In many ways, being a world famous musician is a job just like any other — and sometimes these superstars like to bring their offspring along to the studio for a little “Take Your Kids to Work Day” action. Over the years, artists like Beyoncé, Eminem, Will Smith and Stevie Wonder have collaborated with their little ones on record, creating some of the most touching moments in the pop music canon.
Read on for our favorite kid-parent duets in recent memory.
“Just the Two of Us,” by Will Smith featuring Trey Smith (1997)
Smith’s debut solo album, Big Willie Style, features a rendition of the 1981 hit by Grover Washington Jr. and Bill Withers. Instead of a romantic love song, the multi-talented star reimagined “Just the Two of Us” as an ode to his young son, Trey, who can be heard at the start of the track playfully chiding, “Now, dad, this is a very sensitive subject.” The tear-jerking video features Smith and Trey, along with other famous fathers including Muhammad Ali, Keenen Wayans and Magic Johnson.
“Blue” by Beyoncé featuring Blue Ivy Carter (2013)
Barely a year after giving birth in January 2012, Queen Bey sang her love for baby girl Blue Ivy on a delicate piano ballad included on her self-titled “surprise” album. Simply titled “Blue,” the titular child can be heard murmuring on the fadeout, offering what sounds like the infant equivalent of the song’s chorus, “Hold on to me.”
“Blue’s Freestyle/We Family” by JAY-Z featuring Blue Ivy Carter (2017)
Four years later, dad JAY-Z included their daughter freestyling — “Boom shakalaka, boom shakalaka” — on a 4:44 bonus track. He even made her an adorable accompanying animated video for her sixth birthday. Blue has been featured heavily in her father’s work, and most recently appeared in his “Family Feud” music video, along with her mother and several other A-list stars.
“Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder featuring Aisha Morris (1976)
Wonder’s double-disc masterwork Songs in the Key of Life include this paean to his daughter, who coos over the intro. The extended fade of the album version features the sound of Aisha, his first child with then-wife Yolanda Simmons, splashing in the bathtub.
“My Dad’s Gone Crazy” by Eminem featuring Hailie Scott Mathers (2002)
Who said these all have to be cute? In a 2004 interview with Rolling Stone, Eminem revealed that his daughter came up with the song’s infectious hook (and title) herself during a visit to the recording studio. “Me and [Dr.] Dre were working together, and Hailie was running around the studio and she was like, ‘Somebody please help me! I think my dad’s gone crazy!’ Instantly that locked in with a beat we’d made the day before. I had her go in the booth and say it. When she opens up, she’s just like her dad in a lot of aspects. I just told her what to say and she nailed it, the first take.”
“Young Man” by Justin Timberlake featuring Silas Timberlake (2018)
“The top of the song was one of the first handful of times I caught him saying ‘Da-da,'” Timberlake explained to Zane Lowe on his Beats 1 show late last month. “It was really incredible. Then at the end of the record, it’s a video that my wife [Jessica Biel] recorded of him. They were singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me because I was working on my birthday at the studio, and at the end he just says, ‘I love you.'”
Added the singer, “I always knew I wanted to write a song for him, but I didn’t know it was going to be a song to him. This was just my love letter to him that I felt like he can have as a time capsule.”
Despite Silas’ appearance on Man of the Woods, Timberlake insists that his son is not ready to take on major league pop stardom — yet. “Right now we’re working on our manners,” he joked at a press conference in Minnesota for Super Bowl LII on Thursday. “That’s big deal in our house. One thing at a time!” Though he says he fully supports any move he might make into the arts or sports, Timberlake says he’s not picky. “My main objective is he become a great person.”