Menu Search
list Feb 6 2017 Written by

25 Best Guest Verses In Hip Hop History

maxresdefault

Hip Hop artists have always been unafraid of working together. No other form of music knows as many collaborations as Hip Hop does, and a lot of careers have been kick-started by a single well-timed guest spot. For this list, we have selected twenty-five of the very best guest verses in the history of Hip Hop.

With thousands of guest verses to chose from, of course it is nearly impossible to narrow it down to just twenty-five. Because taste is entirely subjective and it is really not possible to quantify what constitutes a great verse (flow? delivery? wordplay? complex rhyme schemes? emotion? lyrical substance?), lots of epic and memorable verses will not be included here. That is by no means meant as a slight to verses or artists that are omitted, this list just serves to celebrate a number of great emcees who laid down some of their best or most famous bars on other people’s songs.

What do YOU think? Are your favorites guest verses on this list? If not, what verse do you feel deserves a mention? Listen and read along… Enjoy!

25. MF DOOM - Rock Co Kane FLow (De La Soul / 2004)

MF DOOM

One of the many great tracks from De La Soul’s underrated seventh album The Grind Date, sports some dope beats created by slept on producer Jake One and excellent rhymes by Pos and Dave, with some especially epic bars by guest emcee MF DOOM.

From the top of the key for 3 — Villain! / Been on in the game as long as he can wheelie a Schwinn / Turn the corner spinning, bust that ass and get up / Dust off the mask, whoever laugh give him a head up / He got jumped, it pumped his adrenaline / He said it made him tougher than a bump of raw medicine / To write all night long, the hourglass is still slow / Flow from Hellborn to free power like LILCo / And still owe bills, pay dues forever / Slay youths when it comes to who’s more cleverer / Use to wore a leather goose V with a fur collar / And charged a fee for loose leaf words per dollar / Ya heard? Holler – broad or dude, we need food / Eat your teams for sure, the streets sure seem rude / For fam like the Partridges, pardon him for the mix-up / Battle for your Atari cartridges or put your kicks up / It’s a stick up…

24. 2Pac - Smile (Scarface / 1997)

2pac

Released not long after the violent death of 2Pac, this collaboration became one of Scarface’s most popular and best-known songs and the centerpiece of his fourth solo album The Untouchable, which went platinum quickly – not in the last place on the strength of this classic track.

Our lifestyles be close-captioned / Addicted to fatal attractions / Pictures of actions be played back in the midst of mashin’ / No fairy tales for this young black male / Some see me stranded in this land of hell, jail, and crack sales / Hustlers hardly think of culture / Or the repercussions while bustin’ on backstabbin’ vultures / Sellin’ my soul for material wishes, fast cars, and bitches / Wishin’ I live my life a legend, immortalized in pictures / Why shed tears? Save your sympathy / My childhood years were spent / Buryin’ my peers in the cemetery / Here’s a message to the newborns waitin’ to breathe / If you believe, then you can achieve; just look at me! / Against all odds, though life is hard we carry on / Livin’ in the projects, broke with no lights on / To all the seeds that follow me, protect your essence / Born with less, but you still precious; just smile for me now!

Fuck the world, as we elope and witness furious speeds / Unanswered questions keep us all stressin’, curious G’s / Backstabbed and bleedin’ / Crooked thoughts laced with weed, learnin’ / Duckin’ stray shots, bullets be hot, they burnin’ / Inhalin’ sherm smoke, visualize the flames / Will I be smothered by my own pain? / Strange whispers, cowards conversate, so quick to diss us / Takin’ pictures for the feds in desperate hopes they’d get us / Hit us off, give us plenty centuries / Forgive my sins, since I entered many penitentiaries / The best revenge is “Fuck friends!” / We military minded soldiers / Bustin’ shots blindly, tryin’ to find Jehovah / To help me, somebody save me, lost and crazy / Scared to drop a seed hopin’ I ain’t cursed my babies / Maybe now niggas feel me now, picture my pain / Embrace my words, make the world change / And still I smile, nigga…

23. Snoop Doggy Dogg - Nuthin But A G Thang (Dr. Dre / 1992)

snoop dogg california

A hugely influential  & timeless classic, this ‘G-Funk’ track and lead single off Dr Dre’s seminal The Chronic ushered in a new era in Hip Hop. It established West Coast dominance in rap, and it was the breakthrough moment for Dr Dre’s young protégé Snoop Doggy Dogg, who got to flex his unique flow and style with some legendary bars.

One, two, three and to the four / Snoop Doggy Dogg and Dr. Dre is at the door / Ready to make an entrance, so back on up / (‘Cause you know we’re about to rip shit up) / Give me the microphone first so I can bust, like a bubble / Compton and Long Beach together / Now you know you’re in trouble / Ain’t nothing but a G thang, baby / Two loc’ed out niggas, so we’re crazy / Death Row is the label that pays me / Unfadeable, so please don’t try to fade this (Hell yeah) / But um, back to the lecture at hand / Perfection is perfected, so I’ma let ’em understand / From a young G’s perspective / And before me dig out a bitch I have to find a contraceptive / You never know, she could be earning her man / And learning her man, and at the same time burning her man / Now, you know I ain’t with that shit, Lieutenant / Ain’t no pussy good enough to get burnt while I’m up in it / And that’s realer than Real-Deal Holyfield / And now you hookers and hoes know how I feel / Well, if it’s good enough to get broke off a proper chunk / I’ll take a small piece of some of that funky stuff

Falling back on that ass, with a hellafied gangsta lean / Getting funky on the mic, like a old batch of collard greens / It’s the capital S, oh yes, I’m fresh, N double-O, P / D, O, double-G, Y, D, O, double-G, you see / Showing much flex when it’s time to wreck a mic / Pimping hoes and clocking a grip, like my name was Dolomite / Yeah, and it don’t quit / I think they in the mood for some mothafuckin’ G shit…

22. Freddie Foxxx - Ruff Ruff (Boogie Down Productions / 1992)

mgid-uma-artist-mtv

One of the best tracks from the underrated Boogie Down Productions album Sex & Violence. The unsung Freddie Foxxx (a.k.a. Bumpy Knuckles) drops some dope rhymes to complement those of KRS.

Listen as I flex, cause I’m about to rip up shop / It’s the return of the hip-hop master, Freddie the Foxxx / (Bo!) Rappers that see me, don’t even speak, just walk / Cause I’m the maddest nigga in New York (hah!) / I see a rapper in the crowd that I don’t like / I wanna fight, so when I drop the mic / I’mma jump off the stage, bumrush your crowd to wimps / (suckers) that wanna be pimps / I heard it said that a pimp’ll sell his ass / If his ho won’t, but Freddie Foxxx don’t / Cover your chest G, you better wear a bulletproof vest see / Cause I’m about to leave this place a motherfuckin mess / Open hearts on the floor as I explore / Rappers that wanted to be more than number four / Number one’s a hard spot; either you fight / Or get shot, so this is what I got (BO!) / Three Tec-9’s, my uzi, ten grenades, my razor blades / And I aim to get PAID! / So who wanna step to this, don’t come soft / Cause I’mma straight up knock niggas off (POM! POM!) / And when the cops come to get me / I’mma take a dead body, and bout ten cops with me / I’m sick and tired of hearin rappers talk smack / About who’s nice, and who’s whack, MOTHERFUCK THAT / They know my style, and my rep, every stage / That I stepped on – I was the rapper they slept on / But y’all rappers keep sleepin – cause when I plant / Bombs in your house, I’mma wake you up and punch you / In your motherfuckin mouth, knock your wife out / Take your sons to safety, cause they’re just kids / And I wanna raise em to face me / And when they get a little bigga / I’mma mop them little niggas, and put their fingerprints / On the trigger — double homicide, call the vice / Another rapper and his family with no life / Yeah you’re Mr. Tough and, you’re full of stuff and / And Freddie Foxxx caught you bluffin / I got you in my torture chamber and you scream / Oh God damn, it’s like Silence of the Lambs / But I don’t mangle em and eat em / I take MC’s to the war zone, and there I defeat em / It gets much worse, with every verse / As the F-R-E-D-D-I-E F-O-X-X-X, HURTS! / Punishes, stomps, smashes, crushes, maims / You suckers know my name! / Aiyyo Kris! I’m rhymin long enough (say what?) / Get on the mic and get RUFF, RUFF…

21. LL Cool J - Rampage (EPMD / 1990)

t-ll-cool-j-mama-said-knock-you-out

One of the most recognizable EPMD tracks, with a sick beat and fire lyrics by Erick and Parrish and especially by guest rapper LL Cool J, who arguably brings his best ever bars as a guest.

The Ripper, the master, the overlordian / Playing MC’s like a old accordion / I get the inspiration from unnecessary station / Them sayin’ I was vacationin’ / You can’t quote with your weaker throat / Tryin to sneak a peek at how I freak the notes / Major MC’s become minor B-flats / So retire the mic, get your chains and your bats / Here’s your chance to advance, get in your stance / I shoot the holster off your cowboy pants / Pure entertainment, tonight’s your arraignment / You’re guilty – face down on the pavement! / No holds barred, it’s time to get scarred / You and your squad better praise the real God / The undertaker, droppin thunder on fakers / When it comes to lyrics I’m as freaky as Seka / So lay the mic down slow and careful / Cause mine is fully loaded and I got another handful / A clip to slip in and start rippin / Divin and dippin and givin punks a whippin (aww shit) / Just in case you wanna go a few rounds or so / I’m down so that you clowns’ll know / Me gettin burnt or hurt won’t be tolerated / I got rhymes up the huh – forget it I’m constipated – L!

20. Big Pun - John Blaze (Fat Joe / 1998)

BigPun

What can you say about Big Pun? Almost EVERY verse he dropped was memorable, on his own two albums or as a guest on someone else’s song. His bars on “The Symphony 2000”, The Beatnuts’ “Off The Books”, N.O.R.E.’s “Banned From TV”, Fat Joe’s “Fire Water”, Onyx’ “Shut Em Down” and many others could all have been included here. We chose to go with his verse on Fat Joe’s monumental posse cut “John Blaze”, on which Pun does not spit his most technical intricate rhymes but where he shows off the casual superiority that was so typical of the big man.

My crew puff lye, anyone test the Pun must die / Just give me one try / Now you know you done fucked up right / Hah, you ain’t got no wins in mi casa / Que te pasa, you ain’t even in my clasa / I hate an actor that plays a rapper / I’m Terror Squad beta kappa everybody’s favorite rapper / Grand imperial, college material, insane criminal / The same nigga who known to blow out your brain mineral / I reign subliminal inside your visual / Try to supply your physical with my spiritual side of this lyrical / I’ll appear in your dreams, like Freddie do, no kidding you / Even if I stuttered I would still sh-sh-sh-shit on you / Soon as I chitter chatter your shit’ll shatter / I’m the kid out of Bronx, that’ll stomp you to death like it didn’t matter / I’m even better than before, iller metaphors / Killers bet it all on Pun, cause one verse, dead em all…

19. Common - The Bizness (De La Soul / 1996)

Common_0382_re_web

From De La Soul’s perfect fourth album Stakes Is High, Common comes with one of the best guest verses he did, and he did plenty.

Do you wanna be a MC? Or do you wanna serve / Do you wanna be dope? Or do you wanna deal it / Fabricated acryllic, I feel it, I’m the style molester / I do a show get Extra P’s like the Large Professor / In fact I get more hoes than Tessa, peep game like a / Refa-ree in soul control of my / Desti-ny, in the best of, three out of five / Whip ANYBODY ass at NBA Live, rappers / Take a dive like Greg Louganis with his bitch-ass / Rather be in Bebe’s alley, than at the click with gators / Not a hater of the players, I’m more like a coach, or an owner / I Used To Love H.E.R., but now I bone her (ahuh-hah!) / At one point in rhyme I thought I lost my erection / But then I got it back with the Resurrection, blessings / Upon rhymes old man who called him traitor / Big Com Stradamus niggas styles I predict…

18. Black Thought - Super Lyrical (Big Pun / 1998)

Black Thought

One of the many highlights on Big Pun’s classic debut album Capital Punishment has two of the game’s best ever lyricists joining forces. Pun kills it as usual and so does The Roots’ lyrical giant.

Black Thought, the super lyricist, your arch-nemesis / Still with the Punisher, that’s my accomplice / Stressing to emcees how they don’t really want this / Electrifying shit his excellency Thought spit / These cats they sentimental such with a gentle touch / Dancing double dutch and all saying nothing much / My sound wave lifting your chin up, like uppercuts / New found ways of ripping shit up, I de-ve-lop / Your squad chest swell up, still you’re mini-ay-ture to me / Nature-ally I bring the extremity / Musically intense with the globe in suspense / Contemplating where the world traveler been since / The Roots bless you with a strong record, long like a epic / Immerse you in some old next shit, ill poetic / Thought from Illadelph, somethin’ like nothing else / My talk stomp like elephants upon every elf, ‘cause what?

17. Canibus - 4, 3, 2, 1 (LL Cool J / 1997)

canibusatamagerbio5-1024x732

The song is notable for starting the LL Cool J vs. Canibus feud, LL took offense to the lines, “L, is that a mic on your arm? Let me borrow that”, which referenced his tattoo of a microphone on his arm – and which Canibus claimed was his own way of showing the rap veteran respect – and wrote an indirect diss to Canibus:

“Now let’s get back to this mic on my arm / If it ever left my side, it’d transform into a time bomb / You don’t wanna borrow that, you wanna idolize / And you don’t wanna make me mad, n***a, you wanna socialize.”

Before the song was released, LL Cool J asked Canibus to change his lines. Canibus claims that LL vowed to modify his own lines as well, but the latter denied this and pointed out that nobody would know who he was talking about if only Canibus’ line was changed. Whatever the exact case, the beef between LL and Canibus began here. If you never heard Canibus’s bars BEFORE LL told him to rewrite his rhymes, check them out right here:

Method, where the gods at? Redman, where the squad at? / Yo L, is that a mic on your arm? Let me borrow that / Who’s the God of rap you saying is nice? / I’ll beat a dead nigga to death and beat a dead nigga to life / If you look at me long enough, I’ll start to read your thoughts / If the signal was strong enough and then I’ll call your bluff / Let’s see how many rhymes you got / I can go on for more Millenias than Mazdas got in a car lot / And there’s nowhere to run to, when I confront ya / Nigga, I’ll call your bluff like you had a phone number / Who wanna see Canibus get wild? / Who wanna act fly and get shot down with a surface-to-air missile? / I take them in all shapes, sizes, and forms, spit on / Any emcees who ain’t close enough to shit on / Zero to 60? I’m already doing a hundred when I’m blunted / And I give it to any nigga that want it / Your head will spin so fast, you’ll catch whiplash / I practice lyrical witchcraft on your bitch ass / Make your hard drive crash, the C colon backslash / And I’ll go back to the booth to school your whack ass / Because the object of the game is to spark every cell in your brain / At degrees hotter than blue flames / Propane gas, it incinerate you into ashes / I got you breathin’ harder than girls in Lamaze classes / Stop bitchin’ about if it’s written or freestyle / Got the whole Spanish community saying I’m muy mal / Charging niggas with booty styles $50 fines / In addition to $25 for whack punchlines / ’Cause I’m the top dog running the yard / And I represent cause I never chained to the fence / Hence to battle me is impossible / I’ll put your whole crew in the hospital with IVs all in their nostrils / Stop sleeping on me, I ain’t a mattress / Put you through more drama than a soap opera actress / Don’t even think about pulling out and opening fire / Gunshots wound but I remove bullets with pliers / I aspire to kick the fattest that you’ve ever witnessed / From a far side, that’s even confusing the fat lip / Rhymes designed from lines of pure knowledge / I’ll make your head nod ’til your neck runs out of cartilage / I think it’s obvious that I can bring the ruckus / Scream on your crew like a military drill instructor / When I come through, niggas stand stiller than statues / If I have to, I’ll battle your whole rap crew / Then I’ll attack you with words that’s absurd / And rip your fucking skin off just to get on your nerves…

16. Andre 3000 - International Player's Anthem (I Choose You) (UGK / 2007)

Andre 3000 OUTKAST

This semi-spoken word intro verse to UGK’s classic cut is among the best guest verses Three Stacks ever did – and he did A LOT.

So, I typed a text to a girl I used to see / Saying that I chose this cutie pie with whom I wanna be / And I apologize if this message gets you down / Then I CC’ed every girl that I’d see-seed ’round town / And hate to see y’all frown but I’d rather see her smilin’ / Wetness all around me, true, but I’m no island / Peninsula maybe, it makes no sense, I know crazy / Give up all this pussy cat that’s in my lap, no looking back / Spaceships don’t come equipped with rear view mirrors / They dip as quick as they can, the atmosphere is now ripped / I’m so like a pimp, I’m glad it’s night / So the light from the sun would not burn me on my bum / When I shoot the moon, high jump the broom / Like a preemie out the womb / My partner yelling, Too soon / Don’t do it! / Reconsider, read some liter- / -ature on the subject  / You sure? Fuck it / You know we got your back like chiroprac-tic / If that bitch do you dirty we’ll wipe her ass out in some detergent / Now hurry, hurry, go on to the altar / I know you ain’t a pimp, but pimp remember what I taught ya: / Keep your heart Three Stacks, keep your heart / Hey keep your heart Three Stacks, keep your heart / Man these girls is smart Three Stacks, these girls is smart Play your part…play your part….

15. Scarface - Mom Praying (Beanie Sigel / 2001)

scarface

Scarface is another one of those lyrical giants who literally has dozens of guest verses that deserve a spot on a list like this one. His ability to convey real emotion is second to none and his bars on Beanie Sigel’s “Mom Praying” are among his most poignant and heartfelt – a tribute to his mother who did not have long to live.

Don’t cry mama, your baby boy done weathered the storm / And I found peace right here in your arms / By the way, how you gettin along, huh? / I know it’s been tough bearing the pain since daddy’s been gone / But, all in all, you still stood tall and never shedded a tear / I’m thankin God you still here / Cause, only heaven knows all my heartaches and setbacks / Goin from a high school dropout to shovelin wet wax / I’m never gon’ forget that, look in your eyes / When you told me that my grandfather died / It was like nothing had happened, [naw] and I’m knowin that you miss him / But to accept death, is just the side of a good Christian / And I miss him, just words, and I lived it in life / And I take it step by step, but I take it in Christ / Cuz I’m knowin I can’t make it alone [uh, uh] / You told me not to buy you a new house because in heaven’s your home / And as hurt as I was, I had to smile witcha / And thank God that we crossed paths cuz you one strong sister / And I’m never gon’ forget ya / Heaven sent us an angel and the world gon’ miss ya… mama…

14. Rakim - Hoodlum (Mobb Deep / 1997)

rakim mobb deep

From the soundtrack to the 1997 gangster movie “Hoodlum”, this Mobb Deep track with regular collaborator Big Noyd and all-time legend Rakim is often overlooked, and that’s just wrong. “Ain’t nobody stopping this – Rakim and Infamous…” Rakim effortlessly drops his 16, full of internal rhymes and a few references to his own classics – there is a good reason why the R is called the God MC.

“Yo, you wanna come test, son it’s massive stress / Penalties of death, pay your last respects / We harass your rep if you slept or half step / We adapt to see what we can master next / After sex pass the bless for after effects / Relax through stress, do math and set, mad connects / Cash the check to get assets we blast techs / Dealing with the mental aspects in chess / So retreat your troops, if you Dunns come to shot / Get greeted by a twenty-one gun salute / I keep ’em leery of the deadly “7 MC” theory / Soon as they hear me, I release “Lyrics of Fury” / And quick to say a poem that ricochet in your dome / My clique made me leave the nickel-plated at home alone / So I can get the cheddar and be the better trend setter / The 18th Letter Forever, what…

13. Pharaohe Monch - Oh No (Mos Def / 2000)

PHAROAHE MONCH APPROVED PROMO IMG 1.07.15

Pharoahe Monch is one of the best emcees in the game and this is one of his most celebrated performances, part of the 2000 Lyricist Lounge album.

Very contagious raps should be trapped in cages / Through stages of wackness, Pharoahe’s raps are blazin / And it amazes – me how you claim thug / But go two-ways without Skytel pagers / I’m intellectual, pass more essays / Than motorcade police parades through East L.A / More beef then deli’s, thus what I vent is just / What you lust to vent, it’s irrele’ / Huh, hallelujah, Pharoahe Monch’ll do ya / Maintain the same frame of mind – screw ya! / Get the picture, sit ya, seat ya, greet ya with scriptures / I’m equipped to rip ya, reach ya / Pharoahe and Mos is verbal osmosis / Coast to coast, we boast to be the most explosive here / Ferocious, the lyrical prognosis / The dosage is leaving you mentally unfocused here / MC’s just come on ’round! / You’re the next contestants on “Catch-A-Beat-Down” / Don’t be hesitant, sound cracks the sediment / It’s evident we medicine for your whole town / Sky’s the limit, game’s infinite when I’m in it / All windows is tinted / How you seeing me when I’m in it? / Rap, we got it on lock man, stop that / Put that mic back down, boy, drop that / Pharoahe’s flows blows shows like afros / We hate y’all though, that’s why Nate Dogg goes…

12. KRS One - Classic (Better Than I've Ever Been) Remix (DJ Premier / 2007)

KRS-ONE

“Classic” is a Grammy nominated collaboration between Kanye West, Nas, KRS-One (and Rakim on the remix version), that is co-produced by Rick Rubin and DJ Premier. Rakim’s and Nas’ verses on this epic track are great too, but KRS-One takes the cake with a verse that summons up the man himself and the state of Hip Hop in 16 classic bars.

How many of y’all got Criminal Minded? / You, you, you; y’all don’t be blinded / Me, I got no jewels on my neck / Why? I don’t need ’em, I got your respect / KRS-One, twenty years I rock / I do it for JMJ and Scott La Rock / This hip-hop and we’s a nation / Don’t you wanna hear more KRS-One on your radio station? / Instead of broadcasting how we smoke them trees / On the radio we need to hear more local emcees / Where you at? C’mon, where you at? / This is the difference between emceeing and rap / Rappers spit rhymes that are mostly illegal / Emcees spit rhymes to uplift their people / Peace, Love, Unity, Havin’ Fun / These are the lyrics of KRS-One…

11. Big L - Yes, You May (Remix) (Lord Finesse / 1992)

58a661d6c1cab43f45e72603bdb23b5c.490x490x1

When Lord Finesse discovered a young kid rapping in the back of a record store, he immediately recognized the kid’s talent and ability – and invited him to do a track together – what followed is history.

It is Big L‘s first appearance on wax and he lays down a verse that is more than indicative of what he was capable of. Much like Lord Finesse himself, Big L immediately shows he is one of the best punchline rappers ever, with a natural and unbeatable flow.

Ayo everywhere that I go, brothers know my fucking name / I’m flooring niggas and I only weigh a buck and change / I gave a lot of black eyes in my extorting days / Fucking with me, a lotta niggas was sporting shades / I grab the microphone and scar jerks / Niggas running up (put me on!) what the fuck, is this star search? / I’m relieving rappers like sudafed / And if the microphone was smoke then Big L would be a buddha head / Ayo my crew’s real smooth like lopez / I was rocking mics since niggas was wearing pro keds / I only roll with originators / Chicks stick to my dick like magnets on refrigerators / I’m a crazy mean lyricist / Many are in fear of this, yeah, so they stand clear of this / And those that refuse the order, Big L bruise and slaughter / Niggas hear me and take notes like a news reporter / I’ll bend a rapper like a fender, I’m slender, but far from tender / Killing niggas like a klan member / You can’t touch this, your rhyme’s too darn weak, front and iI’ma introduce your brains to the concrete / I keep hoes satisfied, I’m pushing the fattest ride / To take me out, troop, even the baddest try / But they fell cause my techniques are liver / I’m so def I need a hearing aid with an equalizer / You tried to hit a home run but you struck out / My rhymes were released, I’d like to say peace the fuck out…

10. Notorious B.I.G. - Flava In Ya Ear Remix (Graig Mack / 1995)

the_notorious_big

This version of Craig Mack’s classic Flava In Ya Ear may just be one of the best remixes ever done. Biggie‘s verse is just sick, full of Quotables.

Uh, uh / Niggas is mad I get more butt than ash trays / Fuck a fair one, I get mine the fast way / Ski mask way, nigga ransom notes / Far from handsome, but damn a nigga tote / (What you tote) / More guns than roses, foes is shaking in their boots / Invisible bully like The Gooch / Disappear, vamoose, you’re wack to me / Take them rhymes back to the factory / I see the gimmicks, the wack lyrics, the shit is / Depressing, pathetic, please forget it / You’re mad cause my style you’re admiring / Don’t be mad, UPS is hiring / You shoulda been a cop, fuck hip-hop / With that freestyle you’re bound to get shot / Not from Houston but I rap-a-lot / Pack the gat a lot / The flav’s bout to drop uh…

9. Kool G Rap & Big Daddy Kane - The Symphony (Marley Marl / 1988)

big daddy kane kool g rap

Ok, this is cheating a bit, including two lyrical giants in this one entry – but since their verses are part of the same song, let’s run with it. Marley Marl’s “The Symphony” is THE ultimate posse cut, the standard by which all other posse cuts are measured. Marley Marl’s beat brilliantly interpolates Otis Redding’s Hard to Handle, Masta Ace and Craig G warm things up nicely, and Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane kill it with classic verses.

Kool G Rap: Yo, Marley gives the slice, I get nice / And my voice is twice as horrifying as Vincent Price / Goes deep, till you fell in a spell of a sleep / And while I’m countin’ the money, you count sheep / When G Rap strikes the mic, I recite the type of hype that you like / That make the people unite / I grip up hips and zip up lips, step on reps, you flip and wanna sip on my tip / Take a deep breath, because you don’t have another left / Comin’ back like I’m avengin’ my brother’s death / Makin’ veterans run for medicine / Cuz I put out more lights in a fight than Con Edison / Rip the damn cage like I’m on a rampage / So if you want rage, I’mma  make the front page / Read the headlines, suckers, today’s the deadline / Your head is way past bedtime / Can’t kill though, solo, cuz you’re still all soft like a pillow / My rap is rougher than Brillo / So fear me, don’t dare dare me / And don’t compare me to him when you hear me / Talk about a battle but you ain’t yet ready for war / Your metaphor sucks more than a whore / You can’t replace me, ice me or ace me / Bass me, face me, slice me or race me / Bite me or taste me, I’ll show you that I got force / My rap burns your mouth like hot sauce / Run for water while I break your tape recorder / Serve the sucker: the order is manslaughter / Another rapper, G Rap wrecks / He’s rated X, that means the boy is sex / Next the amplifier gets used and abused / Pumps so loud, we might blow a fuse / This is anger, madness, ready to hang a rapper or singer / I’m puttin’ up my middle finger…

Big Daddy Kane: Settin’ it off, lettin’ it off, beginnin’ / Rough to the endin’, you never been in / To move the groove with the smooth rap lord / Like a bottle of juice, rhymes are being poured / Down your ear, crisp and clear / As I prepare to wear, tear and smear — then I’m outta here / With a mark left that you can all cling / Cause rockin’ a party? Yo, it’s a small thing / I rip many places on regular basis, and broken down mics were the only traces / That I’d been there and there at the party / The mic had my prints, and on it was a body / So take caution, I’m not horsin’ around in a throwdown, clown / I’m takin’ yours son / So just acknowledge the way that I kicked it / Cause if rap was a house, you’d be evicted / And dismissed from the microphone, chokin’ on a bone, cause Daddy’s home / And battlin’ me is hazardous to your health / So put a quarter in your arse, cause ya played yourself / Like a game in the arcade. You need a far aid / I’m walkin’ the path that Allah made / I’ll attend and then begin to send a speech to reach and teach / So just say when / So I can let lyrics blast like a bullet / My mouth is the gun; on suckers I pull it / The trigger, ya figure, my pockets gettin’ bigger / Cause when it comes to money, yo, Grant’s my nigga! / You’ve got the groove, emcees, freeze, stand still, nobody move / It’s a sabotage, as I take charge, don’t barge, cause goddamn, I’m livin’ large / Like a giant, you’re nothin’ but a midget, a small digit / You ain’t hit it, forget it, quit it / I reign superior, always takin’ care o’ya / No-frill rappers, you will evaporate, disintegrate, deflate to your fate / As the great will dominate straight to the state / Of reignin’, gainin’. So put Kane in, that category / Period. End of story!

8. Inspectah Deck - Above The Clouds (Gang Starr / 1998)

InspectahDeck_620x320

One of the most creative and recognizable Hip Hop beats ever? Combined with stellar lyrical performances from Guru and especially Wu Tang Clan‘s wordsmith Inspectah Deck, this is not only one of Gang Starr’s best, but one of Hip Hop’s best tracks. Legendary.

I leave scientists mentally scarred, triple extra large / Wild like rock stars who smash guitars / Poison bars from the Gods bust holes in your mirage / And catch a charge, shake ’em down like the riot squad / Invade your zone, ruin like ancient Rome / I span the universe and return to Earth to claim my throne / The maker, owner, plus soul controller / Ayatollah, rest in the sky, the cloud’s my sofa / Stand like Collossus, regardless to whom or what / Numerous attempts at my life, so who to trust? / Who but us, to supply ya with the fire / The burning truth 150 Absolut proof / On the mic like Moses spoke in golden scribe / Survivor of the oldest tribe whose soldiers died / I notified families, we shed tears and mourn / But our hands are on the ammo cause the battle’s still on / Sound the horn, we come rumblin’ through the function / Precise laser beam technique to touch somethin’ / When we die hard, they’ll build a monument to honor us with / Humongous effect in the world, we could have conquered it…

7. Nas - Verbal Intercourse (Raekwon / 1995)

nas_sky

Just one of the highlights of Raekwon‘s masterpiece Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…. Great bars by Raekwon and Ghostface Killah, but it is guest emcee Nas who steals the show here, with an epic verse that’s up there with his best.

Through the lights, cameras, and action glamour glitters and gold / I unfold the scroll, plant seeds to stampede the globe / When I’m deceased, by then the beast arise like yeast / To conquer peace leaving savages to roam in the streets / Live on the run, police paying me to give in my gun / Trick my wisdom with the system that imprisoned my son / Smoke a gold leaf I hold heat, nonchalantly / I’m raunchy, the things I do is real it never haunts me / While funny style niggas roll in the pile / Rooster heads profile on a bus to Rikers Isle / Holding weed inside they pussy with they minds on the pretty things in life / Props as a true thug’s wife / It’s like a cycle, niggas come home, some’ll go in / Do a bullet, come back, do the same shit again / From the womb to the tomb, presume the unpredictable / Guns salute life rapidly, that’s the ritual…

6. Percee P - Yes You May (Lord Finesse / 1992)

perceepbw

A masterclass of multi-syllable rhyme schemes by one of the most underrated emcees in the game.

Like sulfuric acid I’m lethal, soon as my words reach you / They eat through brains of those that chose to speak to / I’m wiser and smoother, keep up or I lose you / When I maneuver words when I’m heard I confuse you, bruise you / I’m high potent, devoting much time into one rhyme / Every line of mine is worth quoting / I’m like a college dorm, people will swarm / For knowledge, applicants chill out and fill out a form / I know I’m the best MC, no one can mess with me / And my recipe, diss the P and you’re history / Percee P’s the man to praise / For days after a phrase is said, I’ll leave your head phased / No one can surpass the P, get on before or after me / That can be a catastrophe / Brains I kill when I build / With my skill, in my field cause I’m ideal / Foes I decompose from nose to toes / I will dispose of all of those that chose to go to my shows / You gotta hand it to me, you know I’m uno, a sumo doing Judo couldn’t do no damage to me / I stayed up later made up a rhyme straight up, I ate up yours / Sprayed up yours, cause get laid up / Thinking I’m a make it big, you rap fans know that / Prepare just to hear rap, and you snap your Kodak / Diss me, the P? That’ll be suicide / You no frills with no skills, I’ll just put you aside / Rappers I skin ’em, battles I win if I’m in ’em  / Befriend them, before I beat them I greet them then eat them, then send them / To go and hide, my lyrics coincide / And dwell all through your brain cells as soon as they go inside…

5. Eminem - Renegade (Jay-Z / 2001)

eminem_color_touch_by_mizicko705-d3blvpd

“Eminem murdered you on your own shit.” Although Jay-Z’s bars in this song are nothing to sneeze at either, there’s something to be said for the statement Nas made in his scalding Jay-Z diss “Ether”. On the only guest appearance on Jay-Z’s best album The Blueprint, Eminem steals the spotlight and delivers some of his best bars ever.

Since I’m in a position to talk to these kids and they listen / I ain’t no politician, but I’ll kick it with ’em a minute / ‘Cause, see, they call me a menace / And if the shoe fits I’ll wear it / But if it don’t, then y’all will swallow the truth, grin and bear it / Now, who’s the king of these rude, ludicrous, lucrative lyrics? / Who could inherit the title, put the youth in hysterics / Usin’ his music to steer it, sharin’ his views and his merits? / But there’s a huge interference / They’re saying you shouldn’t hear it / Maybe it’s hatred I spew, maybe it’s food for the spirit / Maybe it’s beautiful music I made for you to just cherish / But I’m debated, disputed, hated / And viewed in America as a motherfuckin’ drug addict / Like you didn’t experiment? Nah, nah / That’s when you start to stare at who’s in the mirror / And see yourself as a kid again, and you get embarrassed / And I got nothing to do but make you look stupid as parents / You fucking do-gooders
Too bad you couldn’t do good at marriage / 
And do you have any clue what I had to do to get here? / I don’t think you do / So stay tuned and keep your ears glued to the stereo / ‘Cause here we go, he’s { *Jigga j-Jigga*}  / And I’m the sinister Mr. Kiss-My-Ass, it’s just a… 

See, I’m a poet to some, a regular modern-day Shakespeare / Jesus Christ, the King of these Latter-Day Saints here / To shatter the picture in which of that as they paint me as / A monger of hate, satanist, scatter-brained atheist / But that ain’t the case, see, it’s a matter of taste / We as a people decide if Shady’s as bad as they say he is / Or is he the latter, a gateway to escape? / Media scapegoat, who they can be mad at today / See, it’s easy as cake, simple as whistling Dixie / While I’m waving the pistol at sixty Christians against me / Go to war with the Mormons, take a bath with the Catholics / In holy water, no wonder they tried to hold me under longer / I’m a motherfucking spiteful, delightful eyeful / The new Ice Cube, motherfuckers hate to like you / What did I do? I’m just a kid from the gutter making this butter off these bloodsuckers / ‘Cause I’m a muh’fuckin’…

4. Nas - Live At BBQ (Main Source / 1991)

nas01

The official debut on wax from a young Queensbridge emcee named Nasty Nas, with a brilliant and controversial opening verse to Main Source’s now classic posse cut “Live At The BBQ”.

Street’s disciple, my raps are trifle / I shoot slugs from my brain just like a rifle / Stampede the stage, I leave the microphone split / Play Mr Tuffy while I’m on some Pretty Tone shit / Verbal assassin, my architect pleases / When I was 12, I went to hell for snuffing Jesus / Nasty Nas is a rebel to America / Police murderer, I’m causing hysteria / My troops roll up with a strange force / I was trapped in a cage and let out by the Main Source / Swimming in women like a lifeguard / Put on a bulletproof nigga I strike hard / Kidnap the president’s wife without a plan / And hanging niggas like the Ku Klux Klan / I melt mics till the sound wave’s over / Before stepping to me you’d rather step to Jehovah / Slamming MC’s on cement / Cause verbally, I’m iller than a AIDS patient / I move swift and uplift your mind / Shoot the gift when I riff in rhyme / Rapping sniper, speaking real words / My thoughts react, like Steven Spielberg / Poetry attacks, paragraphs punch hard / My brain is insane, I’m out to lunch, God / Science is dropped, my raps are toxic / My voice box locks and excels like a rocket…

3. Busta Rhymes - Scenario (A Tribe Called Quest / 1991)

busta rhymes scenario

Probably one of the best known and most popular posse cuts in the history of Hip Hop. With his legendary bars on this track, Busta Rhymes pretty much laid the foundation for his solo career and stardom (and the end of The Leaders Of The New School).

Watch – as I combine all the juice from the mind / Heel up, wheel up, bring it back, come, rewind / Powerful impact (Boom!) from the cannon! / Not braggin’, try to read my mind, just imagine! / Vo-cab-u-lary’s necessary / When diggin’ in-to my library / Oh-my-gosh! Oh my gosh! / Eating Ital Stew like the one Peter Tosh / Unh! Unh! Unh! All over the track, man / Unh, pardon me, unh! As I come back / As I did it yo I had to beg your pardon / When I travel through the town I roll with the squadron / Roar, raow, like a dungeon dragon / Change your little drawers ’cause your pants were saggin’ / Try to step to this, I will twist you in a turban / And have you smelling ripe like some old, stale urine / Chickity Choco, the chocolate chicken / The rear cock diesel, butt cheeks, they were kicking / Yo, bust it out before the Busta bust another rhyme / The rhythm is in sync (Uh!) the rhymes are on time (Time!) / Ripping up the sound just like Horatio / Observe the vibe and check out the scenario…

2. R.A. The Rugged Man - Uncommon Valor (Jedi Mind Tricks / 2006)

r.a. the rugged man

Truly one of the most underappreciated emcees, R.A. The Rugged Man almost always drops incredible rhymes in his signature style. This verse is a standout by any standard. In “Uncommon Valor” R.A. The Rugged Man recounts the war experience of his father, highly decorated war hero Staff Sgt. John A. Thorburn – and does so in an unparalleled way

True story, call me Thorburn, John A., staff sergeant / Marksman, skilled in killing, illing, I’m able and willing / Kill a village elephant, raping and pillage a village / Illegitimate killers, U.S. Military guerrillas / This ain’t no real war, Vietnam shit / World War II, that’s a war, this is just a military conflict / Soothing drug abusing, Vietnamese women screwing / Sex, gambling and boozing, all this shit is amusing / Bitches and guns, this is every man’s dream / I don’t wanna go home where I’m just an ordinary human being / Special Op, Huey chopper gun ship, run shit / Gook run when the minigun spit, won’t miss / Kill shit, spit four-thousand bullets a minute / Victor Charlie, hair-trigger, hit it, I’m in it to win it / Get it, the lieutenant hinted, the villain, I been it / The killing, I did it, cripple, did it, pictures I painted is vivid / Live it, a wizard with weapons / The secret mission, we ’bout to begin it / Government funded, behind enemy lines / Bullets is spraying, it’s heating up a hundred degrees / The enemy’s the North Vietnamese, bitch please / Ain’t no sweat, I’m told be at ease / Until I see the pilot got hit, and we ’bout to hit some trees / Tail rotor broke, crash land / American man in Cambodia, right in the enemy hand / Take a swig of the Whiskey to calm us / Them yellow men wearing black pajamas, they wanna harm us / They all up on us; bang, bang, bullet hit my chest, feel no pain / To my left, the Captain caught a bullet right in his brain / Body parts flying, loss of limbs, explosions / Bad intentions, I see my best friend’s intestines / Pray to the one above, it’s raining, I’m covered in mud / I think I’m dying, I feel dizzy, I’m losing blood / I see my childhood, I’m back in the arms of my mother / I see my whole life, I see Christ, I see bright lights / I see Israelites, Muslims and Christians at peace, no fights / Black, Whites, Asians, people of all types / I must’ve died, then I woke up, surprised I’m alive / I’m in a hospital bed, they rescued me, I survived / I escaped the war, came back, but ain’t escape Agent Orange / Two of my kids born handicapped / Spastic, quadriplegia, micro cephalic / Cerebral palsy, cortical blindness – name it, they had it / My son died, he ain’t live / But I still try to think positive, ‘cause in life, God take, God give…

1. AZ - Life's A Bitch (Nas / 1994)

maxresdefault

Just one of the highlights of Nas’ legendary IIlmatic album which perfectly captures the essence of the young black males growing up with the prospect of violent death or being incarcerated looming over them. Nas kills it as usual with his verse, but it is guest AZ who steals this particular show with a killer verse of his own.

Visualizing the realism of life in actuality / Fuck who’s the baddest, a person’s status depends on salary / And my mentality is money orientated / I’m destined to live the dream for all my peeps who never made it /  ‘Cause, yeah, we were beginners in the hood as 5 Percenters / But something must’ve got in us / ‘Cause all of us turned to sinners / Now some resting in peace and some are sittin’ in San Quentin / Others, such as myself, are trying to carry on tradition / Keeping this Schweppervescent street ghetto essence inside us / ‘Cause it provides us with the proper insight to guide us / Even though we know, somehow we all gotta go / But as long as we leaving thievin’ / We’ll be leavin’ with some kind of dough / So, until that day we expire and turn to vapors / Me and my capers will be somewhere stackin’ plenty papers / Keeping it real, packing steel, getting high / ‘Cause life’s a bitch and then you die…

Written by

HHGA founder. Hip Hop historian. Avid reader. Proud dad. Marketing guy. Top 5 Golden Age MCs: Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, KRS One, Chuck D, Nas…

Scroll to top
Scroll to top