When you're collaborating on a rap song, one key thing is to either find somebody who is pretty much like you, so that you guys feed off of each other, or to find somebody that is the total opposite, because then it creates you know some variation.
Over the course of rap history there have been some great collaborators, such as Nice & Smooth, Run-D.M.C., Onyx. And nowadays, we have people like Drake and Lil Wayne or the whole Cash Money clique. But collaboration is usually about people who share kind of the same values, same background and same vibe.
Two of my favorite collaborators is Red Man and Method Man. They used to call themselves the Blues Brothers, playing on the classic film, "The Blues Brothers". They had so much fun together as people. People, they enjoyed each other and if you know a lot about the whole culture of Method Man, and Red Man and their song, "So Hot". You know that they shared a lot in common, and through that commonality of life style then it was easy to come together and collaborate on songs.
Sometimes, it's hard to collaborate with somebody who you don't share anything in common with. There's nothing you can necessarily write about, unless you're writing about how different you are. But, how good could that go? It's easier to write about things you share in common with somebody. So, if you're looking for somebody to collaborate with, find somebody that shares common values, common lifestyle, and maybe even coming from the same region of hip-hop or of music. It's easier to collaborate that way.
Another thing to remember in collaboration is who is going to be the final say. So, you're collaborating with somebody who you don't necessarily like the line they're going to say. And they don't like feedback. And so, if you give them feedback and they don't receive it well, then maybe that song won't go right, and you'll spend so much time fighting with that person, trying to convince them why you think they shouldn't do something, then it just really doesn't really work out. If you're jealous or that person is jealous of you, then that means the collaboration won't work out. You want to make sure you're working with somebody who's receptive to feedback, because if they're not receptive to feedback it will be a very difficult collaboration.
I think the last thing to remember about collaboration is that it's about the listener. You want to make sure the listener is getting what you two are trying to convey. And if that is not happening, then the collaboration is really going down the wrong aisle, it's going down the wrong lane. It's all about the listener. And when you collaborate with somebody, if you both understand it's about the listener, the song usually always comes out really, really good, and the listener enjoys it because they're being thought about.
That's how you collaborate with somebody on a rap song.