The Top 10 Beyonce Collaborations
In the sports entertainment universe, wrestler Rob Van Dam is "the whole damn show." In the fictional sphere of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, ascending to international tennis is "making the show"; in the real world, that's what aspiring baseballers think of as earning a spot on a MLB team. In contemporary adult pop, Beyonce Knowles is "the show": a sleek, melismatic sylph with diversified artistic and business interests, entire whirling constellations of girl-you-so-crazy gesticulations and tics. Solange is her indie-leaning younger sister and Jay Z her hip-hop president hubby, but Bey eclipses both of them and everyone else on Earth, even when Barack Obama's in the room.
Most of the time, billion-watt megastars like her don't really need collaborative foils; they just get in the way when the Princes and Michael Jackson's and Madonnas of the world are laying waste to huge cities like New York, Paris, and Tokyo. Sometimes, though--sometimes
Our Bey's world collides with some lesser heavenly body, and odd, unexpected magicks happen. Below, we round her the 10 most amazing collabs, from least astounding to most irreplaceable.
Beyonce performs at Barclays Center Saturday, Sunday and Monday, August 3, 4 and 5.
10. Beyonce feat. Andre 3000,
If you catch yourself psychoanalyzing "Party," you're too uptight, pal--you're like the chick rocking Laura Ashley ensembles during an all-ages show at the Smell or something. You probably need to knock back a couple shots, maybe do a cartwheel. Relax. Bey and Three Stacks are kicking back, just chilling; you should, too.
9. Destiny's Child,
"Lose My Breath"
Their "Push It," basically (not their "I've Seen Footage," or is it?) with structural assists from Rodney Jerkins and Jay Z, that sounds maybe half as crazy as the video makes them look, which--honestly--was/is a big part of the appeal of these three. Ideal for cheerleading routines, Zumba workouts, house-painting marathons; way less skanky than "Jumpin', Jumpin'" several years earlier, somehow not as stridently murderess and surly as "Ring The Alarm" a couple years later.
8. Mary J. Blige feat. Beyonce
"Love A Woman"
Wherein the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul and Mrs. Sean Carter put their heads together to compress a Maxim Magazine column's worth of relationship advice into five perfectly molten minutes.
7. Beyonce feat. Jay Z
"Crazy In Love"
Nobody really drops in on "Crazy In Love" after a long absence to listen to Jay Z play hypeman to his lady, but there's a terrestrial cast to his rhymes that acts as a nice contrast to Bey's Cirque De Soleil showboating here. Nobody's gonna change the station if this one comes on; they're gonna crank it up.
6. Alicia Keys feat. Beyonce
"Put It In A Love Song"
Wherein Mrs. Swizz Beats and Mrs. Bootilicious put their heads together to ... well, you get the idea, but this time with more pianos and skeletal drums, plus you can jump rope to this one; someone is double-dutching to this thing right now, we bet.