Okay, I know it’s not just in rap songs where another artist will be included in an artists song, it just seems that this sort of thing is much more common in rap songs. Does anyone know why this is?
WAG - I think it’s got to do with Hip Hop being more community-minded than rap. It’s rich fellas helping other fellas get to where they are. Dre put Snoop on his album because he thought everyone should hear Snoop, and Snoop should be big. Nelly’s got the St. Lunatics along for the ride anyway, they might as well be making money themselves. Eminem wanted to hype 50 Cent, and also D12 and Obie Trice. Put them on Eminem’s albums and you’ve got millions of Eminem fans hearing these new voices. When Obie Trice’s comes out, people know him from some of Em’s songs and are more likely to buy.
It goes the other way too. If a group/artist like Outkast is asked by a lesser-known group to help out, and the well-known group-artist digs what they hear and want to help further the careers of the lesser-knowns, they’ll do some stuff with them too.
Hip Hop is more community minded than rock. Heck, even the local (Cleveland) hip-hop stations are more community minded than the rock ones.
Why? I don’t know for sure. I personally believe that rappers come from a background of sharing everything (if in fact the rapper in question came from a low-income upbringing) and want to include as many people as they can in their success so everyone can have a piece of the pie.
Also, rap doesn’t sound good with just one MC. In the early days, rap had groups: Run DMC, Sugar Hill Gang, Grandmaster Flash and his five MCs, De La Soul, even up to the time of Wu-Tang. There are still groups like Jurassic 5, et al, but for the most part there are solo artists and they feature others to fill out the sound.
Probably its block party origins. The music developed amongst tight-knit communities, and the stars that made it big tended to stay with their communities - Jam Master Jay still lived in Queens when he died, for instance.