In contemporary hip-hop, artists often get propelled to stardom on their own and (if they were part of one) their former crew lurks in the shadows. However, during the genre’s golden age, entire crews were the entities that labels chose to sign, and this was the foundation upon which hip-hop was built. An integral part of being in a crew was the recording of posse cuts.
From Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five to The Funky 4+1, hip-hop was all about strength in numbers. The now reasonably redundant phrase ‘posse cut’ refers to a track on which several emcees (usually four or more) all perform verses back to back in a cypher-like format. Usually, posse cuts devoid of a chorus or feature a tiny, insignificant break segment between the different emcees.
Posse cuts are extremely uncommon nowadays as crews are becoming more and more of a rarity in hip-hop. Between the 1980s and 1990s, crews were the primary focus of hip-hop. During the ’90s, what many dubbed “label crews” emerged. Quite the self-explanatory term, they were independently formed labels that doubled up as crews. You only have to look as far as Death Row and Bad Boy Entertainment to understand the kind of establishments the phrase references.
This format continued well into the 2000s, with label crews such as Young Money and Maybach Music Group exploding. However, by the early 2010s, the crew element of hip-hop had faded, and artists were continuously bursting into the mainstream alone. However, although there is no longer that crew camaraderie, that doesn’t mean we can’t look back fondly on hip-hop’s golden age.
Scouring through hip-hop to find both old and new, we have compiled a list of what are undoubtedly the 25 best posse cuts ever made.
The 25 best posse cuts ever made:
- ‘The Message’ – Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five
- ‘The Symphony’ – Juice Crew
- ‘Rapper’s Delight’ – Sugar Hill Gang
- ‘That’s The Joint’ – Funky 4+1
- ‘Fight The Power’ – Public Enemy
- ‘Just Say Stet’ – Stetsasonic
- ‘Raise It Up’ – Ultramagnetic MC’s
- ‘Fight For Your Right (To Party)’ – Beastie Boys
- ‘Not Tonight’ (Ladies Night) – Lil’ Kim ft Missy Elliott, Da Brat, Left Eye, and Angie Martinez
- ‘Hit Em Up’ – 2pac ft Young Noble, E.D.I. Mean, Komani and Storm
- ‘Straight Outta Compton’ – N.W.A
- ‘F*ck Tha Police’ – N.W.A.
- ‘Electric Relaxation’ – A Tribe Called Quest
- ‘Ante Up (Remix) – M.O.P ft Busta Rhymes, Teflon and Remy Ma
- ‘Hate It Or Love It (G-Unit Remix)’ – 50 Cent ft G-Unit
- ‘Touch it (Remix pt 1)’ – Busta Rhymes ft Mary J Blige, Missy Elliot and Rah Digga
- ‘Touch it (Remix pt 3)’ – Busta Rhymes ft Lloyd Banks and Papoose
- ‘C.R.E.A.M.’ – The Wu-Tang Clan
- ‘Gettin Money’ – Junior M.A.F.I.A ft The Notorious B.I.G
- ‘Bedrock’ – Young Money ft Lloyd
- ‘Monster’ – Kanye West ft Rick Ross, Jay-Z, Bon Iver and Nicki Minaj
- ‘Oldie’ – Odd Future
- ‘When I’m Ere’ – Roll Deep Crew
- ‘Thought I was Gonna Stop (Remix)’ – Papoose ft 2 Chainz, Remy Ma, Busta Rhymes & Lil Wayne
- ‘Playground Vocal’ – Slew Dem