This week, a good friend of mine DanTres(my Hip Hop Yoda) and I will be tackling 2 different Posse Cuts a day. Forget about the fact that he's from New York and I'm from Virginia, that he's a Dominican American and I'm an African American, that he's a loving family man and I'm a social deviant who refers to strippers by their real names and just recently stopped receiving receipts after sex, that I'm an Obama supporter and he has a penchant for supporting 3rd party candidates that I simply find irritating. Our friendship is grounded in a shared belief that a person's self worth depends upon their respective musical tastes, you couldn't find two bigger Hip Hop Snobs if you tried.
Posse cut: A hip hop track that features three or more artists from different groups or separate artists with no official affiliation.
The Symphony featuring the Juice Crew (Big Daddy Kane, Kool G. Rap, Masta Ace, and Craig G)
DanTres: The classic and very first posse cut. I don't think I have attended a hip hop event without this track being played. I find that every brother (and an occasional sister) in our age bracket knows this song verbatim. Everyone has their favorite part. At all of the hip hop karoke events I organized or attended, this is one of the most requested. I even seen one cat do all the verses.
HumanityCritic: One of my all time favorites. Its funny though, around the time it was released I strongly felt that Kane had the strongest verse, now I have to give it to Kool G Rap - you can't get any better than "..making veterans run for medicine cause I put out my lights in a fight than Con Edison". Just fucking brilliant. Not for nothing, but I can't listen to this song without thinking about the video, so much in fact that when me and the old lady took one of those "Wild West" photos last week - I couldn't stop spitting Kane's verse.
DanTres: We have to remember that this track came out long before MCs started doing cameos on other people's tracks. It was the late eighties and it just didn't happen. It was a while before another posse cut came along. At that point though, The Symphony was the one and only. It was the real deal. No marketing attempts, no watered down lyrics, and not wack R&B songstress. Just a dope beat and dope MCs killing the track. The video was crazy. It really added to the illness of the song.
HumanityCritic: Word. Everyone held it down, but because I'm a nitpicking asshole, I still cringe when Masta Ace says the word "unoptimistics" and even though "Revenging" is indeed a word, why couldn't G Rap just throw a bother a bone and simply say "Avenging". Speaking of Kool G Rap, what I'm about to say may get me beat down by the Queens MC.. But if you told me back in 1989 that Masta Ace would be the only one still relevant in 08, I would have kicked you in the chest with my Converse Weapons.
Live at the BBQ - Main Source featuring Nas, Akinyele, and Joe Fatal
Dan Tres: Another classic. The only thing about this one is only the hardcore hip hop heads know about it. Everyone else really missed it. It was never released as a single but it introduced Nasty Nas to the world. Even though everyone came off, Nas' 12 bars will always be remembered. "Kidnap the president's wife without a plan..." this was a young Nas at his rawest. When you listen to this track and then his first album, Illmatic, it is easy to see why several of his fans have issues with Nas.
HumanityCritic: "Kidnap the President's wife without a plan". That Nas line brings back memories of my senior year in High School when I was having a secret affair with our class president's girlfriend, every time I saw him in the hall I'd utter that line to him and giggle like a school girl. That being said, the whole song is just an assault on all fronts, Akinele spitting hot lines years before he got into "porn rap", the Large Professor lines "...ohh, he's got an afro/but I got dough" and ".that just a bunch of mamajahambo" that always makes me laugh. Definitely a classic, but after 17 years, I have yet to convince anyone to join me in a free style session over hot dogs and smothered pork products.
DanTres: Overall, it helped continue the tradition that posse cuts should be a song where every artists drops the hardest verse they could. It's unfortunate that nowadays this seems to be lost. What I dug about this joint is the hook. It was a throw back to the old school call and response type flow. I don't know how Large Pro laid the track but it sounds like he did it on a 4 track to give it that bottom quality we relearned in Wu Tang's first outing. That brought the real grittiness to the joint. Pretty much, this posse cut was all hoodies and timbs.
"Live at the BBQ"