After seven long years of speculation, rumors, and seemingly unkept promises, animated music experimentalists Gorillaz are back, and 2000s indie fans are rejoicing everywhere in celebration of their upcoming record Humanz. The first bunch of singles have proven to be positive, and the released tracklist shows the bands biggest and most diverse guest list to date, from Danny Brown to Grace Jones to Carly Simon. As a band who has built a reputation on amazing and unexpected collaborations, the door is open to literally anyone who wants to create music with 2-D, Murdoc, Noodle, and Russel (aka Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett). In honor of the bands first album in seven years, here are seven hypothetical artist teamups that should definitely happen in the near future (so if any of these collabs actually happen, you're welcome, Albarn):
A TRIBE CALLED QUEST
This one's a no-brainer, considering how successful the partnership between Gorillaz and 90s hip-hop staples De La Soul proved to be. For those not familiar, De La and Tribe were considered the pioneers and representatives of "jazz rap" and even teamed up for the hip-hop collective Native Tongues along with the Jungle Brothers. While key Tribe member Phife Dawg passed away in 2016, Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad are still going strong in his honor, so now's a better time than ever to bring them on board a Gorillaz record.
Like the animated band, James Murphy and co. rose to music prominence by developing a perfect crossroads between dance, electronica, and rock music, so putting Albarn and Murphy in the same room could prove to be amazing. Plus, LCD just wrapped up a six-night residency at the newly opened Brooklyn Steel, where they also debuted a batch of new music. Two bands using 2017 to come out of a seemingly permanent hiatus...at this point it's fate that they work together.
Just imagine the freaking banger that a Gorillaz/Kung Fu Kenny collab could create. As Kendrick has proven time and time again, he's capable of reinventing his sound on a record-to-record basis, can play multiple unique personas in a single song, and is easily one of the greatest artists of the last decade. Though it's been a while, Gorillaz have proven that they too can change things up depending on who they're working with, so getting these two musical chameleons in a room together sounds like an amazing prospect.
The band already worked with legendary NYC underground legend Lou Reed back on Plastic Beach, so why not bring on board the equally talented wordsmith and punk heavyweight? Even at 70, Patti Smith still possesses a youthful aura and snarling energy that can make the pristine halls of Lincoln Center feel like the grimy, graffiti-plastered walls of CBGB's. Even during their most dance-y tendencies, Gorillaz have always had a slight rock edge, so why not let the Queen of NY Punk take a crack at some tunes?
Did I use this list as an excuse to gush over the sweet, goddamn sexy musings of D'Angelo and how his work is the ultimate musical incarnate of sweaty, passionate love-making on a bed of silk and roses? Possibly. But seriously, imagine the legendary funk jam could result from D'Angelo's razor-sharp, impossibly sexy sound coupled with Albarn's trippy dance beats? It would be the absolute paramount of rock, funk, and soul coming together to create a beautiful and incredibly soulful baby.
The indie electronic duo is a relative newcomer compared to the rest of the list, but they made plenty of waves and garnered a lot of well-deserved attention thanks to their self-titled debut album. Now, they're about to put out their second record, What Now, and continue their meteoric rise as one of the coolest acts working in music today. Their synth-rock instrumentation is right up Gorillaz's alley, and singer Amelia Meath's warm, bouncy vocals can immediately elevate any song she's apart of. A duet between her and Albarn's haunting, bone-chilling vocals could be a contrast made in heaven, and could result in the next hit to blow hipsters' minds the world over.
KIDDING. JUST KIDDING. But also...I'm kinda not. Rick's still putting out surprisingly good music, Gorillaz is a band built on throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks, and just imagine the shock of hearing Rick's well-aged crooning pipes over Albarn's beats. If there's anyone, ANYONE that can make the Rick Rollin' 80s pop idol somewhat unironically cool, it's Gorillaz.