Van Halen And Tom Morello Work On Rap Album

The guitarists are collaborating with an unexpected third party on a new album from outside the rock world - what could it be?

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Eddie Van Halen and Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello will appear on a new album together - but not in a style you might expect.

Rapper LL Cool J is recruiting the guitar heroes to appear on his new album "Authentic", where they will appear on different songs alongside other rock musicians.

Van Halen, who is currently preparing to take his band back on the road after a bout of serious illness which took them off the road in 2012, will appear on the song "Getting Paper" while Morello will appear on "Whaddup" alongside Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker.

If you find the unlikely collaboration hard to believe, Cool J has posted a picture of himself with Eddie Van Halen in the studio in the image below.

Maybe the rock collaboration isn't so unlikely after all - guitars often feature in rap music, albeit with less distortion than we might like. It's not the first time Cool J has recruited famous guitarists for his music, after hiring Richie Sambora for his album "Exit 13" in 2008.

Van Halen and Morello are not strangers to working outside of the rock genre either. Van Halen famously plays the flawless guitar lick on Michael Jackson's "Beat It", and Morello is no stranger to the rap world with plenty of unusual credit already under his belt.

116 comments sorted by best / new / date

    tukk04
    Is it just me or is Ed looking more and more like someone's grandmother from "the old country" each year?
    kcmoon5150
    New Nu Metal?
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    Post-Nu Metal
    PirateMuffinDan
    It wouldn't be any nu-metal. Nu-metal does not equal rap + hard rock. It's just an interesting collaboration in the vain of past rap-rock classics. Plus I'm surprised with all the dislikes, I would think new and different material from esteemed guitarists (that are known for collab's) would be good news. Apparently some people are still afraid of rap and are genre-elitist: (UG).
    Meta1H3ad
    No, it's because modern day rap is just plain crap, it does not belong in the music of rock and roll legends!
    jimihendrix6699
    listen to some underground rap, there is sooo much good rap out there right now.
    Alcofuel
    More than just underground. Some decent rappers are getting mainstream attention now. Kendrick Lamar and Earl Sweatshirt are good examples.
    joemac15
    I think Steve Lukather from Toto played the lick in beat it and Eddie just played the solo? Not positive on that though.
    Nero Galon
    A little part of me inside was screaming Lil Wayne pleeeeaaassee. Then I realized Lil Wayne is already a boss at guitar.
    Bunkerman
    Because no one has ever rapped over a guitar before. Ever.
    guitarist5477
    So should we not do things that have been done before?
    minieme007
    I believe he is referring to the part in the article that says, "not in a style you might expect." Seeing as Tom Morello has never ever been known to play with rap artists, ever.
    Quiffmiester
    By all means do stuff someone else has done before - just don't call it 'news'.
    Portugeezer31
    It's because it's what's happening in the industry. Also, Eddie Van Halen and Tom Morello are very highly rated musicians, guitarists actually, in fact, this website is called Ultimate-Guitar. How dare UG post news about what 2 great guitarists are currently working on.
    tele-disaster
    why is it necessary to have a little kangaroo court where UG users decide whether something is 'news'? WHO GIVES A SHIZ, it was interesting enough for me to click on.
    TDWP33
    Darn it quiffmiester this is why we can't have nice things. On behalf of UGers shut up
    ironman316
    The news is in the details. Sure rap rock has been done before, but has Van Halen ever been a part of it? Nah. Have either of these three dudes collaborated on anything before? Nope. So it's news.
    purplexing
    what is this 1998? people are still intolerant towards rap?
    saint_berzerker
    No...believe it or not some people STILL don't like it. Why does that bother you so much?
    Alcofuel
    It's fine that people don't like it. The problem is when people make bullshit claims about a genre they clearly don't understand because they haven't taken the time to.
    blacksoulrock
    No, UG. Eddie Van Halen does NOT play the famous lick on Michael Jackson's 'Beat It'. Toto's Steve Lukather plays the famous riff. Van Halen plays the guitar solo. On another note, I think that the so-called 'journalism' of your articles generally is really poor. There is no substance at all and the conclusions that are drawn are usually pathetic. Please sort it out.
    ErnestoFidel
    To me, a rap artist hiring two famous guitarists to play on his album is something different than two guitarists teaming up to make a rap album themselves, as the title suggests.
    jayhaze88
    "and Morello is no stranger to the rap world with plenty of unusual credit already under his belt." Yeah, all that "unusual credit". Like - Oh, I don't know - Rage Against the Machine?
    iommi600
    Yup, once again, rap is brought into the spotlights by UG and all I see is a massive shitstorm and musical Shiites implying that rappers are talentless and brainless. You go listen to Nas, Mos Def or Public Enemy just for a start, and if you seriously can tell that their songs do not hold any lyrical content or musical substance, then you are in serious denial, which is retarded.
    BigMikeBDD
    Let me double check....yep...still sucks.
    iommi600
    The fact that rap does not appeal to you doesn't mean that rappers are talentless. But yeah, I can only dream of being as open minded as you, mate. *shrug*
    BigMikeBDD
    I'm going to guess...bout 16 years old? One day, you'll be an adult too and look back and think..wow, I really related to that???
    iommi600
    My age is beside the point here, but since you decided to jump into conclusions, I'm 21+ already. I also fail to see the connection between age and retarded musical elitism. EDIT: @Kueller917 - thank you for the display of brain cells.
    Kueller917
    I used to think that when I was 16. Then I grew up and realized it would be stupid to dismiss an entire genre of music because I could never conceivably listen to every aspect of it to form a valid judgment and even if I could I'd still have no way to quantify how the music could be objectively bad without causing countless personal contradictions.
    biff022
    Plus one. PE and Mos Def are talented. BUT... the vast majority of rap is pretty terrible and dime a dozen. Always been the case with rap and hip hop.
    Kueller917
    "Vast majority of ____ is pretty terrible and dime a dozen" could be said about pretty much anything.
    biff022
    Agreed. It seems like it's easier to escape other versions of trash music than rap/hip-hop. For whatever reason "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy", and Creed are easier to ignore than Lil Waynie.
    EqualOfHeaven
    Kool Thing? >.< Stay away Tom, stick to actually talented rappers like Cypress Hill.
    CHKNLPZ
    Cypress hill!? you're living in the past they're beyond terrible these days
    Alcofuel
    B-Real and DJ Muggs are still talented. They just need make another Temples of Boom instead of jumping on every bandwagon that shows up like the whole "rock/rap" thing. Then there's also that new EP they made that I'd like to forget exists. Note my exclusion of Sen Dog isn't anything against Sen. I could deal with just B-Real and Muggs though.
    ChucklesMginty
    LL Cool J isn't talented, for real?
    EqualOfHeaven
    Ripped off Public Enemy and BDP in the early days, when that didn't make him mega-bucks, became shallow R'n'B hack singing songs about his dong. I may start with the obvious, but sometimes you need to justify what many people take for granted
    albinorino24
    Pretty sure LL was around before Public Enemy and Boogie Down
    rebreh
    Damn, I don't know why you got so many thumb downs. LL's debut came two years before the release of a Public Enemy or BDP album. Give this man a consolation prize
    EqualOfHeaven
    He trend hopped into ripping off PE and BDP. You can be around before someone and still rip them off. Then he trend hopped again after that. Guys a major flop.
    DvanG
    Fine with me, could be interesting as long as LL doesn't start rapping about bitches and ho's or going to the club and other superficial shit.
    j-mac71
    It boggles me that people make the argument theres no talent in rap. id love to see you try to freestyle. Ever heard of Kid Cudi or Kendrick Lamar? There is alot of rap out there that is musically enlightening.
    CHKNLPZ
    You're entirely correct, Tech n9ne, Yelawolf, Kendrick, Freddie Gibbs, Kid Cudi, Twista, Curren$y, J Cole, Juicy J, Rockie Fresh even Tyler the Creator and A$ap Rocky!! Wether you don't like rap or not you cannot pass these guys off as being talentless!
    BigMikeBDD
    Blech. Yeah, I've heard of Dr Seuss too. I suppose you could consider him talented.
    Kueller917
    Dr. Seuss was great at bringing some sort of meaning and message (even if simple) into rather creative, fun, and definitely memorable children's poems. I'd most certainly call him talented.
    vdcp73
    yo yo my bitch my bitch...with a guitar solo, tapping, and a "yoyoboy"
    GNT789
    rap is talent?
    iommi600
    Yes, it is, but then I'd have to remind you that guitar wanking isn't the definition of talent, so I'll just let this one pass.
    anvil is god
    Stop being ignorant.
    You're telling me that this doesn't take talent?
    --ESTRANGED--
    stop trying to be edgy.
    anvil is god
    I'm not trying to be edgy. I genuinely like DG, and I feel that they're a good example of hip hop.
    EqualOfHeaven
    Whilst I think he's brilliant, I'm hardly surprised these guys can't get into Death Grips. It's somewhat of an acquired taste to say the least. The irony of Metal and Rock fans being so vocal about their distaste for this music isn't lost on me though. Always amazed to hear people parroting the same rhetoric employed by critics of Rock, Metal and every other genre which has been seen as 'low' art by the musical establishment.
    EqualOfHeaven
    Grips F**ks my mind gently. World needs more noise-y hip hop. Highly recommend Dalek for further hip hop related mind lovin'
    Alcofuel
    Your comment deserves votes up. Because everyone needs more Dalek. Not necessarily Death Grips. Dalek for sure though.
    biff022
    I honestly thought this was a joke. Like someone ran out and made this real quick to post here and claim it was good to troll the forum... but sadly, it's real. There are people out there who consider this art. That's sad.
    Municipal Waste
    Not quite music, not quite poetry and awful on the eardrums. And if you don't like it, you must be ignorant, close-minded, backward, racist etc.... not because it just doesn't sound appealing to you.
    Kueller917
    It is music and it is poetry by definition regardless of whether you like it or not.
    biff022
    Sure is. Bad, low-brow, poetry, and base, thoughtless music. There exists poetry and music that is total shite and this is an example.
    Alcofuel
    It is music and poetry by definition. It takes more talent to produce a track than you have in your fingernail. It also takes more talent to actually flow and work well with lyrics than you have in your fingernail. People acting like it's talentless, thoughtless, etc. ARE ignorant on the subject. It's clear they havent' dug around enough to form a real opinion on it. They also probably don't understand the concept of a narrative genre.
    guitarist5477
    This sounds awesome. I like old school rappers over the more current ones. But I'm hoping there will be a lot of diversity to each track. Every time I put on a pop radio station, my ears get rapped by a rapper having a pissing contest, and saying how great he is. Who needs swag when you can have mojo.
    Jozef23
    So many people forget that Rap came from Funk. Grandmaster Flash, Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, Rage Against The Machine, The Herd etc. Instruments in Rap music have been continuous the whole lifespan of it
    NorCalLos
    Hip-hop (breakdancing, turntablism, and rapping) came out of disco. Disco was primarily consumed in dance clubs with a dj. Funk was a musical genre which blended rock, soul, blues, and jazz and was generally appreciated in a live music setting. Hip-hop came out of DJ battles. Rapping came along when DJ's would have someone get on the mic to talk them up while they were playing records as a radio DJ would. When the drum machine came out, it opened up new opportunities for original composition without a dj or records. Afrika Bambaata was a pioneer of this line of rap/hip-hop which is probably more accurately referred to as electro. These two different lineages of rap/hip-hop evolved side-by-side as well as being mushed togehter into what most now think of as rap. My point? There weren't a lot of musical instruments being played in early hip-hop. Also, EVH played the solo on Beat It.
    scrymusic
    LL Cool J Is When Rap Was Great.... Should Be A Great Album With The Talent On Board. Remember Public EnemY With Anthrax.... Also... LL Was The First To Do Rap Unplugged With The Roots.
    Kain Highwind
    Old irrelevant rapper doing a collab with an old irrelevant guitarist? eh
    CHKNLPZ
    I agree, yes Tom is awesome but he IS falling off right now.. Has he done anything worth noting recently?
    BigMikeBDD
    I used to loooove rap. Then I grew up, became an adult and realized I have nothing in common with it. This is what happens when you grow up...for most people.
    CHKNLPZ
    Although Metal will always be my greatest love I'm also a very big hiphop/rap fan, Rapping at a decent level is not easy and producing your own rap tracks is just as challenging as writing any other type of music, but to me these colabs are pointless because most rap simply just does not sound very good with guitar in it! Instant solution is I just won't listen to it, LL is whack anyway hahaha
    Alcofuel
    I think hip hop with guitars can sound good. The problem is that all the terrible nu-metal bands ruined the idea for a lot of people.
    DreamGate
    Nothing too surprising after the last update. But cant really say much till any clip or music is out.
    blooddrunk
    Sellouts or what? Morello is the most overrated jackass in guitar. Next to andy james
    arabmetallion
    "van halen are tom morello work on" **** yeah! this should be an awesome collaboration "...rap album" the ****? say what now???
    osaggerson666
    As long as they get their chops off (Morello and Eddie) then im all for a colab' . . . who knows, could be epic?
    Cazman
    "What could it be?" *shows picture of LL Cool J and EVH in the headline*