Contrasting Collabs: it's a blessing when every artist on your iPod can come together, in the studio or on stage

I love electronic music. Zeds Dead is from Toronto. Freddie Gibbs is one of my favourite rappers. I vibe to his gangster-fueled rhyme and verse. Put them together and it's a superb pair.

What was once taboo for collaborations between artists of contrasting genres has now come to be accepted, welcomed and extensively praised by those who "listen to everything." I fall into the category of those who "listen to everything... and I mean EVERYTHING," so it's been refreshing to see creative partnerships between artists and bands I love, even if they seem worlds apart.

Last week, Zeds Dead dropped their track, "Back Home," featuring Gary, Indiana's godfather Freddie Gibbs. The track has a dark, brooding bassline that progresses into bridges and interludes of trancy bright keys. The trap 808 syncopation is a perfect table for Gibbs to rest his words on, spewing his signature out-for-blood, don't fuck with me, lyrics. 

Bridge 2:
Say why you wanna go to war with me, to war with me
I got choppers in the car with me, the squad with me
You don't want to go to war with me, to war with me
I got choppers in the car with me, the squad with me
Lyrics via Genius.

I've seen both artists live, and if there's anything they have in common from the start, it's their ability to deliver a solid show. Zeds Dead can kill a mix, turn the crowd into a moshpit, transition from house to rave-worthy drum and bass and get your energy up when it's almost time for last call. I can't tell you how hard I went when they played the Andy C remix of Major Lazer's "Get Free" at Mad Decent Block Party 2014.

Their collaboration with Twin Shadow and D'Angelo Lacy was my soundtrack every morning as I jogged around the small town of Capurso, Puglia, Italy that same summer. And I still sing at the top of my lungs whenever it's on the radio.

We checked out Freddie Gibbs live for the first time in October 2015 at the Hoxton, and we were front row. On stage and in person, he is aggressive, precise and powerful in his demeanour. A cross between a hood gangster and contemporary GQ dude, he addresses his audience with confidence. Some people consider him a hipster rapper, but I disagree. Don't fuck around if you're standing in the front - he will call you out. Don't bother trying to shake his hand, or think you'll get that ESGN hoodie signed - it ain't happening. He gets on stage, does his thing and departs. If you're lucky, he might return for an a Capella of "Pronto" or Pinata classic "Deeper."

But it doesn't end there. Two other artists I am particularly fond of teamed up for a cover of overplayed yet undeniable "Hotline Bling." This weekend at Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival in Florida, Miguel joined Win Butler of Arcade Fire on stage for a fun rendition of Drake's eponymous track,  complimenting each other's healing musical vibes, one R&B, the other indie rock.

Check out a video of the performance here: https://www.periscope.tv/miguelofficial/1nAJEjjvQmvxL

Miguel also collaborated with Tame Impala, Kacey Musgraves and Travis Scott for his new Rogue Waves EP, which features colourful renderings of his song, "Waves," originally released on his 2015 full length release, Wildheart. Arcade Fire's set list included everything from David Bowie to Led Zeppelin, and an encore of Earth Wind & Fire, featuring Marcus Mumford. The festival's diverse lineup included Skrillex, Odesza, Kendrick Lamar, The Avett Brothers and Robert Plant, amongst others.

 Miguel and Win Butler of Arcade Fire at Okeechobee Music Fest in Florida, March 5, 2016.

Miguel and Win Butler of Arcade Fire at Okeechobee Music Fest in Florida, March 5, 2016.


Although the concept of creative partnerships of the opposite genre or medium isn't new, it's something I'd like to explore more in terms of the complimentary results that's an unexpected, yet pleasant surprise.