Pop songs with guest rap verses are gold. They reach a wider audience, forge relationships between artists, and get tons of air play. Guest rap verses have a history of bettering rap songs, and in the examples that follow, we’re arguing that they make pop songs better, too. From Kanye West on Katy Perry’s “E.T.” to Nicki Minaj on Justin Bieber’s “Beauty And A Beat,” these are nine rap verses that saved entire pop songs.
Wiz Khalifa on “Payphone” by Maroon 5
One more f-cking love song and we’d be sick, too, Adam Levine. “Payphone” marked Maroon 5’s entrance into the pulse of popdom, as the band that gave us Songs About Jane traded in guitar rhythms for dance beats. Wiz Khalifa’s appearance on the song helped promote Maroon 5’s new image as a pop band.
Guest lyric of choice: Made it from the bottom / Now when you see me I’m stuntin’ / And all of my cars start with the push of a button
Eminem on “Numb” by Rihanna
Guest lyric of choice: Homie can you show me where the gosh darn bath salts are / ’Cause I’m sick of sniffing asphalt
Kanye West on “E.T.” by Katy Perry
Katy Perry and Kanye West seem like an unlikely combination, but seeing as how Kanye once reworked a Lorde song, stranger things have happened. Thank you, Yeezus, for saving this hot pop mess from itself.
Guest lyric of choice: Tell me what’s next. Alien sex?
Big Sean on “As Long As You Love Me” by Justin Bieber
Big Sean is more romantic in his guest rap verse than Justin Bieber is in the entire song. Follow Big Sean’s lead, would you, Biebs?
Guest lyric of choice: Cameras point and shoot / Ask me what’s my best side, I stand back and point at you
Lil Wayne on “Down” by Jay Sean
Okay, we realize it takes a lot to save Jay Sean’s song from itself, but Lil Wayne came through, as he always does.
Guest lyric of choice: I’m fighting for this girl on the battlefield of love / Got me look like baby Cupid / Sending arrows from above
Juicy J on “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry
We get the imagery Katy was going for here, but she drove it home so hard, she ended up beating a dead horse.
Guest lyric of choice: Her love is like a drug / I was tryna hit it and quit it / But lil’ mama so dope / I messed around and got addicted
Nicki Minaj on “Beauty And A Beat” by Justin Bieber
The Biebs could use some help in general, and Nicki Minaj did what she could to keep “Beauty And A Beat” from being just another Justin Bieber dance song. Her guest lyric of choice reminds us that you shouldn’t take either of these two too seriously.
Guest lyric of choice: Buns out, weiner, but I gotta keep an eye out for Selener
Ludacris on “How Do You Sleep” by Jesse McCartney
Hindsight: what if Jesse McCartney and Luda had collaborated when Jesse was still in Dream Street?
Guest lyric of choice: Tryin’ to play harder you got another man / But you’ll never find another like moi / That have you ridin’ ’round in a drop top car
Snoop Dogg on “California Girls” by Katy Perry
California girls are unforgettable, but this song isn’t. Snoop Dogg saved it by giving our ears a break from the song’s bubblegum pink sound— and music video.
Guest lyric of choice: Bikinis, zucchinis / Martinis, no weenies / Just the King / And the Queeny
[Photo: Getty Images]