Ariana Grande, Jessie J and Nicki Minaj are set to become the rare triple threat with a new collaboration, “Bang Bang,” hitting the airwaves at the end of July. But duets – some great and some just plain crazy – have long been a staple of pop music. Here are 5 of the most unlikely music mixes we’ve seen over the past few years:
1. Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett, “The Lady Is A Tramp”
Lady Gaga has world-class pipes. She doesn’t get to show off her range often enough, but with Tony Bennett, she delivered an authentic jazz gem. The song is also perfect for the times, with an original tongue-in-cheek attack on class, jiving well with Gaga’s themes of empowerment. If you like it, get excited, because a full record of duets titled "Cheek to Cheek" is coming later this year.
2. Psy & Snoop Dogg, “Hangover”
The perfect inspiration for this list: an out-of-the-blue collaboration escorted by an off-the-wall video about out-on-the-tiles life, “Hangover” is further proof that neither Psy nor Snoop takes himself too seriously. The point early in the video where the Compton rap icon is patting the puking K-pop star on the back is the funniest musical moment of 2014 to date.
3. Common & Jonas Brothers, “Don’t Charge Me For the Crime”
These former Disney pop princes made a song about getting wrapped up in a robbery for their final studio album, “Lines, Vines and Trying Times.” Stranger yet, they got well-respected Chicago rapper Common to come in and trade lines with them. Despite some clumsy lyrics, the song is a surprisingly winning outlaw effort from the most straight-laced “rock stars” ever to plug in a Gibson.
4. Kesha & Iggy Pop, “Dirty Love”
In simple terms, you have one member of the current Mount Rushmore of Pop singing a duet with punk pioneer Iggy Pop. Seems doomed, but the two artists are united in their love of just having fun. Not the best track off the album, but with lines like “keep your leopard limousine / I just want your love,” it’s hard to fault the combo.
5. Brad Paisley & LL Cool J, “Accidental Racist”
The total opposite of “Hangover,” “Accidental Racist” is a misguided attempt at social awareness that was met with widespread scorn for being both uncomfortably earnest and reductive in its take on racism. We can’t fault both of them for trying something new, but the results are an underwhelming blending of genres.