You only need to take a look at Gorillaz’ Demon Dayz’ lineup to see that Damon Albarn’s animated group have a penchant for hip hop music: Danny Brown, Vince Staples, Little Simz, De La Soul, as well as many others.
We’ve put together a selection of our favourite Gorillaz tracks where they recruited the help of a hip hop artist.
Straight in with a track from the new album, ‘Humanz’. Gorillaz have worked with some of hip hop’s most iconic artists, but this one features one of modern rap’s guiding lights, Vince Staples.
“All hail King Neptune and his water breathers”, this is one of the several times Gorillaz linked up with De La Soul, this time taken from ‘Plastic Beach’.
This non-album cut was released in February 2012 as a collaboration with Converse, and managed to wrangle both James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem as well as André 3000 of OutKast. There’s a 13 minute version floating around out there, if it takes your fancy.
There were many collaborations on 2010’s LP ‘Plastic Beach’, and Mos Def appears twice on it. However, it’s ‘Sweepstakes’ over ‘Stylo’ that makes it on this list for ever-so-slightly better lyricism from Yasiin. The track also features Hypnotic Brass Ensemble with the horns.
Gorillaz may have strong links to US rappers, but they’re no slouches when it comes to picking the very best UK talent too. For ‘All Alone’ they recruited Rodney Hylton Smith, aka the legendary Roots Manuva.
Ok, so it’s big guns time. ‘Feel Good Inc.’ is De La Soul’s second entry in our top ten and the most successful single Gorillaz ever released. Taken from ‘Demon Days’, the song also won Best Pop Collaboration at the 2006 Grammy Awards.
Some might say this is a bit high, but to me this is the quintessential Gorillaz track. A beautiful intro with music from The National Orchestra For Arabic Music and input from two of grime’s most talented young voices. Culture and genre clashing is what Gorillaz are all about.
If you call yourself a Gorillaz fan and you can’t rap along to Del’s verses then you need to re-evalute yourself.
Taken from the 2005 album ‘Demon Days’, DOOM and Gorillaz is a macabre match made in heaven. We have our fingers firmly crossed that the masked villain will make an appearance at the Demon Dayz festival in Kent this weekend.
Gorillaz’ self-titled debut album propelled them into our consciousness 16 years ago. Del the Funky Homosapien was the pioneering Gorillaz hip hop collaborator in many respects, and he features once again on this one. It also has a sample of ‘How Many People (Ready to Rock the House?)’ by rapper John Forté.
Demon Dayz is taking place this Saturday. For anyone unfortunate enough to have not picked up tickets to the sold out event, we’ll be streaming the event live via Red Bull TV on the day. We’ll keep you updated closer to then.