Jack White spoke to GQ about a recent recording session with hip-hop hero Jay-Z, and sounded quite enthusiastic about the end result: “We did a song together a few weeks ago. It was incredible. I played him something that I’ve been kicking around for a while and he immediately came out with words for it. It’s unbelievable sounding,” he said.
White is certainly a busy musician. In addition to his bands The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, and Dead Weather, he has recorded collaborations with Beck, Loretta Lynn, and the Rolling Stones, and was recently featured in the 2009 documentary It Might Get Loud, alongside guitar legends Jimmy Page and The Edge. Of course Jay-Z isn’t exactly sitting home watching soap operas, as he’s currently on tour for his 11th number one album The Blueprint 3.
Both have had lent their talents to a slew of collaborations, but neither has really stepped that far out of his comfort zone. Jay’s collaborations have mostly been with fellow hip-hop artists like Eminem, Kanye West, Rihanna, and his wife Beyoncé, while Jack hasn’t strayed far from the rock world. But if you’re looking to win a six-degrees-of-Jack White/Jay-Z game, both have worked with Alicia Keys (maybe she gave Jack Jay’s number?) on high-profile projects: White on the 2008 Quantum of Solace theme song, “Another Way to Die,” and Jay-Z on – do you even have to ask? – “Empire State of Mind.”
In his defense, Jay-Z has expressed interest in expanding his musical horizons, and he’s worked with Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Linkin Park, put offers out to bands like MGMT, and even took in a Grizzly Bear show last summer. He’s known to fill his live performances with surprise guests, like John Mayer, whose pulsating guitar riffs enhanced hits like “’03 Bonnie and Clyde,” “Run This Town,” “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” and “D.O.A.” at his “Answer the Call” concert in September. That highly enjoyable performance makes me optimistic that a collaboration with Jack White would be just as good. Plus, since White is known for his eccentric personality and private nature, a collaboration with the ubiquitous Jay-Z would make for an interesting scenario come promotion time.
Let’s hear it PopWatchers: Does this collaboration sound strange or awesome? Which artists would you love to see work together?