Rihanna's Top 10 Hip-Hop Collaborations

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Some artists pride themselves as brand names. Rihanna, in particular, is a powerful enterprise. As one of the biggest pop music enchiladas in the world, the Barbadian supernova is a choosy collaborator. Rightfully so.

Rihanna's sultry vocals can push any rapper to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Luckily for those hip-hop artists, Rihanna hearts rap. She's joined forces with various hip-hop artists throughout her career, including Drake, Jay Z and Eminem.

Here are the best Rihanna collaborations in hip-hop.

 ​Listen Along to this Rihanna x Rappers Playlist

10
of 10

T.I. - "Live Your Life" (Ft. Rihanna)

Rihanna and T.I - Live Your Life
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Rihanna picks her collaborators with care. A Rihanna collaboration, if you can score it, is basically an ATM. T.I. pleasantly discovered this after the release of the No. 1 hit single, "Live Your Life."

Combining her Moldavian yodeling with T.I.'s mightily optimistic message, Rihanna steered "Live Your Life" into a megahit. It won the BET Viewers' Choice Award.

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09
of 10

Rihanna - "Umbrella" (Ft. Jay Z)

Rihanna Umbrella
Def Jam

Ah, the song that kickstarted Rihanna's relationship with hip-hop: "Umbrella." Although the song was originally written with Britney Spears in mind, her label rejected it. One artist's trash became another's treasure.

With The-Dream writing a snake-charmer of a hook ("ella, ella...ey, ey") and Jay Z kicking a clever verse, Rihanna made it rain on the pop charts. As the song topped charts in places like US, Ireland and Germany, it also generated some controversy as the UK was experiencing excessive floods and torrential rain at the time.

''Umbrella," along with its edgy music video, also marked a turning point for Rihanna. The album title says it all: Good Girl Gone Bad. The video also featured a nude Rihanna dipped in silver and Jay Z dusting off his 90s wardrobe.

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08
of 10

Nicki Minaj - "Fly" (Ft. Rihanna)

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Having already connected on the dancehall-inspired "Raining Men," Rihanna and Nicki Minaj link up again on the latter's "Fly." I'm surprised they didn't go as The Weather Girls 2.0. On the JR Rotem-produced "Fly," Nicki assumes the character of a down-and-out fighter who refuses to stay down.

"I win, fly, soar, higher, higher," she raps. Meanwhile, Rihanna rides shotgun with more motivational lines: "I came to win, to survive, to prosper, to rise." Joel Osteen would be so proud.

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07
of 10

Kanye West - "All of the Lights" (Ft. Rihanna, Kid Cudi, etc.)

Kanye West, Rihanna
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When Kanye West turned on "All of the Lights" ahead of his My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy campaign, we saw a throng of stars. From Elton John all the way to Fergie, this thing had a dizzying lineup of guests. Yet, one voice and presence stood out from the clutter: Rihanna.

"All of the Lights" sounds like it cost a trillion dollars, but Rihanna's vocal presence seems like the most bang for the buck. Aside from Ye's verses, it's the only thing holding this stacked track together.

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06
of 10

Jay Z - "Run This Town" (Ft. Rihanna and Kanye West)

Rihanna, Jay Z, Kanye West
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The host is nowhere to be found, but some next-level rhyming by Kanye and Rihanna's languid hook work saved the day. "Run this Town" is an unshakable hit tailor-made for large, sold-out stadium arenas, and Rihanna lives up to its pop ambition.

The hit single from Jay Z's Blueprint III reached No. 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and the video had everyone rocking "all black everything" a la the three performers.

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05
of 10

Rihanna - "Talk That Talk" (Ft. Jay Z)

Coming off a singles-driven album like Loud, the last thing anyone expected was for Rihanna to build a cohesive album. But that's exactly what she did with Talk That Talk. Still singles-heavy, this album was more rounded than its predecessor. To that end, the title track may not immediately knock your shoes off like a typical Rihanna single but it's still a surefire hit.

The coy Jay Z verse is apropos. Rihanna wants a man whose talk is as big as his walk. In fact, she dares the dude to talk his game. It's Rihanna's game, of course, and there's a good chance any dude would lose. Unless you're Jay Z, Mr. Big Talk himself. "Ran into a Rocko in my restroom/Singer-slash-actress in my bedroom," Jay smirks. What more can he say?

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04
of 10

Eminem - "Love the Way You Lie" (Ft. Rihanna)

Rihanna and Eminem
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Anyone who has ever been in an unhealthy love/hate relationship can relate to "Love the Way You Lie." The song, which appears on Eminem's Recovery, was written by Skylar Grey and produced by Alex da Kid. Grey felt that she was in abusive relationship with the music industry when she wrote her part. Eminem and Rihanna adopted the song as a narrative for their past encounters with toxic partners. Eminem had ex-wife Kim Mathers in mind, while Rihanna was referencing past abuser Chris Brown.

"Love the Way You Lie" smashed almost every record in the book and won a ton of awards. It topped 26 charts, including the Billboard Hot 100 where it spent seven weeks. It also earned five Grammy nominations, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

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03
of 10

Rihanna - "What's My Name" (Ft. Drake)

Rihanna and Drake heat up the stage at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards. © Getty Images/Kevin Winter

Before anyone heard a single note, "What's My Name" had all the signifiers of a hit song scribbled all over it: a songwriting team led by the prolific Ester Dean and the underrated Traci Hale; a dreamy drum-driven beat by Norwegian duo Stargate; a cameo by Rihanna's famous admirer Drake; and, of course, Rih Rih herself cooing sweet nothings and gliding around the beat effortlessly.

The accompanying music video showed Rihanna and Drake flirting with each other in a grocery store. The visuals, filmed at Manhattan's Lower East Side, portrayed the pair walking through the street. The Philip Andelman-directed video ends with Drake kissing Rihanna on the cheek.

"What's My Name?" reached No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming Rihanna's third chart topper in 2010. It also received a nod at the Grammys for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.

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02
of 10

Rihanna - "Hard" (Ft. Young Jeezy)

Rihanna rarely reaches outside her core circle of Roc Nation bros for a collaboration. But this was 2009 and Rated R was supposed to be an edgy album, so Young Jeezy (yes, he was still Young back then) was a sensible option. Snowman's verse did not disappoint.

Backed by hissing synths and military horns, Def Jam's golden girl gave one of her most memorable vocal performances. "Hard" was one of the few gems on the uneven Rated R. Rihanna was rewarded with commercial success--it became her 13th Top 10 hit, making her one of two female artists with the most US Top 10 songs since 2000. The other woman? Beyonce.

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01
of 10

Drake - "Take Care" (Ft. Rihanna)

Drake and Rihanna
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Rihanna and Drake are experts at the art of complicated emotions. "Take Care," like most of their songs, enjoy a good helping of tug and pull with both characters looking to the past and the future simultaneously.

Drizzy tells a hurt Rihanna that he'll be there to give a helping hand whenever she's ready to move on: "When all the baggage just ain't as heavy/When the party's over, just don't forget me." Rihanna responds in kind: "If you love me, here's what I'll do/I'll take care of you/I've loved and I've lost."

Though not as hypnotic as "What's My Name," the somber "Take Care" is arguably the more enduring hit. With Jamie xx sampling himself (I'll Take Care of U" remix), the song is as enjoyable today as it was when it first arrived.

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Adaso, Henry. "Rihanna's Top 10 Hip-Hop Collaborations." ThoughtCo, Oct. 26, 2017, thoughtco.com/rihannas-top-hip-hop-collaborations-2857987. Adaso, Henry. (2017, October 26). Rihanna's Top 10 Hip-Hop Collaborations. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/rihannas-top-hip-hop-collaborations-2857987 Adaso, Henry. "Rihanna's Top 10 Hip-Hop Collaborations." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/rihannas-top-hip-hop-collaborations-2857987 (accessed November 24, 2017).