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, which are generally referred to as "posse-cuts" -- have become some of the most memorable in the genre's history, as rap's most legendary stars team up on wax and bring the most rabid of rap fans' fantasies to reality.
In celebration of these historic songs and what they mean to the culture, REVOLT presents "Tale of the Tape," our series where we break down the greatest posse-cuts of all-time and rank the verses from worst to first.
In our latest installment of the series, we'll be revisiting "Fantastic Four Pt. 2" from The Professional 2, DJ Clue's 2001 compilation album. At the time of its release, DJ Clue was widely recognized as one of the more powerful and influential DJs in hip hop, having had relationships with the biggest names in the game, including the artists featured on the track. A sequel to the original from Clue's 1998 debut The Professional, "Fantastic Four Pt. 2" found the DJ rounding up six of the most reputable rhymers out of New York, with Nature, Cam'ron, The L.O.X., and his own protege Fabolous joining forces on the track. Produced by famed engineer Ken "Duro" Ifill and DJ Clue, "Fantastic Four Pt. 2" is the rare sequel that can be argued trumps the original and is pound-for-pound one of the most lethal selections in The Professional series.
Without further adieu, check out our ranking of the verses on "Fantastic Four Pt. 2."
6 | Sheek Louch
Sheek Louch may not garner many headlines or fanfare among casual fans, but rap junkies are well aware of the unsung member of The L.O.X.'s tendency to play up to his competition while putting a track in a body bag. On this battle royal, Sheek Louch turns in a blistering, albeit efficient performance, running roughshod over the beat and leaving nary a bar to waste. Sandwiched in between his groupmates, Sheek provides a quick-strike verse that exemplifies the Yonker native's charismatic flow and ability to get off an explosive performance when at the top of his game.
Standout Lyrics: "Now I'mma give it to you straight cause I don't cop no pleas/Sheek Louch, a nigga who got lots of cheese/Wit enough coke to stand on and slide like ski's/And you could see your whole body on my H.R.E.'s/How you wanna do this shit, like the quick and the dead/So I could cock back and empty out the back of your head."
5 | Fabolous
This was one of Fabolous' first opportunities to test his sword against elite competition. Despite having made his debut appearance on wax nearly three years prior, the Brooklynite was still considered a rook at the time, which makes him being tasked with anchoring the track even more of an honor. While Fab's verse may have fell a bit short in comparison to others in terms of quotables or replay value, his performance would get rap fans even more familiar with his punchline-driven rhyme style, which would be showcased later that year on Lil Mo's hit single, "Superwoman Pt. II," as well as his own debut studio album Ghetto Fabolous.
Standout Lyrics: "Like ya don't know the kid stay hittin' benches with kay's of the cane / Leave strays sittin' inches away from your brain / In them grey kitted Benzes, I sway threw the lanes / Now the nays just sit and flinches when they see the chain / Ya might not never come out, my verses get heard / I'm a hustler, I don't sleep from the first to the third / Take a while to load the Cali, but the shots go quickly / Put red spots on your neck and they not no hickeys."
4 | Styles P
As the most abrasive member of The L.O.X., Styles P's verses often come with an ample amount of violence and nihilism, which is the case with his appearance on this NYC-centric posse cut. The first of his L.O.X. brethren to bless the track, The Ghost shows a total disregard for the flossy raps of his contemporaries, making it clear that he's more impressed by his criminal record and being in the company of men of respect. Relying on the power of the tongue, while warning of the power of the gun, Styles P plays enforcer and pummels the track with a no-frills performance that may not trump that of his cohorts, but is menacing enough to catch the listener's full attention and make a memorable impression.
Standout Lyrics: "Keep talkin' 'bout convertibles / And your ice, I'ma smack you, yap you and murder you / Keep talkin' 'bout your dawgs is this / And you leavin' out the part that your dawgs is bitch / Let's get straight to the point, ain't a nigga better than me / I'm aggravated and I'm fed to the T / If I gotta do joints and I'm sittin' for five / When you reminisce about me, say the nigga was live."
3 | Jadakiss
A mainstay on posse cuts during the latter half of the 1990s, Jadakiss' feature on this meeting of the minds is another indication of his standing as arguably the most sought-after spitter in rap, from a lyrical standpoint. Picking up the baton passed from his fellow L.O.X. members, Jadakiss caps off the group's appearance with a stanza that includes a number of bars that will leave you marveling at just how raw he really is. In the end, Jadakiss fails to lap the field with this exhibition, but proves his chops as an otherworldly MC are as good as advertised.
Standout Lyrics: "Look it ain't much to talk about, fuck you / Fuck where you from, you better wear your gun / Won't shoot nothin', but you will appear in court / I put your brains everywhere so you could share your thoughts / Few hot shells outta the chrome / Will leave you there, with a funny smell like gun powder cologne / Listen, everything's about the Kiss, the new dope out / Sky blue CL 6 with the new poke-outs."
2 | Nature
Making his debut as part of the New York supergroup The Firm, Nature staked his claim as one of the premier lyricists out of the five boroughs during the late 90s, dropping a plethora of show-stealing verses alongside some of the most respected and successful artists in the game. In 2001, the Queens native added to his legend with this performance, setting the tone with a stanza that includes references to current events, as well as cocksure boasts about his prowess on the mic. Catching his bounce from the opening bar, Nature raises the stakes with this introductory verse, which outshines all but one of his co-stars' performances and serves as a reminder of his reputation as a formidable collaborator.
Standout Lyrics: "Piranhas, the crib sicker than Madonna's / Gettin' more press then Elian Gonzalez / Some niggas tell me I'm the hottest, I never cool off / Criticize the shit I write, but it's never too soft / Snatch channels like I'm Disney, half grizzlie / Unexplain, when niggas see me they duck, hopin' I pass quickly / Someone to laugh wit' me, get acquainted /They know exactly when a nigga's famous or livin' dangerous."
1 | Cam'ron
After a pedestrian showing on the first "Fantastic 4," Cam'ron proves that performance was an aberration with this redeeming rhyme spill on the sequel. Comparing and contrasting the bondage of slavery with the material trappings of a rap star, the irony is evident and one of many layers that makes this particular verse from the Harlem rep so masterful. Cam'ron litters the track with drug-related punchlines and musings on his dealings with the opposite sex, making his portion of the track as topically diverse as it is entertaining. Having more air time than other artists may have granted him a competitive advantage, but nonetheless, Cam'ron makes the most of his time, laying down a string of rhymes that reign superior to those of his peers.
Standout Lyrics: "Back in the day we was slaves, whips and chains / It's tradition, all I got whips and chains / All I did, flip some cane, now a nigga sick of the range / Only a new six could fix the pain / Look at all these goosebumps 'round my wrist and veins / Milton Bradley wanna get my game / 5-0 wanna frisk my frame, I don't deal wit' cheap blow / When I shoot, no block, sort of like a free throw."
Revisit "Fantastic Four Pt. 2" below.
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