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Posse cut

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Posse cut

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Posse cut is a popular form of song in hip hop music, that involves successive verses by four or more rappers.

Posse cuts are arguably the original form of the hip hop track; in hip hop's infancy, tracks would more often than not take the form of a freestyle cypher, where one rapper would deliver a usually mostly improvised verse before passing the microphone to the next, with this repeated until all the rappers present (or, all of "the posse") had a chance to rhyme. Often call-and-response chants would be involved, which originally would be a chance for rappers to interact with a crowd, but which were preserved when the posse cut made the jump to the recorded form. Many classic early hip hop tracks, such as Afrika Bambaataa & the Soul Sonic Force's "Zulu Nation Throwdown", took the form of a posse cut.

The posse cut became established in the eighties as a way for rappers to give exposure to their friends, or their posse. However, towards the end of the eighties and the start of the nineties, the posse cut began to be used as an "All-Stars" device to bring together rappers who had respect for each other's skills on the microphone, or a way to unite various well-known and respected artists to deliver an important message. The former's most famous example from this period is "The Symphony", organized and produced by Marley Marl and featuring Master Ace, Craig G, Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane. The latter form, the posse cut with a message, was most famously seen in "Self Destruction", organized by KRS One's Stop The Violence movement, which brought together the leading hip hop artists of the day: KRS One, Stetsasonic, Kool Moe Dee, MC Lyte, Just Ice, Doug E. Fresh, Heavy D, Public Enemy and Ms. Melodie.

In the nineties, the posse cut began to gain a new function as a way to introduce new talent to the world. The most famous example of this was Nas, whose early appearance on Main Source's "Live At The Barbeque" in 1991 increased his reputation hugely and created enormous hype for his debut album, which was ultimately titled Illmatic and released in 1994. Busta Rhymes' appearance on A Tribe Called Quest's "Scenario" had a similar effect, though unlike Nas Busta already had a sizeable reputation prior to his appearance on the song. The group Wu-Tang Clan, who debuted in 1993, also popularized the posse cut considerably; with a group of nine rappers as well as countless associates, many if not most Wu-Tang tracks have four or more rappers. Some of their more famous posse cuts are "Protect Ya Neck", "Da Mystery Of Chessboxin" and easily the most commercially successful posse cut in history, the 1997 hit single "Triumph". It has now become fairly common practice for hip hop albums to have at least one posse cut.

Famous posse cuts

2Pac : "Got Ya Mind Made Up" featuring Method Man, Redman & Tha Dogg Pound (from All Eyez On Me, 1996)
Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic Force : "Zulu Nation Throwdown"
A Tribe Called Quest : "Scenario" featuring Leaders Of The New School; "Show Business" featuring Diamond D, Sadat X and Lord Jamar (both from The Low End Theory, 1991) ; "Rock Rock Y'all" featuring Mos Def, Jane Doe, Punchline & Wordsworth (from The Love Movement, 1998)#
Canibus : "Horsementality" featuring Killah Priest, Ras Kass & Kurupt (from 2000 B.C., 2000)
Craig Mack: "Flava In Ya Ear (Remix)" featuring Biggie Smalls, Busta Rhymes, Rampage & LL Cool J
Dr. Dre: "Some L.A. Niggaz" featuring Defari, Xzibit, Knoc-Turn'al, Time Bomb, King Tee, & Kokane (from Dr. Dre 2001, 1999)
Fat Joe: "John Blaze" featuring Raekwon, Big Punisher, Jadakiss & Nas (from Don Cartagena, 1996)
Heavy D: "Don't Curse" featuring Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, Q-Tip, Grand Puba, Pete Rock, and CL Smooth (from Peaceful Journey); "A Buncha Niggas" featuring Biggie Smalls, Busta Rhymes, Guru, Rob-O & Third Eye (from Blue Funk)
LL Cool J: "4, 3, 2, 1" featuring Method Man, Redman, Canibus & DMX (from Phenonemon, 1996)
Main Source : "Live At The Barbeque" featuring Nas, Joe Fatal & Akinyele (from Breaking Atoms, 1991)
Marley Marl/Juice Crew: "The Symphony" featuring Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, Craig G and Masta Ace (all of the Juice Crew) (1989)
Mobb Deep: "Eye For An Eye" featuring Raekwon & Nas; "Right Back At You" featuring Ghostface, Raekwon & Big Noyd (from The Infamous, 1996)
Nas: "Affirmative Action" featuring Foxy Brown, Cormega & AZ (from It Was Written, 1996)
Outkast : "Y'all Scared" featuring Goodie Mob (from Aquemini, 1999)
Redman : "Close Ya Doorz" featuring Roz, Tame One, Young Zee, D-Don & Gov-Matic (from Doc's Da Name 2000, 1998) ; "Bricks Two" featuring Double O, D-Don, Roz & Shooga Bear (from Malpractice, 2001)
The Roots : "The Session (The Longest Posse Cut In History)" featuring Shortie No Mass, Pazi Plant, Mr. Manifest, Lord Akil & A.J. Shine (from Organix, 1993)
Stop The Violence Allstars (KRS One, Stetsasonic, Kool Moe Dee, MC Lyte, Just Ice, Doug E. Fresh, Heavy D, Public Enemy and Ms. Melodie : "Self Destruction" (1989)
Sway & Tech: "The Anthem" featuring Chino XL, Eminem, Jayo Felony, Kool G Rap, KRS-One, Pharoahe Monch, RZA, TechN9ne, and Xzibit
The West Coast Rap All-Stars : "We're All In The Same Gang" featuring King Tee, Body & Soul, Def Jef, Michel'le, Tone-Loc, Above The Law, Ice-T, Dr. Dre, MC Ren, J.J. Fad, Young MC, Digital Underground, Oaktown's 3.5.7, MC Hammer, and Eazy-E.
Wu-Tang Clan : "Protect Ya Neck", "7th Chamber", "Da Mystery Of Chessboxin", (from Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), 1993) ; "Triumph", (from Wu-Tang Forever, 1997; most of the other tracks on this album are also posse cuts) ; "Protect Ya Neck (The Jump Off)", (from The W, 2001) ; "Uzi {Pinky Ring}", (from Iron Flag, 2002)

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