The collab project—in which two established artists join forces for a full record—is an underrated staple of rap music. Hip-hop's often competitive nature can set in and push two artists to bring their best while paired up for over the course of a project.

As Black Star, Mos Def and Talib Kweli joined forces to drop the critically acclaimed classic, Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star, back in 1998. Sometimes, the collab record is nothing more than a fun victory lap from two artists after a string of other successes. Drake and Future's 2015 smash, What a Time to Be Alive fits the bill, as does Jay-Z and Kanye West's 2011 monster, Watch the Throne. Hov has been involved with quite a few of these kinds of projects, crossing genres with artists like R. Kelly (The Best of Both Worlds) and Linkin Park (Collision Course).

Collab projects can propel artists into bigger stardom. Run the Jewels seemed like a fun one-off album from indie veterans Killer Mike and El-P yet it quickly turned them into a festival circuit juggernaut and one of the most acclaimed rap duos of recent memory.

The collab project has seen a resurgence of sorts in recent years, as there's far less record label red tape to block these creative unions than there has been in the past. In the gallery below are the best and biggest collaborative projects of 2018 (so far), limited to two primary rap artists working together for a full project. So no Nasir (Nas over Kanye West production) or previously established groups like Rae Sremmurd. Peep the best of this year's hip-hop tandems below.

8 of the Best Hip-Hop Collab Projects of 2018