Three artists are taking over radio and video airplay these days. These artists are Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj and Iggy Azelea. One would think that these are very different women with only popular music weaving them together. Nicki and Iggy are supposed to be rapping enemies, and Ariana has worked with the two artists on two of the biggest songs this summer.
Beside all of the money pushing these ladies to sell and succeed, their image and sensuality are certainly in the forefront. Grande, a television teen-queen labeled as the next Mariah Carey incarnates Baby Spice Emma Bunton with baby doll dresses and sultry hip-hop collaborations. Her sophomore album currently debuted at number one. This makes her one of very few female artists whose first two albums have debuted on top of the chart.
Nicki Minaj, whose third studio album is due in the autumn, released two tracks: one is her girl-powered collaboration with Ariana and Jessie J, and the other is her own sampling of Sir Mix-a-lot titled “Anaconda”. The video for the latter has been one of the most-viewed videos this month, with 113 million views in just a week. The former over 12 million in a week. Her two albums have also reached number-one.
Iggy Azalea, whose debut album hit number one in the US and top five around the world, had one of the longest and biggest number-ones of 2014. “Fancy”, featuring Charli XCX, has sold close to four million downloads in the US alone. The song was number-one for seven weeks and even kept “Problem”, her collaboration with Grande, at bay, peaking at number-two.
Ariana Grande followed her only top ten single, with three collaborations this summer. The collaborations are all part of the latest album My Everything. “Problem” hit number two, and “Bang Bang” climbed to number four last week, after the release of the music video and her VMA performance with Nicki and Jessie J.
But outside of these success stories and the likes of Charlie XCX, Sia Furler, Meghan Trainor and Rita Ora, many female artists and collaborations have fallen into obscurity.
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Read more about female collaborations in popular music:
One of the biggest female pairings of recent history came in 1998 when Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston collaborated on [[“When You Believe”]]. The song reached #15 on the Hot 100 which, considering the plethora of number-ones both had accumulated to that point, was seen as an utter disappointment. However, the song was awarded an Academy Award for The Prince of Egypt soundtrack.
Houston took two other female collaborations to the top ten in the nineties. One was “Count On Me” with Cece Winans, which peaked at number eight. The other was [[“Heartbreak Hotel”]] with Kelly Price and Faith Evans, which peaked at number two.
Madonna, who is seen as the best-selling female artist of all time (Celine and Mariah are seen as the two best-selling females of the SoundScan era, which constitutes anything released after March 1991), did not have any features on her tracks until 2003. When she did, it was Britney Spears. [[“Me Against The Music”]] was released to promote In The Zone and despite their high-profile three-way kiss with Christina Aguilera, the song peaked at #35.
Since then, Madonna added two features to her repertoire. In 2008 she released “4 Minutes” with Justin Timberlake. That song peaked at number three in the US and became one of the best-selling songs of the year. Post Superbowl, as a lead single of her latest number-one album, MDNA, she released [[“Give Me All Your Luvin”]] with MIA and Nicki Minaj. The song peaked at number ten and was seen as a failure, considering the track featured two young and hip artists. Most cite her pairing with these artists (female) as the reason the song did not work.
Carey, on the other hand, has enjoyed four number-one singles with male artists from Trey Lorenz, to Jay Z, Joe and 98 Degrees. Most will remember her collaboration with Boys II Men. “One Sweet Day” is the longest number-one single of all time staying on top for sixteen weeks. An amount she almost matched when “We Belong Together” stayed on top for fourteen weeks. A lesser known collaboration is [[“Up Out My Face”]] with former American Idol co-judge and popular rapper, Nicki Minaj. The song and its video were released at the beginning of 2010 and hit #100.
Lady Gaga and Beyonce released two songs back to back to promote their albums The Fame Monster and I Am…Sasha Fierce. [[“Telephone”]] was the successful of the two, peaking at number three. [[“Video Phone”]] hit #65.
[[“Say Yes”]] the newest release by Michelle WIlliams includes Kelly Rowland and Beyonce Knowles. It may have peaked at #1 on the Gospel chart but it did not even enter the Hot 100.
Another Beyonce collaboration came in 2007 with Shakira. [[“Beautiful Liar”]] came after their two big hits, “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Irreplaceable”. The song peaked at number three, which was seen as an awkward stumble. In comparison, “Hips” featuring Wyclef Jean hit number-one and was the biggest-selling song of 2006. Beyonce has hit number-one with Jay Z, Sean Paul, and Slim Thug.
Kelly Rowland and Missy Elliot were featured on Fantasia’s latest hit [[“Without Me”]]. The song hit #74 in 2013. In 2007 Rowland featured Eve on [[“Like This”]] which hit #30. In 2005 [[“Here We Go”]] with Khia hit #17.
Before releasing a new single as a trio this year, Danity Kane also released a collaboration with Missy Elliot toward the end of their career as a five-piece. [[Bad Girl”]] did not chart on the Hot 100 despite the success of previous single, “Damaged”.