The Best Posse Cuts of All Time -- by Angus Crawford, November 2006
After listening to The Game's new remix for "One Blood", I can't decide if it is more amazing that The Game got 25 of some of the biggest rappers to put aside the beefs and lend their skills to his 12 minute opus or that none of the 25 rappers is named Busta Rhymes. Maybe his agent was on vacation or its payback for not asking The Game to be on the "Touch It" remix. No matter the reason, it is still a little disheartening for the Dungeon Dragon not to be featured on such a historic remix.
However, the song did get me thinking about my favorite (non Wu-Tang) posse cuts of all time. While you are waiting for "One Blood" remix remix with Busta Rhymes, go back and listen to these classics and reminisce.
5. "Banned From TV" (1998) Nore featuring Nature, Cam'ron, Big Pun, Jadakiss and Styles P
In 1998 these were some of the best up and coming rappers. Now that they are deep into their careers, it is hard to believe that none of them really reached superstar status (Pun probably would have if he did not pass away). Nore's debut album was highly anticipated and met the expectations starting with the first track "Banned From TV'. The trademarked Swizz Beats synthesizer and keyboards jump started the track with each rapper doing their best to out do the other.
Scene Stealer: Nature
Big Pun is a close second but, in an upset, the least renowned MC stole show with the first verse and set the standard for everyone to follow. His opening lines let listeners know that this was not your average posse cut as he spit, "Regardless of rain or snow, sleet or hail / I kick street tales / Choking niggas like I'm Sprewell".
4. "Headbanger" (1992) EPMD featuring K-Solo and Redman
The last album before Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith took a five year hiatus from making dollars together. Luckily both had plenty of proteges waiting in the wings to keep the EPMD sound alive and none were more talented than Mr. Reggie Noble. Over a sample heavy track, all four rappers bring plenty of energy to keep listeners banging those heads for its entirety. The EPMD produced beat was later used by the Ruff Ryders on their first compilation.
Scene Stealer: Redman
No surprise here as Redman stands above the rest on a track that personifies energy. One Def Jam executive said at the time that Redman ripped all other rappers a new asshole. Before he began to do movies and television, Redman was much more than just a pothead's rapper. His mix of humor and aggressive lyrics made him one of the best around. With lines like "Because I can jam like Teddy if you let me / A Goodfella but still rugged like Joe Pesci" and "Now I'm back to tear the frame out your ass crack / Cause I get wreck, with the tec, with the blunt or moet / And what you see is what you get and what you get is your / Ass kicked, nigga, hit you with the funkdafied figure", Redman announced his arrival to the rap world with authority.
3. "It's All About the Benjamins (remix)" (1997) Puff Daddy featuring Jadakiss, Sheek, Lil' Kim and Notorious B.I.G.
There was a time when Bad Boy was the hottest rap label on the planet, and before Biggie died it did not look like Def Jam, or any other label, would take that title. The Summer of 1997 was the last hurrah for Diddy and his Dynasty with the Benjamins being the big bang for its ending. Every rapper came through with some of their best verses and in the case of Lil' Kim and Diddy (with help from Biggie) arguably the best lines they ever spit. And let's not forgot how ridiculous D-Shot's (the Madd Rapper) beat is.
Scene Stealer: Notorious B.I.G.
Does anyone need an explanation on this one? The one and only Frank White had to rap last on the track, because no one else could follow. When you hear those signature Biggie "uh"s during Lil' Kim's verse, you know its about to be taken to another level.
2. "The Symphony" (1988) Marley Marl featuring Masta Ace, Craig G, Kool G Rap, and Big Daddy Kane
Everyone knows that KRS destroyed MC Shan's career but Marley Marl and the rest of the Juice Crew were still able to make classic records. The Batman to Pete Rock's (The Chocolate Boy Wonder) Robin, Marley Marl created beats that influenced countless others and the sound of hip hop until P-Funk and Jigginess began to dominate. One of the best producers, and perhaps in the top two with Dr. Dre, Marley Marl's first compilation had some memorable tracks but nothing like "The Symphony". All four MCs were out to show the world they were the best around, including the great Kool G Rap and the greater Big Daddy Kane engaged in their own friendly battle of one upmanship.
Scene Stealer: Big Daddy Kane
Of course honorable mention goes to Kool G Rap, but not even he could match Kane on this one. The king of the one liners saves some of his best for "The Symphony". When he says "So just acknowledge how I kick it / Cause if rap was a house you'd be evicted" the oohing and aahing starts. And then he follows it with "And dismissed from the microphone, chokin' on a bone, cuz Daddy's home / And battlin' me is hazardous to your health / So put a quarter in your ass cuz you played yourself" and you end up breaking your rewind button and realize you are listening to one of the best verses ever.
1. "Scenario" (1991) A Tribe Called Quest featuring The Leaders of the New School
It was hard to put this ahead of "The Symphony" and its superior lyrics, but the energy of "Scenario" is something special. Q-Tip and Phife were better known as laid back MCs rapping over acoustic beats like "Bonita Applebum", "Can I Kick It" and "Check The Rhyme", and not something as in your face as "Scenario". So when the Leaders of the New School, and their charismatic star Busta Rhymes, joined them for the posse cut, the results were better than anyone could imagine.
Scene Stealer: Busta Rhymes
No one does a cameo appearance like Busta. Usually a verse like Phife's would be the most memorable but Busta's verse is what we remember. Just reading the lines, "Watch as I combine all the juice from the mind / Heel up, wheel up, bring it back, come rewind / Powerful impact BOOM! from the cannon" should whip hip hop fans into a frenzy. The Dungeon Dragon is the scene stealer of hip hop's best posse cut. Someone go tell The Game and get that "One Blood" remix remix started.