As musical genres continue to blur, everyone listens to everyone. It’s why Jay Z told Miley Cyrus to keep twerking and Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend listens to A$AP Ferg. According to Pharrell, Miley is a “byproduct of America,” raised in an era where “hip-hop is king.” So it’s only natural that she, as well as many of her peers, are venturing outside of their musical molds, ready to experiment with new sounds.
With artists like Hov, Kanye, and Nicki Minaj becoming mainstream over the years, millennials and beyond are embracing hip-hop even more. Below find five of the biggest pop stars on the planet right now, who aren’t shy about their love of a genre that’s not their own.
MILEY CYRUSHow quickly the girl who claimed to have never heard a Jay Z song before has changed. New album Bangerz boasts collaborations with Nelly, Future, Big Sean, French Montana, and Ludacris, a hip-hop dream team any 16-year-old boy would totally lose his mind over. Yes, her dad may be Billy Ray Cyrus, and her godmother may be Dolly Parton, but for now this pop/country star is drinking the Mike WiLL Made It kool aid, writing songs with Tyler, the Creator, and guesting on new material with Snoop Lion.
Her mom Tish is even on a first name basis with Juicy J.
TAYLOR SWIFTThanks to one infamous interruption at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, Taylor Swift is poised to be eternally linked to hip-hop god Kanye West. But her association with the genre runs deeper than a few surprising sentiments from a rapper who drank too much Courvoisier. Despite a Nashville address and pop perfection like “22,” Taylor will never pass up the chance to sing a song she loves in public–even if it’s outside of the world you’re used to seeing her in:
Over the last two years, Taylor’s used her solo tours as opportunities to duet with hip-hop heavyweights, including T.I., Nicki Minaj, Nelly, B.o.B, and Flo Rida. T-Swizzle has also earned “extended Hustle Gang” status from Tip, and managed to hold her own while beatboxing next to LL Cool J. Sort of.
Our recent You Oughta Know artist hails from New Zealand, where she’s fluent in internet culture and making people fall in love with her. Everyone else in the game might be obsessed with her at the moment, but you can add female MCs to the list of things she loves–right behind “aristocracy,” and “Midwestern baseball teams.”
— Lorde (@lordemusic) September 3, 2013
such an important female in pop. not to mention she fucking slays. remember her my beautiful dark twisted fantasy guest spots? so on point
— Lorde (@lordemusic) September 3, 2013
The 16-year-old’s debut album Pure Heroine is strongly rooted with sounds of alternative, electropop, and soul, but she’s got a knack for rapping and an appreciation for the mysticisms of Yeezy. Check out her live cover of Kanye West’s “Hold My Liquor” from September:
ED SHEERAN At only 22, the English singer-songwriter and You Oughta Know alum has already played to sold out crowds at Madison Square Garden and toured with pop powerhouses like Taylor Swift and One Direction. While he often takes the stage with just an acoustic guitar and one of his signature hoodies, there is no limit to what vintage cut he might pull out of his bag of tricks for a mid-set cover.
And as a massive hip-hop fan, he knows how to emulate the artists he looks up to most (by grunting).
At the @rickyrozay show in New York, having a blast. Urgh
— Ed Sheeran (@edsheeran) September 18, 2013
ADELEWith over 30 million records sold and nine Grammy Awards to her name, Adele is beloved by countless artists around the world. The power within her voice inspires and entertains, and her love of Beyoncé has been well-documented. But at the end of the day, she likes to kick back with some fresh rhymes… just like us.
God I love Kanye so much. Later with Jools is incredible tonight!
— Adele (@OfficialAdele) September 17, 2013
— Adele (@OfficialAdele) September 25, 2013
Nothing signifies obsession like multiple exclamation points.
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]