Friday, November 11, 2005

An Ode to the "Posse Cut"

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.
Listen here

"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.
Listen here

"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."
Listen here

"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
Listen here

"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)
Listen here

40 comments:

GHAGGED said...

Oh Yeeeeah you took me back with this one. How about "Self Destruction", Same Game (westcoast all stars)& "Down with the KING". You covered some official classics though maan. This is a great post. Much love H.C

Amadeo said...

Great list...I have to add (though lower on the list) "Headz ain't Readee" by the Boot Camp Click...I miss them as they were at their peak.

IsLifeLame said...

For all the Canadian heads out there I gotta mention Northern Touch feat. Rascalz, CheckMate, Choclair, Kardinal Offishall and Thrust. Maybe not the best posse cut us canucks can offer but...

Inside Man said...

Good picks bro ("Buddy", yup). I would off picked "Pick Ya Clout" as the Gangstarr Foundation Posse Cut.

glory said...

yup that list wouldn't have been complete without scenario. and bump the audio clips, i wanna see of picture of the kane in the tight barney shirt.

ryan said...

the list is pretty rad, but i would've added "1,2 Pass It" by the D&D All Stars and "The Points" from the Panther Soundtrack. Where else could you get Biggie and Ill Al Scratch on the same record?

saga said...

Oh man - you went BACK! I'd have to say Scenario was my fave, although the other cuts were magnetic.

...hm, can u imagine a posse cut now? Oh wait, there is that Nelly, P. Diddy and Murphy Lee joint 'Shake Ya Tailfeather'. Or maybe 'Grillz' with Paul Wall, Nelly, Ali & Big Gipp....

...the Gods of Hip-Hop are turning over in their graves *SMH*

Belve said...

HC, I Thank you for speaking the truth and NOT trying to rank them. Ahhh The great memories

Georgiapeach said...

Well, I would have to say the tightest posse cut for me is by Hypnotized Camp Posse (Three Six Mafia) "Mafia". You probably don't know the song but oh well. It features all the artist of HCP. I love it! Good post.

Big Walt said...

Nice post. Anywhere I can hear this demo? I too am in love with posse cuts, and am interested in hearing your lyrical skillz. In terms of a list, I would probably add "Leflaur Leflah Eskoshka" and "Two To The Head" with G.Rap,Ice Cube, Bushwick Bill and Scarface. That last one is straight bloodfiyah.

Nova said...

It's funny that I was listening to "Scenario" as I started reading this post.

Anonymous said...

yes im glad to know im not the only one who appreciates jeru the damaja, i know i can count on you to always keep ole school hip hop alive. Im not only in love w/these posse cuts, but also old school in general, im the only bitch rockin shook ones,how many emcees,my ultimate favorite who shot ya, and cheif cheif rocka, like the shit just came out, im so old school, and hell no i dont consider Jay-z old school. I miss our conversations about "real hip hop" ass crackers! keep rockin cheif.

Laylah Queen of the Night said...

Posse Cut is a fly concept. I loved Scenerio and Don't Curse...

Avery said...

This list is the fire. Iono about the Gangstarr cut you picked, though. I'd prolly pick DWYCK.

But what about The Grand Finale w/ NWA + the D.O.C.?

Andrea said...

I am feeling very left out as I will admit that I had no idea as to what a "posse cut" was until now.
Very interesting. I may start to look at hip hop a little differently. (I will admit that it is not my general music of choice but you are helping to educate me.) hehehe

Garrett said...

Good ones very good but i'd easily put in 8 is Enuff by Big L/Terra/Herb McGruff/Buddha Bless/Big Twan/Killah Kam/Trooper J/and Mike Boogie. Just amazing check it out off "Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous" Big L CD

Knockout Zed said...

I gotta believe that the first time that a producer used a different beat for each MC is on the Gangstarr cut. I've heard it done since, but not better.

KZ

Rose said...

Thanks for introducing me to Posse Cuts. I never heard of them before now...

Jdid said...

yo remember when redmans's verse from headbanger was the hip hop quotable in the source? oh man!

great post, been a while since i got the chance to pass through.

oh man you mentioned dont curse that as a great tune. i love q-tips verse on that.

I actually like the scenario remix better, just the darker vibe of it and the start where busta starts here in 1992 we present the fabulous whats the scenraio remix .... and then kicks it into hoods verse.

I also dig symphony part II. its definetly not better than the original but Kool G Raps verse on that is tight.

GoddessNoir said...

as corny as this sounds, you are like my musical soulmate, when you bought up posse cuts, I knew you were gonna list them and I'm thinking, he better have this, he better have that, the only thing you're missing, in my opinion is dwyck, that was hot. and along with scenario, scenario remix.

BTW, you're mother is hilarious, I love her.

stacius said...

Great post...

But you left off the "Flava In Ya Ear" remix, which despite the inclusion of Puffy is one of my all-time posse cuts.

And the remix of De La's "Buddy" is the shiz, too!

Peace!

mai said...

i know everyone has said this, but your moms is funny.

Scenario...
damn. now i gotta find my old cassettes...
i miss that one in particular.

murderator said...

Of all the stellar tracks listed here, I have a special place in my heart for Headbanger - I actually recently re-purchased that joint from the iTunes music store. My favorite line might have to be K-Solo's Incredible Hulk reference:

"Back on the scene it's the incredible one-man team
When I get mad I turn green"

Either that, or Redman's astonishingly un-P.C. cerebral palsy reference.

uncle_blak said...

Nice list...once i get an Ipod...these will be placed in there...


uncle

staccato jackson said...

Buddy was about the Native Tongues crew walking around while half-engorged, kids.

Listen to the song. Gently nursed by pant and leg - they are young, fat and proud.

And them's the real.

Brotha Buck said...

Something about growing up in Iowa caused me to miss out on all the good tunes.

Breez said...

Man, "Scenario" came on VH1 Soul (I am an addict) the other day and the world stopped for a few minutes. I quit getting ready for work and everything. Just sitting back bobbing my head like I was back in high school again.

LovelyMonAmi said...

Bro.. Buddy was about sex. His buddy, his penis, her Jenny, was her vagina.... Jimmy hats, condoms, so and so forth...

What about "I shot Ya!" Keith Murray, LL Cool J, Foxy Brown, Fat Joe. That was my personal favorite Posse Cut. And the remix of "Ante Up!" Busta Rhymes, Remy Mar, and others...

Running2Ks said...

Can I tell you I just love your mom's question about the posse cut?

Anonymous said...

Sorry to add on, but the leaders of the new school posse joint, while Buster was quite nice, and recieved most of the fame, on the original version, the song opens up with an unknown who was killed right before the song came out and never got a chance to go where he should have, MC HOOD. Listen hard...that kid was nice as hell. SHESH!!! Also, worthless trivia...IN the studio for that recording was delasoul, and several other groups. THere is a verison with Pos ryhming on it, never released. CRAZY!!!!! so crazy in fact....busa bus, re-wrote his shit after hearing POS tear it up!!!!!

Sadly, clearances are a bitch, and few will ever be blessed to hear it.

JEW said...

Buddy is one of my all time favorite jams.

Good list.

David said...

HC, I wish that my own mother was half as hip as yours! What she said about "Posse Cuts" was really something else!

Brother OMi said...

i love the scenario, but the remix (which was actually the original) is much better. but it get EVERYONE on the dance floor.

I feel you on the Don'T Curse video cause i always remember Kane in that tight purple outfit

i see someone else commented on DYWCK. that's another banger right there.

T. said...

The Low End Theory had two posse cuts. Remember Show Business with Sadat, Lord Jamar and Diamond. Dope.

blackcaesar said...

4,3,2,1 LL Cool J, is one of my favorites.....

Lola Gets said...

I dont know if this counts as a "posse cut," but I liked the song "Saturday" with DeLaSoul, and some Tribe folks on it. Ive been listening to the "cassingle" for about a month now, whenever I clean up or cook, lol.

mr. wrong said...

Ha, i just finished puttin a compilation of posse cuts together and done a search on google to see if i missed anything, i did but i cant be bothered searchin no more!

check what i got

01 - marley marl, masta ace, craig g, kool g rap & big daddy kane - the symphony
02 - marley marl, masta ace, craig g, big daddy kane, kool g rap & little daddy shane - the symphony pt ii
03 - nas, fatal, akinyele, large professor - live at the b.b.q
04 - epmd, redman, k-solo - head banger
05 - a tribe called quest, leaders of the new school - scenario
06 - guru, jeru, lil' dap - i'm the man
07 - tragedy the intelligent hoodlum, king tee, grand poohbah, def jeff, chubb rock - keep control
08 - kool g rap, ice cube, bushwick bill, scarface - two to the head
09 - freestyle fellowship,cockney o dire, archie, volume 10, spoon, & ganja k chronic - heavyweights
10 - big l, terra, herb mcgruff, buddha bless, big twan, killah kam, trooper j, mike boogie - 8 iz enuff
11 - buckshot, smif-n-wessun, originoo gun clappaz, heltah skeltah - heads aint ready
12 - tupac, daz, kurupt, method man, redman - got my mind made up
13 - nas, saafir, ras kass, shyheim, lauryn hill - wake up show anthem 94
14 - govna mattic, redman, pace won, young zee, runt dog, roz noble - family day
15 - dj eli, breeze, q-unique, godfather don, j-treds, mf doom - fondleem fossils

anonymous said...

hmmmmm... not even a mention of "Pass the Popcorn" by the Roots...just for the simple fact that it was like 12 minutes long or something like that... also, what about the posse cut on "Asheru and Blue Black" ... chill will with the obgyn comment...

Anonymous said...

Chill with these nuts faggot..

Big Braveheart said...

Yo what about Color Blind off Death Certificate? That was a great posse cut of the best from the West.
Cube,King T, WC, Coolio, Kam & Threat. The track was cold and every flow was tight, absolute classic!