Video Vault: 5 Underappreciated ’90s Posse Cut Videos
Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)
There’s nothing more fun than a good rap posse cut, right? I mean, when you look at an album’s tracklist, and you see a bunch of your favorite rappers featured on the same song, you know that as much as you want to let the whole album ride start to finish once you get your hands on it, you’re probably going to skip ahead and listen to that song first. It’s inevitable. And of course, it’s always a blast to argue with fellow hip-hop fans about who had the dopest verse on the song.
With the holidays now in full swing, we thought we’d take the opportunity to highlight some of the underappreciated moments when rappers joined forces family-style with a special Video Vault collection. Sure, there’s been tons of talk about “Scenario” recently after A Tribe Called Quest’s shows in New York on the Yeezus tour, and it wouldn’t be that shocking if you saw the “Flava in Ya Ear (Remix)” or “I Shot Ya (Remix)” videos during an MTV Jams throwback set. But in our opinion, even with appearances and production by some of the greatest hip-hop artists of all-time, these five posse cut clips don’t get enough shine. Check out 5 classic, yet underappreciated, ’90s rap posse cut videos below.
1. Heavy D ft. Kool G Rap, Grand Puba, CL Smooth, Big Daddy Kane, Pete Rock, and Q-Tip “Don’t Curse” (1991)
Heavy D put together a helluva lineup for his Peaceful Journey posse cut, led by his cousin Pete Rock (who also produced the track), and featuring fellow Mount Vernon rapper CL Smooth, Q-Tip, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, and Grand Puba. For 1991, this is about as much Big Apple star power as a song could handle, but of course there was a catch—no one was allowed to curse! And everyone nailed it, without coming off corny either. Fun video, too. RIP Heavy D.
2. MC Serch ft. Nas, Red Hot Lover Tone, and Chubb Rock “Back to the Grill (1992)
Nas’ breakthrough verse on “Live at the Barbecue” should not be confused with his appearance of MC Serch’s group effort “Back to the Grill,” though he raps about similar themes on both. On “Live at the Barbecue,” Nas claims that when he was twelve “he went to hell for snuffin’ Jesus,” and on “Back to the Grill” he spits, “I’m waving automatic guns at nuns.” But one difference is that “Back to the Grill” had a music video, and “Live at the Barbecue” didn’t, although it’s the more praised of the two. So enjoy, as Nasty Nas rocks alongside Serch for his Return of the Product posse cut with Red Hot Lover Tone and the massively underrated Chubb Rock.
3. The Notorious B.I.G., Coolio, Redman, Ill Al Skratch, Big Mike, Busta Rhymes, Buckshot, and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony “The Points” (1995)
There’s plenty of big names on this Easy Mo Bee-produced Panther soundtrack gem, and from the moment Biggie’s opening verse starts, “I went from construction Timbs to Acs with rims/Flipping mixtapes to bitches feeding me grapes,” you know it’s gonna be a banger. Add tough verses by Redman and posse cut killer Busta Rhymes, plus appearances by everyone from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony to Coolio to Buckshot, and you’ve got a full-fledged ‘90s rap smorgasbord of flavor. This kind of reminds us of those Thanksgiving dinners where you have all your in-laws and random cousins sitting at one table vibing with each other, like an extended hip-hop family moment. RIP BIG.
4. D&D All-Stars ft. DJ Premier, Mad Lion, Doug E. Fresh, KRS-One, Fat Joe, Smif N Wessun, and Jeru the Damaja “1, 2 Pass It” (1995)
Led by DJ Premier on the beat, “1, 2 Pass It” a ridiculous roster of New York rap stars, many who frequented D&D Studios to collaborate with Preem, or even just hang out and kick it on the reg. They don’t make joints like this anymore, though it would be dope if all the NYC rappers who are out now came together to make one long-ass posse cut. “1 Train” deserves a shout, but that had cats from all over the country on it. New York needs a monster track with all its local heavy hitters representing together. Someone tell Action Bronson to make that happen, we bet he could round everyone up. He seems to be cool with all the major players in the new New York.
5. Lord Finesse ft. Sadat X, Large Professor, and Grand Puba “Actual Facts” (1996)
Lord Finesse’s The Awakening album had some hard collabos on it, like “Brainstorm” with KRS-One and O.C., and “Actual Facts” with Brand Nubian bros Sadat X and Grand Puba, and the great Large Professor. The video is set up like a jazz nightclub performance, with people sitting down watching the foursome go in on stage, rocking the old school microphone with their fresh verses. Check for Fat Joe on the upright bass, Diamond D on the trap set, and KRS-One on the keys, plus other ill cameos by Big L and more. Damn this shit knocks.
*Bonus* EPMD ft. K-Solo and Redman “Head Banger” (1992)
We were on the fence as to whether this incredible Hit Squad posse cut video was properly appreciated or not. We certainly love it, but we don’t hear it enough on the radio, or see the video on TV or the web that much. So we figured, fuck it, we’ll throw it in as a bonus, just to keep it in the mix, even if people think it does get enough props. It can always get more! Plus, it’s more of a true-to-form posse cut, like a Fab 5 “Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka,” whereas the joints on this list are more collaborations with artists that represent different camps or have varied affiliations. But every list needs something a little extra, so just press play and bang your head to this.
Previously: Video Vault: 5 Classic Snoop Dogg Performances of Doggystyle Songs | Video Vault: 10 Classic Showtime at the Apollo | Video Vault: The Top 20 Rap Videos of 1993 | Video Vault: 5 Classic Wake Up Show Freestyles | Video Vault: 5 Pre-Reasonable Doubt Jay-Z Videos | Video Vault: 7 Classic Smack DVD Clips