The other day I was asked to guest appear on a "Posse Cut" that would be on my friend Alex's demo, he is an up and coming rapper. What is a "Posse Cut" you ask? It's a Hip Hop song where different artists or groups come together to release their verbal stylings over that particular track. Anyways, I spent a week crafting my verse, injecting metaphors, similes, perfecting my delivery, even sprinkling a little bit of alliteration over said verse. I get to the studio with an arrogance that Terrel Owens would cringe at as I proceeded to record my verse like it was the best thing since collard greens or Internet porn. When we all heard the finished product I was sort of happy with my performance even though I did sound like a 13 year old Caucasian boy, but that could be my "gimmick" and make me millions and shit. As we sat there, between trying to keep a mental checklist of who had the best verse, I reminisced about some of my favorite Posse cuts that I feel are the best of all time. With this list, as with most of my opinions on Hip Hop, people will definitely disagree with many of my choices. But then again I am a black man that skateboards, loves Hip Hop, has a crush on Janeane Garofalo, digs Kevin Smith movies, and masturbates with the same passion of a man that has recently been told that they are about to amputate his "stroke" hand, so I am used to people not following my path.(Sidenote: My mother called and asked what I was writing and I told her that I was doing a post about "Posse Cuts". She replied, "Why in the world would you want to talk about the abrasions on a woman's vagina??" I said "POSSE" cuts Ma, "POSSE")
"The Symphony":(Craig G, Masta Ace, Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane): This by far is my favorite Posse Cut of all time, probably considered a favorite to most people who call themselves Hip Hop purists. When this song came out I was in High School, listening to this track over and over, reciting the verses verbatim like I was a actual member of the "Juice Crew". The piano loop, the head-nodding drum pattern, it made it pretty easy for a novice MC like myself to perfect my rhyme style whenever this song was playing. From Marley Marl's classic "I don't care who's first or whose last" intro, Masta Ace's effortless opening verse, Craig G holding it down with his precise verse, Kool G rap bringing lyrical terror with his contribution, and Big Daddy Kane taking it home with a line that I would quote until this day: "Put a quarter in your ass 'cause you played yourself" Over the years I consistently thought that Kane had the best verse, but now I obviously see that Kool G Rap's verse reigns superior.("Making veterans run for medicine/ cause I put out more lights in a fight than Con Edison" That's beautiful man) This song is also the cause for me saying something that would get me labeled a "dickhead" for life. See, a local artist got into a beef with Masta Ace, one of the MC's on this song, to the point that they battled and the rapper in question(Boogie) was supposedly the victor. One of his boys was telling me about it, bragging about how Boogie took out Masta Ace, all this was flashing a shit eating grin. I shut him up when I said the following. "But at the end of the day, Masta Ace will still be Masta Ace, the guy in one of the best Posse Cuts ever, and Boogie will be some bastard who never made it, telling his kids about a legend he 'once battled'. Fuck Boogie!" Yes, I'm an asshole
Listen to the track here.
"Scenario":(A Tribe Called Quest, Leaders of the New School) No song that I know of, whether I am talking to a woman kind enough to consider showing me her naked body, or me shitfaced talking shit to some miscellaneous asshole, will get me on the dance-floor and propel me back to 1992 like this joint. Two of my favorite groups at the time, A Tribe Called Quest and Leaders of the New School, got together on this song and made bona fide hip Hop history. That driving beat, that deep baseline, and the way that each MC slides over the track with a sort of graceful fury that leaves me astounded to this day. I still remember the Spike Lee directed video, which I still think was revolutionary and ahead of its time. Most people that I know, myself included, agree that Busta's verse was the best of all because of the way the song seemed to build up to his part. I'm not sure about this, but didn't Busta land his solo deal based on him performing this song on the Arsenio Hall show?? This song was my shit, but I always found a strange parallel between Tribe and Leaders because they both had members that hardly did anything, or in Tribe's case a member that was gone after the first album.(see jarobi and Milo)
Listen to the Track here
"Headbanger"(EPMD, K-Solo, Redman): Whenever I hear this song I want to put on a black hoody, regardless of the weather, and walk through a crowd of people and randomly shove miscellaneous individuals. It's not good for a Hip Hop advocate to admit this, primarily giving douche-bag right wing pundits ammo for their inbred arguments, but this song hypes me up and urges me to do bad things man.(which is a good thing) Even the intro is classic with with Redman screaming "Negro's!!", something I still do whenever I am going somewhere with my family and I want to get them out the door.(Something my mother hates by the way.) The dark track, the hard kick drum, Parrish's traditional "slow flow", Eric's trademark lisp, "Letterman" himself K-Solo, and a all out verbal terrorist strike by Redman that al Qaeda would want the schematics to. Out of all the Posse Cuts on the list, no one separates himself lyrically superior on a particular track than the way Redman does on "Headbanger", Classic Hip Hop material.
"Live at the Barbecue":(Nas, Fatal, Akinyele, Large Professor) Besides liking the song based on its merit, the title of it always seemed fitting to me because it sounds like a group of friends rhyming together at a cookout.(Albeit with one of the greatest rappers alive in attendance and a hall of fame producer in attendance.) The way the song started out implied that chaos was about to ensue, then when you heard Nas' opening verse you knew that this track would stay burned in your brain for years. I mean, with lines like "Verbal assassin, my architect pleases/ When I was twelve, I went to hell for snuffin Jesus/" and "Kidnap the President's wife without a plan/ And hangin niggaz like the Ku Klux Klan", you knew what you were hearing was historic. With Fatal holding it down, Akinyele and the way he used to accentuate the last word of each of his rap lines, and Large Professor showing off his lyric skill that we all expected from him with lines like "Why's my name the Large Professor?/ Cause I milked your cow in other words I hit your heffer." (Even though the part where he says, "Secondly, I'm sick of critics, who's neckin' me/ (Oooh he got an afro) yo, but I got dough!!" makes me laugh and I don't know why.) I have been to about 60 cookouts since this song was released and I still haven't been to a barbecue like this one.
"Buddy":(Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Monie Love, Queen Latifah): Whenever I hear this song I want to pull out my African medallions and wonder what I did with my Native Tongues application. Maybe you guys can clear something up for me about this song, what exactly is it about? I mean, I know its about something sexual, but is it a specific male organ, female organ, sex "buddy", sex in general, or all the above? But the laid back track and the way that the artists on this song talk about sex in very abstract ways, it makes you wonder why Hip Hop couldn't be like this again. I like when Pos says "Now when Tribe, the Jungle, and De La Soul Is at the clubs our ritual unfolds/ Grab our bones and start swingin' our hands..", but when I do that it is usually with a unsatisfied lover as I assure her that "this never happens to me."
"I'm the Man":(Guru, lil dap, Jeru the Damaja): This pick probably isn't one that anyone will agree with me on, but this is one of my personal favorites. I think it is DJ Premier's production, the way the track switches up and smacks you in the face, or the gritty underground feeling you get after hearing it like feeling like you have to take a shower after playing it. On this track was the introduction, to most people, to the man that would bring the Hip Hop classic "Come Clean" to us, Jeru the Damaja. Lil Dap isn't the most impressive MC ever, I even at one time was quoted as saying that Premiere doing production for his group was like "putting a Brooks Brothers suit on a turd", but even he sounded decent on this particular track
"Don't Curse"(Heavy D, Kool G Rap, Grand Puba, CL Smooth, Big Daddy Kane, Pete Rock, Q-Tip): I don't know what it is about this song, whether it is the eclectic array of rappers that were assembled, if I actually like the song, or the fact that Heavy D convinced Kool G Rap not to spray the public with profanities. Kool G Rap, a guy whose line "I'll bust a nut, get up, and wipe my dick on your curtain" is what I have mistakenly uttered to many women post coitus. Also the man that has said, talking about throwing a man out of a 20 story window then shooting him, "Up, Up Up and away cause I don't play clown/ Buck, Buck, Buck, take that with you on the way down!" Maybe I'm making too much of it, but it must have taken G Rap all the energy that he could muster to be a part of this collaboration. This track also proves, to a person like myself that uses curse words regularly, that you don't need to be vulgar to make classic Hip Hop.(Two people in the track, CL Smooth and Heavy D, rarely if ever used curses in their raps.) The video sticks out in my mind, not only because it was good to see all those MC's together, but because Big Daddy Kane was wearing an extremely tight purple paisley shirt, sporting an arm cast.(Too funny)