2017 was a year filled with ups and downs, but luckily, we have music to thank for saving our souls and mending our hearts.
When there are no words to describe how you’re feeling, music never fails, and some of our favorite tracks that helped us escape this year happened to be ones that brought our most beloved artists together.
From can’t-get-it-out-of-your-head dance tracks to beautiful duets, ET’s breaking down the best music collaborations of 2017.
We think it’s safe to say that Kendrick Lamar’s fourth studio album, DAMN., was damn good. Like, really damn good.
In addition to hits like “Humble,” “Love” and “DNA,” the album also featured Rihanna on this sultry track, which samples “24K Magic,” produced by Shampoo Press & Curl and The Stereotypes and performed by Bruno Mars. Additionally, it features interpolations of “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” by Ol’ Dirty Bastard and “Get Your Mind Right Mami” by JAY-Z.
It’s a standout track that immediately got the attention of music lovers across the nation, including us here at ET. That’s why it came as no surprise when the song received a nomination for Best Rap/Sung Performance for the 2018 GRAMMYs.
Sexy lyrics with a nostalgic sound? We’re here for this! Released in June from Khaled’s 10th studio album, Grateful, the song won Best Collaboration at the Soul Train Music Awards and Best Collaboration, Duo or Group at the BET Hip Hop Awards.
If you listen closely, you’ll hear an obvious sampling from Carlos Santana’s 1999 hit single, “Maria Maria,” which is one of the many reasons why we loved this track so much. And we’re not the only ones who co-signed it – Santana did, too!
“There is a reason that the infectious groove/theme that Wyclef and I created on ‘Maria Maria’ still resonates today,” Santana said, praising Khaled, Tiller and RiRi. “It speaks to the heart. DJ Khaled, Rihanna and Bryson take that vibe and bring it to a new dimension with ‘Wild Thoughts,’ but the groove and essence of the song is still intact. I am honored that DJ Khaled, Rihanna and Bryson felt the intense intentionality of ‘Maria Maria’ and have shared this summer vibe with the world.”
Also off Grateful, Khaled released this celebrity-packed banger in April, and it remained one of the hottest songs of the summer… and of one our all-time favorites of 2017! “I’m the One” marked the first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for Khaled, Chance the Rapper and Quavo as a solo performer outside of his group, Migos. The music video featured the artists living their best lives at an outdoor house party, with cameos by Offset and Takeoff and the album’s executive producer, Khaled’s 1-year-old son, Asahd.
In an interview with Billboard, Khaled revealed that he personally called up all of his friends and asked them to be a part of the record.
“You can tell by the sound and when you watch the video that it was love involved,” he explained, “and everybody was a part of it.”
“The truth will set you free. But first it will piss you off.”
Couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Released in November as the debut single from N.E.R.D.’s new album, No One Ever Really Dies, fans were stoked about these mega-talented acts teaming up. It was Pharrell Williams’ funk rock group’s first song since 2014, and with help from RiRi, they certainly didn’t disappoint.
JaQuel Knight, the mastermind behind the choreography in the “Lemon” music video, stopped by ET earlier this month, where he taught us how to do the next big dance craze. Watch HERE.
At this year’s Kids’ Choice Awards, all eyes were glued to Cabello, who delivered her first official performance as a solo artist since splitting with her group, Fifth Harmony, in December. Needless to say, she rocked it!
Cabello took the stage with Machine Gun Kelly to perform this rockin’ collaboration, which was released in October and produced by The Futuristics. The song, which won Best Collaboration at the Radio Disney Music Awards, also features an interpolation of Fastball’s 1999 single, “Out of My Head.”
Months later, it’s still so good, that we can’t explain it. What can we say? It’s complicated.
Raise your hand if there was a moment in time where you couldn’t get this song out of your head this year. ? Bieber helped take the already-awesome track to a new level when his vocals were added to the remix, an unexpected collaboration that took us all by surprise. It’s the first time we heard the Canadian pop star speak Spanish on a track, and we have to admit, this record was en fuego ever since it’s April debut.
More like this from Bieber in 2018, please!
Just when we thought “Despacito” couldn’t be topped, Queen Bey came in and slayed this bilingual remix of Williams’ “Voodoo Song” in September, marking another major moment for Latin music going mainstream. Since then, six other versions were released, but this one remains our favorite.
Not only is it one of the best collaborations of the year, but Bey donated all proceeds to hurricane relief charities in Mexico, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands.
“We’re heartbroken by the hurricanes and earthquakes that have devastated families around the world,” Beyonce said in a statement posted to her website. “There are many ways to help. We’ve listed a few organizations that are on the ground from Mexico to the Caribbean, lending a hand to those who need it most.”
Did you really think Bey would only make our list once? Bow down to the collaboration queen!
After sharing the stage in 2015 at the Global Citizen Festival in New York City for a beautiful, stripped-down rendition of Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love,” the two teamed up again, this time for a duet reimagined from a song featured on Sheeran’s latest album, ÷ (Divide).
“Perfect Duet” was released in December and was a major moment for Beyonce. The track hit No. 1, marking her return to the top of the charts for the first time since “Single Ladies.”
This collaboration made major headlines when it was released in February, not only because it was amazing, but because it marked Gomez’s first new song in almost a year, following her solo hit, “We Don’t Talk Anymore.”
The catchy, upbeat track was well-received by a handful of celebrities, including Vin Diesel, who took it upon himself to add his own vocals to the track a few days later.
“You all know how much I love music, so when one of your favorite producers @kygomusic invites you to the studio you go,” Diesel shared via Instagram. “What I didn’t expect was to be asked to go into the recording booth. Haha… never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone!”
Hear his version HERE.
FGL x BSB? Yes, please!
Released as the third single from FGL’s latest album, Dig Your Roots, this is the collaboration we never knew we needed. The country act is known for frequently teaming up with artists (they previously worked with Luke Bryan on “This Is How We Roll” and Nelly on “Cruise,” even adding the rapper to their Smooth Tour this year), but we never would have guessed they’d hit the studio with one of the most popular boy bands of the ’90s.
“If you told me growing up that I would share a number one song with BSB, I would have told you to get outta here,” Brian Kelley said during a country radio interview. “Dream big, work hard, surround yourself with an amazing team and anything is possible.”
“We’re fans of each other and that’s one of the reasons why the song works so well,” Nick Carter added. “I’m glad it’s with these boys that we just reached No. 1 at country radio for the first time.”
This one didn’t receive as much attention as some of the other ones we listed, but we felt it would be a crime not to include it. If you haven’t heard this song yet, do yourself a favor and press play on the video above now – we promise you won’t be disappointed.
From Charli XCX’s first fire verse to her bouncy vocals on the chorus, this was a smart collaboration for the blond beauty, who’s expected to drop an album in 2018.
If Calvin Harris continues to release collaborations like this in 2018, we might empty our bank accounts and buy all his future jams.
The track, feat. Frank Ocean and rappers Quavo and Offset from Migos, was released in February as the lead single off Harris’ fifth studio album, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1.
Following its release, the DJ/producer took to Twitter to share with fans how “Slide” came to be. Watch that HERE.
Like “Despacito,” this was another song that was impossible to get out of our heads following its release in February.
And it was a successful collaboration for both artists, as the tune hit No. 1 on the Mainstream Top 40. This marked both Zedd and Cara’s third top 10 song on the chart.
The two sang the song together live a few times this year, including a beautiful rendition at the American Music Awards, where they were accompanied by violinists and Zedd on the piano.
ICYMI, catch it HERE.