By: Joe Cardoso
We all have our favorite hip-hop artist and groups, whether it be the beat, the flow or the fact they are from our hometown we support them and ride with them. But one of the staples of this thing called hip-hop since the start is the posse cut. Where MC’s come together on a hot track and each tries to outdo the next man/woman, think of it as a musical slam dunk contest with everyone going for the perfect 10. Think of the first time you heard “All About The Benjamins” and that beat dropped or Lil Kim blew your mind. Or when some dudes from the south named UGK and a friend by the name of Project Pat talked about sipping on syrup. We all remember where we were the first time we heard it and each time it plays we hop in the way back machine for a few. The posse cut also sometimes is used to introduce us to a new artist, what better time for them to show us what they got. Two key factors bars matter and the beat has to be hitting HARD. Our panel shares their top 3 all time posse cuts and some reasons why. I want to thank my fellow hip-hop heads and let the debate begin.
Missy Elliott featuring Lil Mo, Nas, Eve, and Q-Tip–Hot Boyz Remix (1999)
This beat is so infectious, you can’t sit down when this song comes on. The flows of Missy and Eve alongside Nas and Q-Tip flow so smoothly and when you add Lil Mo’s voice this becomes one of my favorite party songs. Even though I’m a huge Nas fan, when Eve takes over on her verse she becomes the star of this song.
-Busta Rhymes feat Missy, Rah Digga, Mary J. Blige, DMX–Touch It Remix (2005)
In my eyes, Busta Rhymes or Missy can do no wrong. I can always count on both emcees to produce songs that become instant classics. I love the addition of Mary J Blige singing and rapping and by the time DMX blesses the mic I’m going crazy. This song has another beat that is sure to get people moving.
Craig Mack feat The Notorious B.I.G., Rampage, LL Cool J & Busta Rhymes–Flava In Ya Ear Remix (1994)
It’s hard to get past Biggie’s verse, but overall this song is lyrically full of quotable and lots of energy. Biggie is the undisputed star but each emcee raps some of their best verses. This is one of the songs that I can sit back and listen to all day while I’m driving.
Uptown Crew-Uptown’s Kicking It 1986
Really fun song and video. Plus it began with Heavy D and finished with Groove B. Chill.
A Tribe Called Quest/Leaders of the New School-Scenario (1991)
Possibly the greatest hip-hop song ever made. Not a weak verse in the entire song. Gave you more than one iconic lines
Dr. Dre/Snoop/Nate DOG-The Next Episode (1999)
West coast at its finest + with crossover appeal to boot. Some of the best flows/delivery in the history of rap are on this record
Tribe Called Quest/Leaders Of The New School-Scenario (1991)
While posse cuts like ‘The Symphony” and ‘Live at the Barbecue were heavily lauded before this track dropped, I feel like Scenario set the bar as the gold standard in the genre. The production of the track is perfectly complemented by the energy of the whole crew shouting the chorus with each rapper just spitting bars with their verses. Scenario in the eyes of many, single-handled launched the solo career of Busta Rhymes after his scene-stealing verse that closed out the song. If you aren’t punching and kicking the air when you hear “Powerful impact, boom from the cannon” you are doing it wrong. The song’s video featured tons of rappers affiliated and affiliate adjacent to the Native Tongue movement at the time in addition to just being unique as a concept.
Craig Mack, Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes, and Rampage-Flava In Your Ear Remix (1994)
Timing is everything in the music business and this track dropped in the midst of the Bad Boy reign of hip-hop. Puffy wasn’t quite rocking shiny suits yet and played hype man in a perfectly crafted black and white video with very little frills. The dopeness in the track is how each artist brought their own swag to their respective verses while staying true to their brand in the mid 90’s. Biggie’s opening verse is still quotable and stands the test of time. LL was able to do his rap to the ladies thing without disturbing the grit of the beat while the lesser known Rampage dropped his most famous verse off all time. Craig Mack and Busta were so damn charismatic and were perfectly placed to make this a classic.
DJ Clue, DMX, Drag-On, Eve, Jadakiss, Styles P- Ruff Ryders Anthem Remix (1998)
DMX had a hit with the original song, but when the remix dropped…it changed everything. I remember being in clubs hearing the original play and when the chorus came on the crowd would fill in with “My dawgs gon stop, your dogs gon’ drop”. The DJ would then have to put on the remix to appease us. While I don’t think it’s the most lyrically amazing track, the energy it brings to the mainstream environment stands out against other songs in its’ class.
Big L (Children of the Corn-American Dream (2003)
Before anyone says “Who the hell are the Children of the Corn?” – do some research. C.O.T.C was a rap group managed by Dame Dash back in the day which grouped the talents of Cam’ron, McGruff, Mase, Bloodshed and Big L. Most folks only know of Cam and Mase; McGruff is known to the NY underground; Bloodshed died early in his life – but Big L was by far the most talented one of the group. Big L was murdered and taken away from us all way too early in life. . . Aside from the history and nostalgia this song brings, all five of these MC’s bring bars and punchlines that separated them from any and everybody at the time. The way Big L cleans up at the end of this song just shows how effortless it was for him to shine, no matter who he was on a song with. The beat to this song is the same used by 2Pac and Blackstreet – but I’m sure C.O.T.C were the first to use this sample.
Slaughterhouse-Sound Off (2009)
Admittedly, I consider Slaughterhouse to be one of the most under-appreciated rap acts of all time. Joe Budden, Crooked-I, Joell Ortiz and Royce Da 5’9 are four of the most talented MCs to ever put the pen to the pad. On “Sound Off” they all work wordplay and rhyme scheme into two distinctively different flows on their respective verses. The hardest part of listening to this song is trying to determine who “killed it” the best. . . In my opinion Crooked-I steals this one with: “Properly rob you and hop in the Jag/If you stopping the profit the Glock’ll be popping/Your body’ll rock a colostomy bag/Shot in the abs, moms’ll be sad/Pops’ll be mad, doctor be glad/Possibly stopping the plasma dropping/Clock running out and the outcome bad. . .” House-Gang.
A Tribe Called Quest and Leaders of the New School-Scenario (1991):
I expect this one to be the favorite amongst most others who contributed to this piece. . . From the haunting bass-line to the aggressive drum track – there is no way the listener’s head doesn’t nod to the beat and show off (without even knowing) their “mean-mug.” Busta Rhymes of course steals the show with his one of a kind delivery and energy that finishes off the track, but this is a song that the DJ in the club can’t just skip to the end of, because every artists on this track has a quotable moment that crowds (of all ages) love to chant in unison. This is the posse cut I compare to all – and it hasn’t been out-done since 1991.
The hardest part of this was picking the three I picked 4, so let me show love to those who almost made my cut.
Helatah Skeltah F/O.G.C.- Leflaur Leflah Eshkeska
T.I. F/Jay Z, Kayne West, and Lil Wayne- Swager Like Us
Obie Trice F/ Eminem, 50 Cent, and Lloyd Banks- We All Die One Day
Now to the main event, I am a lyrics guy I need dope bars with clever wordplay and punchlines. Add a beat that makes my neck snap and I’m a happy man.
Jane Doe, Wordsworth, Talib Kweli, Punchline and Mos Def- Twice Inna Lifetime (1998):
This is a CLASSIC Jane Doe sets it off with a fantastic verse proving just because she is a female don’t sleep on her. Talib had me replaying this song for weeks trying to catch all the metaphors and still bangs. They all stepped up and crushed it perfect mix of bars and beats
LL Cool J, Fat Joe, Foxy Brown, Kieth Murray and Prodigy-I Shot Ya Remix (1995):
Where do I start? LL calling out any MC male or female? Foxy crushing it and holding her own? Fat Joe showing at the time he was not to be played with. Murray does his thing and for my money Prodigy steals the show.
Raekwon, Method Man, RZA, Master Killa, Ghostface Killah- Wu Gambinos (1995):
I will show my age this was my senior year of high school anthem. The first time I heard this the movie clips samples setting the stage, and then 5 dudes who just ripped the track in a style I had never heard before. I call my brother sun cause he shine like one! Maaaaaan listen!
M.O.P., Remy Ma, Busta Rhymes, Teflon Ante Up Remix (2009):
The video is WILD and so is the song, if this doesn’t get the blood pumping I don’t know what will. If this came on at the club those weak of heart better clear the dance floor. And the perfect song for any workout playlist it’s high intense energy.
What did we miss? And what memories do these tracks bring back for you? I want to thank my panel for helping me out with this VERY difficult task but we had fun. Until next time hip-hop music fans we wait to see what is the next great posse cut. Follow NBS @NutsAndBoltsSP or me @JoeCardoso301. Keep doing it for the culture.