Mashup albums are a strange beast. Blending two wildly different genres and artists can, and ofttimes ends in failure. However, there are some glistening gems amongst the rubble and they almost always involve hip-hop.
Something about the flow and lyrical depth of rap makes for some masterful genre cross-pollination drawing in fans from all corners. Other times it sparks huge legal disputes between major labels and bedroom producers.
These are the 10 best mashup albums of all time.
Delve into the weird and wonderful world of mashup albums. If you’re tired of hearing the same old genre these 10 records will blow your mind wide open.
10. Tor – Illinoize (2009)
Sufjan Stevens 2005 record Illinoise is arguably the musician’s finest work. However, such a smash indie hit wouldn’t normally appeal to fans of hip-hop.
That’s where Canadian producer Tor enters the picture. Blending some of hip-hops biggest names with the emotional impact of Sufjan’s indie gems is definitely a once in a lifetime.
9. Wugazi – 13 Chambers (2011)
The product of producers Cecil Otter and Swiss Andy, Wugazi seamlessly combines the lyrical acuity of Wu-Tang Clan and the musical genius of Fugazi. It sounds like it shouldn’t work but it does, and in all the right ways.
Its flow is actually the most amazing thing about 13 Chambers. In fact if you didn’t know either artist you could easily believe it is just a daring new, genre-bending project.
8. Neil Cicierega – Mouth Sounds (2014)
Mouth Sounds is one of the most unique mashup albums ever made, hands down. If memes were an album this would be it.
Smash Mouth’s All Star features prominently throughout the mix along with countless other childhood favourites, movie themes, TV themes and various film quotes. It’s a stunning collection of pop culture snippets that shifts effortlessly between gorgeous and horrifying at any moment.
7. The Kleptones – Uptime/Downtime (2010)
The Kleptones burst onto the electronic music scene in the early 2000s with two incredibly unique albums. The Flaming Lips tribute album Yoshimi Battles The Hip-Hop Robots, and a Queen mash up album titled A Night At The Hip-Hopera.
When 2010 rolled around Eric Kleptone released a stunning double album titled Uptime/Downtime. The two and a half hour album mashes up artists like The Prodigy with the Beastie Boys, Nick Cave with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Metallica with Aretha Franklin.
6. Team Teamwork – Ocarina Of Rhyme (2009)
If you are a die-hard fan of The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time and also love hip-hop then this might be a groundbreaking album for you. Mixing up instrumental tunes from Koji Kondo’s revolutionary soundtrack with the poetic chops of artists like OutKast, Dr. Dre, and MF Doom, Ocarina Of Rhyme is strange on the surface but genius at the centre.
Better yet listen to it while you play the brilliant Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild.
5. Dean Grey – American Edit (2005)
In 2005, US Producer Party Ben teamed up with Aussie musician Team9 under the name of Dean Grey to create an absolute mashup monster of Green Day’s American Idiot.
While Billie Joe Armstrong himself said he was a fan it sparked an infamous legal back-and-forth as their record label fervently worked to have it destroyed.
4. Max Tannone – Jaydiohead (2009)
An unlikely mashup to say the least, US Producer Max Tannone released a classic album in 2009 titled Minty Fresh Beats. Taking samples of Jay-Z’s work and placing them over some of Radiohead greatest songs it was an instant internet sensation, getting rebranded as Jaydiohead.
Many of Radiohead’s best songs are fundamentally based on rhythm so it’s surprising yet satisfying to hear Jay-Z rap so fluidly over tracks like 15 Step.
3. Girl Talk – Feed The Animals (2008)
Of all the artists to do a mash up album Girl Talk are likely the most popular. Having toured all over the world, Gregg Michael Gillis kicked off his musical career while studying biomedical engineering at college.
After dropping science and grabbing the attention of a mainstream audience Girl Talk released his fourth album, Feed The Animals. It garnered massive critical acclaim and scored him a spot on the Bid Day Out lineup.
2. Wait What – The Notorious xx (2010)
Hailed as the rapper with the best flow of all time it was a no brainer when US producer Wait What mashed up Biggies powerful, gritty deliver with the introverted indie grooves of the xx. Opener Dead Wrong will amp you up for just about anything while One More Chance For A Heart To Skip A Beat is the ultimate song for getting down to.
With the breakneck flow of Biggie and the gorgeous vocals of Romy Madley Croft rolled into one it’s no wonder this gem has garnered a legion of hardcore fans.
1. DJ Danger Mouse – The Grey Album (2004)
Perhaps the most famous mashup album of all time, Danger Mouse rose to prominence in 2004 when he released an experimental mash up of two of the most boring album covers of all time.
Blending the a capella vocals from Jay-Z’s The Black Album with samples from The Beatles The White Album, Danger Mouse created one of the best mash up albums ever created.
While Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney were fans of the concept EMI did not support the concept, fearing it would subtract from Beatles sales (like they didn’t enough already). This sparked a legal battle to have the record removed from stores, but because this is the internet it only made it more popular and obviously never vanished.