Rap-rock may be a dirty word for some, but a new wave of genre-agnostic tastemakers is driving a blessedly Limp Bizkit—free revival. Jonah Weiner
Kanye West + Bon Iver
The Pairing: West, an indie advocate, flew Iver to his Hawaii studio, where the bearded Wisconsin troubadour laid down vocals and smoked weed with rapper (and fellow guest) Rick Ross.
The Product: "Lost in the World," a windswept disco-gospel jam featuring Iver's Auto-Tuned moan.
Kid Cudi + St. Vincent
The Pairing: After Cudi heard a studio tech playing St. Vincent's orchestral "The Strangers," the introspective New York MC asked the baroque-pop ingenue to let him sample it.
The Product: "Maniac" mixes Cudi's lacerating rhymes with St. Vincent's bleak refrain ("Paint the black hole blacker").
Cee Lo GREEN + Band of Horses
The Pairing: Atlanta rapper Cee Lo covered South Carolina neo-alt-country act Band of Horses' plaintive 2007 tune "No One's Gonna Love You" for his new album, The Lady Killer.
The Product: Cee Lo's rendition adds big synths and a bigger dose of soul. (Band of Horses returned the favor by covering Cee Lo's "Georgia.")
Solange Knowles + Of Montreal Frontman Kevin Barnes
The Pairing: After singing with the art-funk band Of Montreal, Beyoncé's kid sister (who reportedly introduced Jay-Z to psych-folksters Grizzly Bear) asked Barnes to produce her upcoming LP.
The Product: Knowles says it will be an offbeat dance record inspired by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who produced classics by Chaka Khan and Janet Jackson.