I’ve always dug posse cuts. A swarm of MCs attack the mic and ravage the crowd with vicious braggadocio. You get to see the personalities of the crew. It’s like watching an Avengers movie or reading an X-Men comic. The comparison of Hip Hop to comic books is old, but it’s part of its appeal. Seems these posse cuts lend a lot to visualization.
At any rate, I’m old school, and I like the old school posse cuts. They always appealed to me because they always sound kind of bad-azz. Here are some I find to be the best.
Cool J – Farmer’s Blvd.
Cool J went back to his hood in Queens to get the crew for a posse cut. I like the imagery in this cut. The MCs are tearing the comp to shreds. Enjoy!
Marley Marl and the Juice Crew – The Symphony
Marley Marl and the Juice Crew were notorious for going up against KRS One. But they were a formidable crew, no doubt. The Symphony is a Hip Hop power-house, an Old West style posse cut, complete with all the usual imagery and braggadocio, with some of the best MCs on the planet, including Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane. These guys kill it.
Naughty by Nature – 1,2,3
I don’t know if it counts as a posse cut because there are only 3 MCs on the record, but they are some of the most dangerous members of the Flavor-Unit crew, which had included Queen Latifah. Apache’s lyrics are like they come out of a Bruce Lee movie and Lakim is smooth as usual with the added feature of being particularly blood-thirsty with his lyrics on this cut. Treach as usual is, well, treacherous.
Blue Scholars – North by Northwest Jake One Remix
Probably a bit too obscure for most people out there to even recognize, but this is a dope crew of Seattle MCs which includes the now-famous Grammy winning Macklemore – before he got huge! This cut is funky, these guys kill it, true posse cut.
Macklemore kills it so hard I get chills.
Mr. Muthafu–in Exquire – Huzzah
Weird, drug-induced, kind of psychotic, this track is hot. These are some of the best of the underground Hip Hop MCs out there, though they are obscure, bizarre but, above all, unique. This hardly seems like a posse cut but it’s one of the best ones out there.
Eminem and D12 – Rap Game
What can I say, Em hits this one hard like a brick. He’s on it, his Detroit crew is on it, it’s a hot posse cut.
The D.O.C. and NWA – The Grand Finale
Cool NWA cut, typical of the old days, totally raw. They got the crew together to exploit their talents and put down a hype track true to their gangster sensibilities.
Jermaine Dupri – Welcome to Atlanta Coast 2 Coast Remix
Dupri got a crew from across the country for this hit, some of the hugest MCs take part. I dig it. Snoop Dogg, as always, stands out.
Eminem, Mos Def, Black Thought – Cypher
Oh, it’s a dope posse cut and you know it.
Luniz – I Got 5 On It
Bay Area Hip Hop is hot and unique, with its own culture and history. This track has some dope Bay Area artists, only thing maybe missing is some Mac Dre, maybe some of those infamous Filipino DJs on the ones and twos, maybe some of those guys from the Hieroglyphics.
So, those are my favorites of the posse cuts, some little known, some from well-established artists know mostly for their solo work. Posse cuts are always the sh!t and these are no exception.
Featured image: By Napalm filled tires (Wu Tang Clan) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I’ve been listening to Hip Hop music and exploring other aspects of the culture since the early 1980s, my teen years. I’ve seen it go through major changes. But there’s a common spirit underlying this Movement. Hip Hop Ya Don’t Stop!