In hip-hop, fans and critics often marvel at and put a premium on the supreme soloists or groups who can craft classic songs and bodies of work while remaining the central figure. However, the most electric moments in the culture occur when multiple emcees collaborate on a track, with the sole purpose of asserting themselves as the most lyrically gifted by delivering an epic rhyme spill that outclasses the others. Throughout the years, the songs—generally referred to as "posse cuts"—have become some of the most memorable in the genre's history, with rap's most legendary stars teaming up on wax and bringing the most rabid of rap fans' fantasies to reality.
In celebration of these historic songs and what they mean to the culture, REVOLT TV presents 'Tale of the Tape,' a series that breaks down the greatest posse cuts of all time, and rank the verses from least impressive to most beloved.
In our first installment, we'll be revisiting the remix to Craig Mack's 1994 single "Flava in Ya Ear," which peaked at No. 1 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart and was the record that helped put Bad Boy Records on the map. Produced by Easy Mo Bee, "Flava in Ya Ear (Remix)" included an all-star lineup—with veterans LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes contributing verses, as well as fellow rap rookies like Flipmode Squad member Rampage and Mack's own Bad Boy labelmate, The Notorious B.I.G.—and would become one of the definitive rap songs of its era and help revolutionize the remix as we know it today.
Without further adieu, check out our ranking of the verses on "Flava in Ya Ear (Remix)."
5 | Rampage
Flipmode Squad member Rampage scored his first high-profile guest spot with his appearance on the "Flava in Ya Ear (Remix)," an opportunity the Brooklyn native made the most of, delivering a verse that stacks up well when compared with those of his more esteemed collaborators. Although Rampage's verse is the most overlooked and lacks the iconic quotables that the other verses on the song possess, The Last Boy Scout is by no means outclassed on this outing, as he goes bar-for-bar with some of the most legendary emcees of all time in admirable fashion.
Standout Lyrics: "Twenty-one, ninety-four, mad motherfucking hardcore / It's my time to burn, now explore / The flava in ya ear, it's The Boy Scout / I make outs, I make other rappers have doubts / You're fucking with the wrong clan and the wrong man, that's it / Now you got to get your dome split / I'm going into my knapsack with my gat / Take off my hat, yes I'm just cool like that."
4 | Busta Rhymes
When you think of Busta Rhymes, one aspect of his artistry that sets him apart from other rappers is the unbridled energy he's capable of bringing to a track, a gift that was on full display when the rhyme animal hopped on the "Flava" remix. The last spitter to appear on the track, Busta anchors the track with a rambunctious flurry of bars, but unlike his appearance on "Scenario," Busta does not take top honors this go-round. However, his verse is one that effectively completes the cipher on a high note and is as essential to the classic status of the "Remix" as any of the others.
Standout Lyrics: "Yo! Yo! Yo! Flavors in your ass crease, ha / Busta Rhymes about to bring the noise, don't cease, ha /Let me loose from the belly of the beast, ha / Everybody, hey hey hey! / You better believe it's Busta Rhymes the great / We 'bout to rip the Tri-State, yo, yo / Hey hey hey! I'll split your face and give you stitches / Throw niggas in ditches, slap the ass of fat bitches."
3 | Craig Mack
Having home field advantage on a remix can often backfire on an artist, but Craig Mack rises to the occasion on "Flava in Ya Ear (Remix)," upping the ante with a verse that's superior to those on the original. While most artists either rhyme first or last when playing host on a remix, Mack shakes things up by going second, setting the tone early with a string of punchlines and metaphors in what is regarded by many as the most impressive verse of his career.
Standout Lyrics: "It's been three years since you last hear / But now I reappear, your heart pumps fear /To your gut, did your girl's butt / I scraped it, shaped it, now she won't strut / I smash teeth, fuck your beef, no relief / I step on stage, girls scream like I'm Keith / You won't be around next year / My rap's too severe, kicking mad flava in ya ear."
2 | LL Cool J
The most tenured and acclaimed artist to lend bars to the "(Remix)" was LL Cool J, who was coming off of the release of 14 Shots to the Dome, which critics and fans deemed one of the more pedestrian albums of his career. Never one to be counted out, LL came back strong with his verse, introducing the world to the word 'blowticious' and turning in a rhyme spill that ranks among his most memorable from that era.
Standout Lyrics: "Hee-shee, uh, blowticious / Skeevee, delicious / Gimme couscous, love me good / Mmm, damn! Hollis to Hollywood, but is he good? / I guess like the jeans, uh! / Flavor like Praline, sick, daddy, nah'mean / Papa love it, when he does it / Niggas buzz it / But tell me, was it really just the flavor that be clogging your ears? / The most healthy behavior is to stay in the clear."
1 | The Notorious B.I.G.
Prior to the release of his own debut album Ready to Die, The Notorious B.I.G. put the rap world on to his skill with his verse on the "Flava" remix, one of the defining lyrical exploits of the rapper's career. Kicking off a posse cut comprised of elite talent can put the pressure on even the most cocksure emcee, but by the end of the song, it's clear that Biggie's verse separated him from the pack and put him in a class of his own.
Standout Lyrics: "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 / 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."
Revisit "Flava In Ya Ear (Remix)" below.
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