An efficient sequence based on the Ugi-azide reaction and rhodium(III)-catalyzed intermolecular annulation has been established for the preparation of tetrazole-isoquinolone/pyridone hybrids. Several N-acylaminomethyltetrazoles were reacted with arylacetylenes to form the hybrid products in moderate to very good yields. The method relies on the capacity of the rhodium catalyst to promote C(sp2)-H activation in the presence of a suitable directing group. The Ugi-azide reaction provides broad molecular diversity and enables the introduction of the tetrazole moiety, which may further assist the catalytic reaction by coordinating the metal center. The scope of the isoquinolones is very wide and may be extended to the preparation of complex compounds having heterocyclic moieties such as pyridone, furan, thiophene and pyrrole, as well as the corresponding benzo-fused derivatives. The developed procedure is simple, reproducible and does not require inert conditions. © 2019 Ojeda et al.