A lot of original hip-hop songs get broken down and redesigned before a final version is presented for public consumption. Everything can change in comparison to the early version, mostly including the beat layers and especially the guest verses. Every so often, those lost features come to light via the artists themselves, internet leakers or someone else who had access to the file.
The most recent examples come from Kanye West, who hasn’t shied away from keeping only the best of the best for his final projects. Once his Donda album was finally released last month—following a rollout that included four listening sessions beforehand—certain artists like Chris Brown, Calboy and Soulja Boy revealed that what they recorded didn’t get used. All three artists dropped their respective verses to “New Again,” “Heaven and Hell” and “Remote Control," respectively, on their own social media platforms. CB and Soulja even sent out additional disses in the form of posts on Twitter and Instagram.
André 3000 was one of those musicians recruited as well for a Donda track called “Life of the Party,” which didn't make the cut. Drake leaked the song on his SiriusXM radio show, Sound 42, a day after Certified Lover Boy dropped. While this ode to mothers-turned-diss track wasn't used for the album, a lot of tracks do end up coming out with either a replacement (G-Eazy getting subbed for Nicki Minaj on "Expensive" by Ty Dolla $ign), a sample of what the full feature was (City Girls on "In My Feelings" by Drake) or a complete omission (Kendrick Lamar on "Father Stretch My Hands Pt.1" and Chance The Rapper on "Waves" by Yeezy), causing fans to throw their arms up and ask why. In a rare occurrence, 3 Stacks addressed the matter of why the song wasn't officially released. Other artists vow to keep things under wraps.
Plenty more of your favorite hip-hop songs once had unofficial verses on them. Should the extra bars have made the cut? Was eliminating that assisting sauce a mistake? You can decide for yourself by scrolling below and peeping who and what got removed.
City Girls on Drake's "In My Feelings"
Drake’s chart-topping hit “In My Feelings” doesn’t list a feature from the City Girls, just a writing credit. However, their contributions were much larger at the song’s creation. The lines from Yung Miami and JT’s bridge on the bounce record were taken from the original version they sent in, as heard from the “remix” that came out a couple of months after Scorpion dropped in 2018. “Drake chopped our asses off,” the duo later confirmed in an interview with The Carlos Watson Show.
Rick Ross on Kanye West's "Famous" With Rihanna and Swizz Beatz
Rick Ross resurfaced his original verse on Kanye West’s “Famous” during Rozay’s Verzuz battle with 2 Chainz in 2020. Immediately after, the MMG big homie affirmed that he did the record a while back. He didn’t provide any extra explanation as to why things never panned out, but fans still praised his performance on Twitter and Instagram, asking how he didn’t end up on The Life of Pablo gem with Rihanna and Swizz. Some people remembered Rozay's lost contributions from the quieter release of MMG's Priorities 4 a few years back.
J. Cole on DMX's "Bath Salts" With Jay-Z and Nas
DMX’s longtime collaborator Swizz Beatz took the reins when it came to releasing his late friend’s posthumous album, Exodus, this past May. Locked in on spotlighting X’s fruitful legacy, he pulled Nas and Jay-Z together for the “cute version” of “Bath Salts.” During Swizz's Verzuz battle with Timbaland earlier this year, he surprised folks with J. Cole’s unreleased verse on the banger, which still hasn’t seen the light of day past that moment.
Chris Brown on Kanye West's "New Again"
After drafting Chris Brown and his elysian vocals to strengthen “Waves” in 2016, ’Ye hit his line again to be on Donda for another choir-heavy thumper called “New Again.” Upon finding out that only his work on the chorus was kept for the track’s final release in August of this year, CB blasted Kanye on Instagram, calling the Chicago megastar a “whole hoe.” Chris later blessed his fans on social media with the accompanying verse he originally sent in. Yeezy offered no public explanation or response.
Young Thug on Drake's "Signs"
There’s a lost version of “Signs” by Drake and it has Young Thug on it. The loosie was created in 2017, for the Louis Vuitton Men’s Spring-Summer 2018 show in Paris, though upon its release, Thugger’s offering on the afro-fusion vibe was omitted. The reason why Thug was left off is still unknown, but the Atlanta rapper received a writing credit for his part in the execution.
Kendrick Lamar on Kanye West's "Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1" With Kid Cudi
An early version of Kanye West and Kid Cudi’s 2016 beaut “Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1” was leaked in 2018 with Kendrick Lamar as a feature. Neither Kanye nor K-Dot have publicly spoken about why the verse was sliced. Perhaps it was one of the 40 songs that ’Ye said they have in the cannon in a since-deleted tweet. Either way, “No More Parties” with the two rappers stands as their only collab to make The Life of Pablo.
Big Sean on Drake's "Used To" With Lil Wayne
Big Sean was initially set to appear on Drake and Lil Wayne’s sole If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late Too link-up “Used To.” When the surprise project came out in early 2015, the G.O.O.D. Music signee was chipped off the track. Just days ahead of his magnum opus, Dark Sky Paradise, Sean Don released his verse on SoundCloud. Later, he told Billboard that his vocals were sent in too late and he discussed the matter in private with Drizzy.
Soulja Boy on Kanye West's "Remote Control" With Young Thug
Just a day after Chris Brown aired out his frustrations with Kanye West for being left off Donda, Soulja Boy did the same. In late August of this year, Soulja went off in a series of tweets aimed at ’Ye for wasting his time. Soulja claimed he was initially asked to pen a verse for the Young Thug-assisted “Remote Control.” Big Draco ended up unearthing his efforts on Twitter shortly after, and ’Ye stayed silent—other than posting that Universal Music Group released the album without his permission on release day, to which Soulja called cap.
Kash Doll on Cardi B's "She Bad" With YG
In May of 2018, Kash Doll revealed on Instagram Live that Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy album cut “She Bad” was initially a YG song that the Detroit rhymer got asked to be on. Kash played her verse a few times during the session and went on to say that she felt “whatever” about her verse being cut off. After someone in The Shade Room’s Instagram comment section called Cardi’s decision to use the song "messy," she responded by explaining that the song was indeed a gift, ending her statement with: “Anything that he did with the song before me it’s none of my business or my problem!”
Pusha-T on Rick Ross' "Maybach Music VI" With John Legend and Lil Wayne
Rick Ross tried to squash the beef between Pusha-T and Lil Wayne by putting them both on “Maybach Music VI.” When the Port of Miami 2 song came out in 2019, Push’s verse, to which he seemingly takes shots at Drake, was cut despite being cleared. The unused feature ended up surfacing on the internet the night before its release. That same year, in an interview with Hot 97, the Boss said that he later realized that the time wasn’t right to make that play. Push later alluded to his Drizzy disses by calling into an episode of The Joe Budden Podcast, stating, “That's what we in it for, man. We here to rap, bro."
Chance The Rapper on Kanye West's "Famous" With Rihanna
In case you didn’t know, Chance The Rapper was the pen man for the demo of Kanye West’s "Waves” with Chris Brown. A final version of the song, housed on The Life of Pablo in 2016, stripped away Chano’s verses and the choir arrangement that padded them. In an interview on Zane Lowe's Beats 1 radio show that same year, Chance played the OG iteration along with that of “Famous.” “Isn’t that funny?” Chance asked Zane, speaking about how his sauce was eliminated. Kanye West has said nothing as it stands, though he still gave Mr. Bennett a writing credit and time to shine on “Ultralight Beam.”
Playboi Carti on Cardi B's "Bartier Cardi" With 21 Savage
Playboi Carti was slated to feature on Cardi B’s triple platinum-selling smash “Bartier Cardi” with 21 Savage. In a since-deleted tweet earlier this year, Bardi confirmed that she wanted both trap artists on the record but Carti turned in his verse too late. Providing receipts, she uploaded a snippet and explained that Offset helped put the collaboration together for her because she feared asking for features early on in her career. A full version of the song was leaked in early 2020, two years after the Invasion of Privacy single was released.
Juicy J on A$AP Ferg's "Plain Jane (Remix)" With Nicki Minaj
Juicy J’s words on the Three 6 Mafia classic “Slob on My Knob" were sampled on A$AP Ferg’s “Plain Jane.” And there was more where that came from on top of the credit as a lyricist and composer. After Ferg unleashed the track’s remix with Nicki Minaj in 2017, Juicy J went on Twitter a year later with his unreleased verse—also teased in the official music video—didn’t make the cut. Juicy didn’t have much else to say about it. Neither did Ferg, at least out loud.
Calboy on Kanye West's "Heaven and Hell"
Calboy, a 2020 XXL Freshman, confirmed on Twitter following the release of Donda that his Chicago predecessor ’Ye asked for assistance on “Heaven or Hell.” Once Soulja Boy dropped his “Remote Control” verse on the platform, Calboy quoted it and wrote, “Ima leak mine too …niggas ain’t gone keep running off with my sauce either.” Last week, after getting the snubbed feature mixed, Calboy thanked ’Ye for the opportunity and dropped his verse that was supposed to be on the record. "I can't waste my talent," Calboy said. There was no reason revealed for the omission from Yeezy.
G-Eazy on Ty Dolla $ign's "Expensive" With Nicki Minaj
The second single from Ty Dolla $ign’s last solo album originally featured another West Coast act, G-Eazy. Months before Featuring Ty Dolla $ign came out in the fall of 2020, the anticipated record leaked in full that August. Just a few weeks later, Eazy was replaced with Nicki Minaj, who helped add some streaming power to the bop. Nobody has spoken on the changes since the track dropped.