May 29, 2015
What Makes A Dynamic Duo?
by RULA AL-NASRAWI
In lieu of Gemini's duality, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about pairings that just work. Peanut butter and jelly. Ginger and wasabi. Me and Drake. Ok wishful thinking on that last one but you get the picture. It led me into thinking more about pop music and all of the different collabs in recent years. Here's the thing. Not every pop star collaboration is a match made in heaven. I found that the perfect musical duo needs the perfect recipe: two parts diva power, one part physical chemistry, and one hundred percent sonic brilliance. No one wants to hear two people singing together that sound like a dying goat taking a shower. But on the same vein, no one wants to hear two people trying to outshine each other; the perfect duo shines brightly in tandem with each other i.e. Whitney and Mariah’s Prince of Egypt moment. This, my friends, is how it’s done.
A pop star that can master any collaboration essentially becomes a master of their own career. Knowing who you make a good pairing with means that you inherently know who you are as an artist. Beyoncé is one of these stars.
So Beyoncé is the queen of everything. We already know this. If that women touches something it either turns to gold or shrivels up into a ball and dies out of fear. There are so many aspects of the Beyoncé brand that have made her so invincible. But one of the most underrated thing is the fact that she can form an alliance like no other. If Beyoncé wants to form an alliance with you, say yes. Don’t be a fool and tell her you’ll think about it. There is literally nothing to think about. Bey has capitalized on the partner projects like no other in recent years, partnering up with Drake, Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj. In the music industry, you either sink or swim like your life depends on it. While Bey doesn’t seem to have any trouble coasting through, it’s clear her people know what they're doing.
When Beyoncé collaborates with someone, even if it looks like she’s BFF with the other person on the track, you just know it’s strictly professional. Why? Because it’s Beyoncé, and Beyoncé has no friends. Homegirl has no time for friends. Her friends are Jay, Solange and Blue. Dassit. So when you see her sharing a glazed donut with Gaga in the “Telephone” video just realize that as soon as that video wrapped up she was already in a private jet to New York or Tahiti or London or wherever people of her godliness jet off to. Gaga and Beyonce had their moment several years ago when Gaga was already a goddess in her own right but still much more relevant than she is now, no offense Gagz but it’s true. Beyonce didn’t do that by accident. Nothing that woman or her team does is an accident.
Her collabs with Nicki are always fire as well. Always. Especially the recent “Feeling Myself” video off Minaj’s album The Pink Print. Looking extra bootylicious, the girls raided the Coachella theme and made it cool again. And even though they had their goofy moments in the video you just KNOW that once the cameras stop rolling those two went their separate ways until the next project. Why would I think that you ask? Because once again, BEYONCÉ HAS NO FRIENDS. BITCH DOESN’T HAVE TIME FOR A FRIEND. Just pretend this is a game of Battleship and the only way to not die is to collaborate with all the right people all the time; Beyonce will sink your ship so fast.
Now, on to the ships that inevitably sink. These are the collaborations that in theory should knock it out of the park, but instead just set the entire park on fire. One person who needs to just never collaborate with anyone ever again is the Princess of Pop herself, Britney Spears. Spear’s newest collaboration has me extra stressed you guys. Like, I don’t know what to do with myself. Her newest song “Pretty Girls,” features rapper Iggy Azalea. And while you’re over there thinking “Well wait, they’re both great so what’s the problem?” I will tell you right now that everything about this collaboration is a problem.
Let’s go back to the formula and remember that physical and sonic chemistry are both vital parts of the equation. And while these girls should look and sound good together, they just don’t. The reason why Miss Britney Jean made a bad move is because she was so transparent in her choosing of Azalea. Spears does not know herself as an artist, and she never has. She’s just POP personified, picking and choosing minions based on how current they are, without stopping to think about if the collaboration even makes sense. Neither of these chicas can sing so what are they doing on the same track drawling back and forth at each other. Social suicide. It just goes to show that while two heads are certainly better than one, they have to be the right heads. Duality can be a beautiful thing, but only if both sides bring out the best in each other. And knowing who you are is the only way to truly know who you need beside you.