australian rap royalty, these hip-hop side projects are still on repeat, even today.
Mac Miller - Larry Fisherman
Mac Miller's producer alter-ego, Larry Fisherman, highlights the genius that was Malcolm McCormick. Producing 56 tracks across six projects from 2013-2015, production helped drive Mac's sound forward, after his early projects failed to live up to the hype surrounding them.
Mac's production as Larry Fisherman is credited as a reason that lo-fi rap took off, and his influence stretches beyond his own music. In addition to producing a lot of his own beats, Mac also produced beats for Vince Staples, SZA, Lil B, Ab-Soul and many more, with his peers holding his production in the highest regard.
Chance The Rapper - Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment
In addition to his solo work, Chance The Rapper is in a band called the Social Experiment, featuring himself, Donnie Trumpet (aka Nico Segal), Peter Cottontale and Nate Fox. In 2015, the band released their album Surf, which features the likes of J. Cole, Janelle Monáe, Erykah Badu and more.
Speaking about the project, Chance told The Fader, "Surf is Nico's project. He was working on it when we decided to be the Social Experiment, so we decided that his project should be first." Nevertheless, you can hear Chance's stamp all over the record, and it showcases a different side to his music.
Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West and Pharrell - Child Rebel Soldiers
Child Rebel Soldiers is the supergroup that never was. Made up of Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West and Pharrell, the trio appear on Kanye's 2007 mixtape Can't Tell Me Nothing with the track Us Placers. In total, the group released two singles, with the aforementioned Us Placers and 2010's Don't Stop!, and while an album was long-rumoured, it never eventuated.
In 2013, Lupe announced that the album had been cancelled. Whether it was due to label issues, creative differences or something else, the album's eventual cancellation was a dagger in the heart of hip-hop fans everywhere. Their two singles are just enough to show a glimmer of what could have been, and not enough music to understand what the group was. In many ways, CRS is the ultimate musical tease.
Mike Shinoda - Fort Minor
Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda started his hip-hop side project, Fort Minor, back in 2004, and it spawned one of the most iconic rap songs of the last couple of decades. Featuring on their debut (and only) album, The Rising Tied, Remember The Name is one of the ultimate hype-up songs.
Executive produced by Jay-Z, The Rising Tied set the bar high for what Fort Minor's music sounds like, and Mike Shinoda is still searching for a project that reaches that bar. Speaking about one of the features on the project, Black Thought, Mike told podcast host Neil Griffiths, "With Fort Minor I brought different people in to do different things and had some amazing features.
"I still believe that one of Black Thought's best verses of all time is on Right Now on the Fort Minor record and it just happens to be on my record. That would have been one my favourite verses he's ever done whether or not it was for that record. For me, there's a bit of a high bar. I don't know why."
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Joyride, Spit Syndicate, Horrorshow and Jackie Onassis - One Day
What do you get when you bring together Aussie rap royalty? You get the Sydney rap crew One Day, who released their 2014 album Mainline to huge acclaim. It's an album that combines some of the best bars that Australia's produced with chemistry that can't be faked, and Aussie rap fans talk about the album, even today.
One Day have been a rap crew since 2008, and their One Day Sundays parties are must-attend events for rap lovers in Australia. Whether you're a fan of melodic rap, hard-hitting bars or vocals that'll lift your spirits, Mainline contains stories that are both about society as a whole, as well as deeply personal, and it's a distillation of what make the different members of One Day so great.