Music changes lives in profound ways, and there’s no other genre that is was as packed with poetic, deep-cutting life lessons as hip hop. This is perhaps why seemingly every kid who grew up with hip hop has a special attachment to a specific artist/album/song … and will legitimately fight you if you badmouth their special attachment.

So, it’s with at least a note of caution that we dedicate this week’s SlamXSounds - a playlist of music curated for a variety of events and themes – to 10 hip hop collaborations that changed our childhood. It’s a personal thing but, whatever, here we go. Read through our choices and reasons below, play through the whole playlist at bottom, then follow the mix on Spotify.

10 Hip Hop Collaborations That Changed Our Childhood

Eminem X Nate Dogg “‘Till I Collapse”

Such wild emotion was Eminem’s trademark and “‘Till I Collapse” is as intense an example as exists. It’s a track for the ball court, the gym – any moment when you need to get pumped up.

DMX X Marilyn Manson “The Omen”

The vividly dark imagery of this song was absolutely terrifying and it gave us nightmares.

The Notorious B.I.G. X R. Kelly “F*ck You Tonight”

The sexual themes of this Biggie track were eye-opening at the time.

2Pac X Anthony Hamilton “Thugs Mansion”

Preach, 2Pac, preach.

Jay Z X Eminem “Renegade”

This song taught us how gloriously lyrical rap could be.

2Pac X Snoop Dogg “2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted”

Have there ever been two slicker rappers on one track? Maybe, but this track taught us what “cool” really means.

Nas X AZ “Life’s A Bitch”

Basically every track on Illmatic was efficacious, but the line “Life’s a bitch and then you die” was so perfectly illustrative of everyday hardship that it’s stuck with us since we heard it. Also, AZ bodies the track with his verse, rightfully earning the only guest-spot on the album.

Busta Rhymes X Spliff Starr “Make It Clap”

It’s not cool to talk about middle school dances and parties, but that’s what this song will forever remind us of. Sometimes it’s not so much a song that affected your childhood, but what you were doing when it came out.

Kanye West X Syleena Johnson “All Falls Down”

Again, it wasn’t really this song’s content that affected our childhood (though today, it’s as poignant as ever); it was the single that marked Kanye’s real arrival as more than a producer and his music has been changing the way we think and interact with the world since.

Wyclef Jean X Refugee All Stars “Street Jeopardy”

Just listen to the stories in this song. It’s effectual in the same way that Menace II Society and Juice were.

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