VH1 is recognizing Mariah Carey for her many hip-hop collaborations at this year’s Hip Hop Honors, airing Monday night, and the timing couldn’t be better.

Twenty years ago this month, Carey released “Butterfly.” The album, which hit shelves Sept. 16, 1997, marked a pivotal moment in Carey’s career, not least because it followed her very public split from music exec Tommy Mottola.

The album introduced Carey, largely considered a pop singer, as a veritable hip-hop collaborator.

“Butterfly” – and Carey’s subsequent collaborations with rappers including Jay-Z, Nas, Cam’ron and Snoop Dogg – helped pave the way for other pop stars to sing alongside their rap contemporaries.

In his review for The Washington Post, Richard Harrington declared “T are two Mariah Careys on ‘Butterfly.'”.

“For a rapper to be able to get on a song with Mariah Carey, for it to be the kind of beat you could actually enjoy rapping over, that makes for a great session. Makes your job easier.”

She is Mariah Carey … the purveyor of weirdly wonderful album titles.

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