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Gorillaz: the Humanz collaborator playlist
By
Del Cowie

Published

April 28, 2017

Genres

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Gorillaz, the virtual band that is the collective brainchild of Blur frontman Damon Albarn and illustrator Jamie Hewlett, is back again with their fifth album, Humanz. And much like the previous efforts of virtual characters 2-D, Murdoc, Noodle and Russel Hobbs, the album is a hugely collaborative affair boasting an all-star lineup.

Spanning the worlds of hip-hop, rock, pop, electronic, R&B, dancehall and, on this record in particular, house music, Gorillaz' collaborators have helped them deliver another genre-agnostic album, putting musical artists together who wouldn't normally be on the same song.

Below, listen to songs by those artists Gorillaz collaborated with on the Humanz album.


Artist: Peven Everett
Humanz track:
"Strobelite"

Peven Everett is a Chicago multi-instrumentalist who seamlessly blends house, jazz and R&B influences. Back in 1997, he made his name delivering the vocals on Roy Davis Jr.’s enduring dancefloor classic “Gabriel.”


Artist: Kali Uchis
Humanz track:
"She's My Collar"

Colombian-American singer-songwriter Uchis has a couple of notable Canadian ties, having appeared as the female vocalist on Daniel Caesar's “Get You.” Additionally, her single “Rush” was produced by Kaytranada and BadBadNotGood.


Artist: Vince Staples
Humanz track: "Ascension"

Long Beach, Calif., hip-hop artist Vince Staples is due to follow up his critically acclaimed Summertime '06 album with The Big Fish Theory later this year. In the meantime, you'll hear him on Humanz' opening track.


Artist: De La Soul
Humanz track: "Momentz"

Almost 30 years after the group first emerged from Amityville, N.Y., De La Soul reaffirmed its status and longevity as legendary hip-hop artists last year by garnering a Grammy nomination for its first album in over a decade. De La Soul has previously collaboratored with Gorillaz on the song “Feel Good Inc."


Artist: Grace Jones
Humanz track: "Charger"

Grace Jones should really need no introduction, but in case you need to know, the model, actress and singer has been a fiercely independent pop culture fixture for more than 40 years now.


Artist: Kelela
Humanz track: "Submission

Kelela broke out with the stunning 2013 Cut 4 Me mixtape from progressive L.A. beat label Fade to Mind. While her followers are eagerly awaiting her debut album after Warp released an EP in 2015, they can listen to her on the Gorillaz track "Submission" with Danny Brown.


Artist: Danny Brown
Humanz track: "Submission"

Gap-toothed Detroit MC Danny Brown enjoyed a significant amount of critical acclaim for his latest album, Atrocity Exhibitionin 2016. Gorillaz tapped the high-pitched voiced MC to appear with Kelela on "Submission."


Artist: Jamie Principle
Humanz track: "Sex Murder Party"

By connecting with Jamie Principle, Gorillaz are tapping into deep Chicago house territory, as Principle was one of the first house music figures to emerge from the city alongside DJ Frankie Knuckles in the 1980s. Principle's track "Your Love" is often cited as an early house single.


Artist: Zebra Katz
Humanz track: "Sex Murder Party"

The Jamie Principle collaboration also features Zebra Katz, whose unapologetic homage to voguing and ballroom culture, "Ima Read,"  was an underground hit in 2013.


Artist: Mavis Staples
Humanz track: "Let Me Out"

The legendary soul and gospel vocalist has already appeared on a single with Arcade Fire this year, and she continues the theme of high-profile collaborations with an appearance on "Let Me Out" with unlikely cohort Pusha T.


Artist: Anthony Hamilton
Humanz track: "Carnival"

Hamilton may just be the most underrated R&B singer of the last 20 years. Despite releasing excellent music and garnering consistent critical acclaim, the hit single he deserves has evaded him. Clearly, Gorillaz have noticed.


Artist: D.R.A.M.
Humanz track: "Andromeda"

DRAM initially drew attention for his 2015 single "Cha Cha," but, according to the rapper, the mild controversy of Drake's "Hotline Bling" hijacked its momentum. Since then, D.R.A.M. has proved to be more than a one-hit wonder with his ensuing releases, including the 2016 hit "Broccoli."


Artist: Jehnny Beth
Humanz track: "We Got the Power"

While her band Savages is on hiatus after the critical acclaim of the 2016 album Adore Life, lead singer Jehnny Beth took some time to join the cast of Humanz by singing on the track "We Got the Power."


Artist: Pusha T
Humanz track: "Let Me Out"

Revered MC Pusha T, formerly of Clipse and current exec at Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music, is featured alongside Mavis Staples on "Let Me Out" with a verse written from the perspective of a Trump win — before the U.S. election.


Artist: Benjamin Clementine
Humanz track: "Hallelujah Money"

Mercury Prize-winning pianist and singer Clementine and his arresting voice appeared on "Hallelujah Money," the first song to emerge from Humanz early in 2017, which took a critical look at the presidency of Donald Trump.


Artist: Popcaan
Humanz track: "Saturnz Barz"

The popular dancehall reggae artist Popcaan, who had some mainstream success with his 2014 single "Everything Nice," appears on single “Saturnz Barz,” which features a haunted house video. It’s the latest in a series of high-profile collaborations for the artist, which include prominence on tracks by artists like Jamie xx and Drake.

More to explore:

Kendrick Lamar's DAMN album: a collaborator playlist