Posse cut: a hip hop track with successive verses from four or more rappers. i.e. a bunch of bad asses on a track tearing !@$# up.
Now that we got that qualification out of the way, here’s a list we put together to celebrate the long-awaited appearance of a Strange Music cypher on Tech N9ne Collabos – Strangeulation. Here are some of the finest examples of murderers on one track that you’re ever going to hear.
Nas, AZ, Cormega and Foxy Brown – “Affirmative Action”
Perhaps this song alone was worth the collection of talents who became known as The Firm. While their album was one of the biggest flops in hip hop history, this mafioso-themed track from Nas’s It Was Written made the supergroup well worth it. Over a Trackmasters guitar that sets the mafioso tone with Spanish guitars, Nas, AZ, Cormega and Foxy Brown trade bars of Don swag. Notable is Foxy Brown’s verse which is epic despite the fact that her mathematics don’t quite add up.
Money line: “Life’s a bitch but God forbid the bitch divorce me.” – Nas
A Tribe Called Quest ft. Leaders Of The New School – “Scenario”
You knew this one was coming. Very little needed to say here: this song is a classic amongst classics and is often cited as the greatest posse cut of all time. After this song, everybody wanted to do a posse cut. This track also marks the breakout of a legend in the game that goes by the name of Busta Rhymes.
Money line: “Aiyo, Bo knows this, (What?) and Bo knows that (What?) But Bo don’t know jack, cause Bo can’t rap” – Phife Dawg
RZA, Tech N9ne, Eminem, Xzibit, Pharoahe Monch, Kool G Rap, Jayo Felony, Chino XL, KRS-One – “The Anthem”
Never has hip hop seen such a diverse group of talent on one track. This song would prove to be a breakout moment for Tech N9ne and the first time many have heard from the fast and backwards-rapping emcee out of Kansas City.
Money line: “Sway and Tech heard me flow and it’s sealed, now I got Swedish women yelling ‘Tech N9ne’s vild!'”
A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, Big K.R.I.T. – “1 Train”
It was almost as if A$AP Rocky said “I’m going to make one of the best posse cuts ever” and then did it. Did we just say that “The Anthem” boasts the most diverse talent on one collective cut? We might have to take that back already with “1 Train”. Over a symphonic Hit-Boy production, emcees who earned their stripes in the underground wreck shop and leave listeners breathless.
Money line: “Walk the plank or break a bank, I’ve been in the business of sinkin’ ships, Chokin’ niggas out with the anchors that they anchor with” – Big K.R.I.T.
Masta Ace, Craig G, Kool G. Rap, Big Daddy Kane – “The Symphony”
The granddaddy of posse cuts. Marley Marl’s inspired use of Otis Redding’s “Hard To Handle” and his assemblage of four of the finest emcees from The Juice Crew led to one of the most influential songs in all of hip hop: “The Symphony”. In a list that has the words “posse cut” you are obliged to include this selection or be damned. Regardless of the song’s arbitrary inclusion, this song still has great playability and was a landmark moment for hardcore hip hop.
Money Line: “So put a quarter in your ass because ya’ played yourself.” – Big Daddy Kane
Nas, Fatal, Akinyele, Large Professor – “Live At The Barbeque”
At a time when everyone and their cousin is talking about Illmatic, it’s only appropriate to include Nas’s first appearance on wax. This cut had listeners doing double takes and pressing rewind with a quickness, as Nas opens the song with the most startlingly confident debut verses ever recorded, in which he kills Jesus, kidnaps the president’s wife and compares his rhymes to an AIDS patient.
Money line: “Verbal assassin, my architect pleases, when I was twelve, I went to hell for snuffing Jesus” – Nas
Raekwon, Killa Sin, KRS-One, Notorious B.I.G. – “Stop The Breaks”
This overlooked gem from DJ Ron G’s mixtape It’s On Part 2 contains some of New York’s finest from the old school and the golden era on one track, so it was impossible to not include it. Notorious B.I.G.’s verse at the end reminds you how disturbing the Brooklyn icon could get when he wanted to.
Money line: “Hail Mary, fuck her I never knew her, I’ll probably screw her and dump her body in the sewer.”
Method Man, Redman, Canibus, DMX, LL Cool J – “4,3,2,1”
The fact that this song was a collection of some of the East Coast’s finest was quickly overshadowed by the fact that LL Cool J dedicated his entire verse to dissing the emcee two verses before him: Canibus. Canibus originally opened his rhyme with ““Method, where the gods at? Redman, where the squad at? Yo L, Is that a mic on your arm? Let me borrow that.” LL didn’t take kindly to this line and told Canibus to change it, which he did. However this didn’t stop LL from going in on the hungry emcee with lines like “The symbol on my arm is off limits to challengers, you hold the rusty swords I swing the Excalibur.” Canibus would later respond with “Second Round K.O.” Who won is still debatable, but one thing’s for sure: this was a fun beef to watch.
Money line: “Canibus is the type who’ll fight for mics Beatin niggas to death and beating dead niggas to life.” – Canibus
Rick Ross, Kanye West, Jay Z, Nicki Minaj – “Monster”
If you didn’t know who Nicki Minaj was before popping in My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, you definitely figured it out after track six. Never has a newcomer stolen the spotlight from the vets in such a unexpected way like Nicki Minaj on the posse cut with Rick Ross, Kanye West and Jay Z. Channeling multiple personalities, her verse would become the most talked about in hip hop that year. Not to be ignored are Kanye’s entertaining and Jay Z’s cold-blooded lyrical contributions. Rick Ross also opens the song with a quick 4 bars that technically makes puts this in “posse cut” territory.
Money line: “I’m living in the future so my present is my past, my presence is a present kiss my ass.” – Kanye West
Obie Trice, Lloyd Banks, Eminem, 50 Cent – “We All Die One Day”
Lots of posse cuts center around the premise “I rap way better than you.” This one is more like “I’ll fuck you up if you fuck with me.” This gem from Obie Trice’s criminally underrated Cheers album features a joint rhyme session with Shady Records and G-Unit artists which results in a lyrical beat down. This collision of styles ends with 50 Cent surprisingly packing the best punchlines – only surprising because usually Em is going to win that category by default.
“If you trying to buy guns, I’m the nigga to look to, so what they got bodies on them? They still look new.” – 50 Cent