Crossing Boundaries: The Importance of Music Collaborations

Khalid’s single “Talk” is a great example of a crossover between pop music and R&B. (Photo from Apple Music.)

Khalid’s single “Talk” is a great example of a crossover between pop music and R&B. (Photo from Apple Music.)

Cassidee Jackson, Staff Writer

With our increasingly technological society, music genres such as rap, pop, country and especially EDM have taken inspiration from and even started collaborating with artists of other genres. However, collaborations with artists from rap and pop music have been integrated into music from as early as the late 1980s. These collaborations between artists not only expose music listeners to different genres which they may not regularly listen to, but they also help the artists themselves in terms of having a wider audience.

In my opinion, music collaborations spread culture, connect people to others with different interests and provide a “universal language” that anyone can relate to and understand. Although critics of the crossing over of genres such as hip-hop and R&B with pop music say that it is “‘selling out,’” Berry, the author of Crossing Over, directs focus towards Michael Jackson, whose music “cuts across all boundaries of taste, style, and color,” making the world itself more connected. The following are a list of modern songs that are great examples of cross-genre collaboration, using featured artists from different genres:


1. “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus

Because of the popularity that “Old Town Road” had on social media platforms like Tik Tok and, later on, SoundCloud, the county trap song soon topped the Billboard Country Charts, only to be taken off one week later as the song was not deemed to be county enough for some music critics. With this in mind, Lil Nas X released the remix to “Old Town Road” with country legend Billy Ray Cyrus.

2. “Boy With Luv” by BTS ft. Halsey

On April 12, the KPop mega-sensation BTS released the lead single from their EP titled “Map of the Soul: Persona,” which was the track “Boy With Luv.” The music video also compiled 74.6 million views in 24 hours on YouTube–the highest ever in YouTube history. In addition to their performances on SNL on April 14, it is clear that the collab with pop star Halsey will help with their path to popularity in the United States.

3. “Talk” by Khalid ft. Disclosure

As a hint towards the release of his album “Free Spirit,” Khalid released his song “Talk,” with beats produced by British electronic music duo Disclosure. Because it has been featured on multiple TV programs, such as the 2019 Grammy Awards as well as the ones that I have seen the Apple Music Memoji Commercial, which included artists like Ariana Grande, Khalid and Florida Georgia Line in their commercials, the song has become increasingly popular amongst the general public.


After taking a glance at the many instances of cross-genre collaborations in popular culture, it is clear that music does connect people, regardless of their personal biases. Therefore, I do believe that these collaborations may, in a sense, nearly eradicate genres themselves as artists have more musical influences from different cultures. This is, in my opinion, something to look forward to for the future of music itself.