Pop Stars You Never Knew Could Rap
From Taylor Swift to Katy Perry, Contact Music looks at pop stars with surprising rap skills
Earlier this month, Beyonce released a remix of her track Flawless - featuring a guest spot from hip hop star Nicki Minaj.The track, which featured the two divas performing together on record for the first time, grabbed headlines for flaunting Queen Bey’s impressive rap skills and for the singer’s controversial lyrics - which addressed the very public fallout of her sister Solange and husband Jay Z. However, Beyonce isn’t the first pop star to surprise fans with her ability to rap - here are some other unexpected stars that shine when they’re given a beat.
Singer Katy Perry covered Jay Z and Kanye West's club anthem
While her position as one of the world’s premiere pop stars is certain, Katy Perry has proven to be quite the Dark Horse when it comes to her other skills - especially her rapping.
Warning the audience beforehand that her performance ‘was about to be really embarrassing,’ Perry and her live band set off on a lyrically cleaner version of the song, much to the delight of the audience.
Amy Heidemann of Karmin
Amy Heidemann of Karmin
The rise of American pop duo Karmin was somewhat meteoric.
The pair, a real-life couple made up of multi-instrumentalist Nick Noonan and rapping singer Amy Heidemann, took the internet by storm in 2011 after uploading their cover of Chris Brown’s ‘Look At Me Now’ - with Heidemann covering vocal duties of Busta Rhymes, Lil Wayne and Brown pretty much single-handedly.
Since then, the duo have signed to a major record label, scored a double-platinum hit single and Heidemann’s rap skills have earned her a brief role in animated adventure Rio 2 as a rapping sloth! The singer even found herself on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine’s Women Who Rock issue in 2012.
Canadian pop star Justin Bieber
These days it’s almost hard to believe that the Canadian tabloid prince was once thought of as a wholesome a picture of innocence.
Back in 2011, the then 17-year-old Bieber was better known for his clean-cut image and puppy love-style pop songs than any of his hip hop credentials - which made the pop star’s rap skills so surprising the first time fans heard them.
Over the top of an instrumental version of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s ‘Otis,’ a fresh-faced Bieber began to freestyle live on a Los Angeles radio station for almost two straight minutes covering subjects ranging from growing up to encounters with fans.
British singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran
While many came to know the British singer/songwriter for his heartfelt ballads like ‘Lego House’ and international smash hit single ‘The A Team,’ Ed Sheeran actually cut his teeth in the industry by collaborating with grime and hip hop artists and uploading his performances on YouTube.
In 2011 he released the No. 5 Collaborations Project - an EP featuring performances from Devlin, Wiley and other grime artists - and has been known to drop into rap classics such as Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ when performing his hip hop infused single ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’ live.
Next page: Taylor Swift becomes ’T-Swizzle’ and more…