African Hip Hop Posse Cuts You Should Know About.
Posse cuts were made popular during the early 80s/90s by the likes of Masta Ace, Puff Daddy and Marley Marl.
It typically features four or more rappers rhyming over a beat with short or no hook at all. Posse cuts originally started as a way of showcasing group talents or promoting members of the same label on a track – the art form has since evolved from compliemtary to MCs trying to out rap each other with competitive bars, whilst hip hop fans argue over who they think had the sickest lines or verse.
Posse cuts can be refreshing when orchestrated around a theme, but can also be disinteresting when you have about 8 different rappers showing off with no regard for time. We know you have a lot to say but always try to keep it brief.
Posse cuts have birthed some of hip hop’s most celebrated tracks and verses due to its competitive nature. Most posse tracks are like cyphers as rappers try to win the hearts of rap fans with intricate verses and mesmerizing flows.
Some of hip hops biggest posse cuts include Marley Marl’s “The Symphony,” A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario,” “Triumph” by Wu-Tang Clan, Master P’s “Make ‘Em Say Uhh!,” and Odd Future’s “Oldie.”
Let’s switch the focus to Africa. What are some of the continent’s biggest and most memorable hip hop posse cuts?
We’ve taken a look at 14 of the best African Hip Hop posse cuts. There are countless epic African hip hop posse cuts that deserve to be mentioned, especially once you start digging back into the early 00’s. But the essence of most of my articles is to start conversations and ensure African hip hop history remains in discussions.
If your favorite posse track didn’t make the cut, let us know in the comments section below.
Sarkodie Feat. TeePhlow, Medikal, Strongman, Koo Ntakra, Donzy & Pappy Kojo “Trumpet” (2016)
If Sarkodie made a XXL Freshman styled class most of these guys would be on the list. The veteran Ghanaian rapper tapped some of his country’s most promising young rappers at the time for a lyrical showcase. “Trumpet” which was laced by Hip hop producer, Fortune Dane features AMG rapper Medikal, Pappy Kojo, TeePhlow, Strongman, Koo Ntakra and Donzy.
Each MC took turns tooting their horns, while staking their claim as to why they’re up next. I can argue Medikal had the strongest verse among the lot, but you won’t agree with me so let’s leave it at that.
Best Verse: Medikal.
Clara T, Payne Killah, Lady Killah, Static Flow, Ghetto Lyricist, Ash, Lubar, Assessa “Ladies Night” (2014)
Female rappers don’t handle competition so well and hate being pitted against each other so there’s a shortage of female rap collaborations. That crazy fact alone makes this track worthy of immortalization. Producer Mbzet brought out the girls for a special ladies Night and they all ate.
The women sounded like they had several points to prove with each artist rising to the occasion showcasing impressive lyricism and rhyme schemes.
Best Verse: All Of Them.
Optical Illusion featuring Reason, X-Rate, Mothipa, Landmarq “Watch What You Say” remix (2013)
Words have consequences. Just in case you weren’t paying attention the first time, Optical Illusion re-ups with a remix of their informative, yet intimdating single, Watch What You Say.
Battlecat sets the tempo with his opening verse, While Reason breathes some aggression into the track with his ridicule raps. The ever-underrated Golden Shovel had another impressive show in, but I find Mothipha’s verse particularly insightful. “Choose your words wisely cause you never really know who buys the music half the time.”
Best verse: Mothipa
Proverb, Naeto C, Nazizi, HHP, Zeus & Cybil Knight “All Around The A” (2009)
An A-list cast of some of the continent’s finest MCs. Nazizi from Kenya, Naeto C from Nigeria, Proverb from South Africa, Zeus from Botswana and the late GOAT HHP went all around the A in search of the continent’s next gifted MC to pass the mic to.
The track served as an introduction to Botswana MC Cybil Knights, who won the second edition of Sprite and Channel O’s Emcee Africa – a continent-wide freestyle/battle competition.
The show unfortunately lasted only two seasons with Teeto Ceemos from Nigeria and Knight emerging winners of their respective seasons. Each winner walked away with $10,000, including a single and video deal.
Both rappers failed to leave up to the expectations proving the old saying that freestyle rappers aren’t usually good music makers. What’s more Ironic is Cybil, who they passed the mic to had the weakest verse.
Best verse: HHP
Sarkodie Feat. FreQuency, Lyrical Joe, Tulenkey, Kofi Mole, Toy Boi, Yeyo, Amerado, 2 Fyngers, OBKAY & CJ Biggerman “Bibii Ba” (2018)
Sarkodie’s selflessness and willingness to put on for the lesser-known names is part of why he’s regarded as one of the greatest of all time.
On “BiBii Ba” Obidi once again puts on for the new generation of Ghanaian rappers by giving them a bigger platform to showcase their talents.
The track is essentially an ode to the hustle. In spite of the lack of a rap verse from Sark, Bibii Ba remains a memorable Ghanaian posse cut.
Cashtime Fam “Stundee (Shut It Down)” (2012)
K.O is still so young that sometimes it’s easy to forget how long he has been doing it for. Stundee (slang for “standard”) was a showcase track to promote the artists on Cashtime Fam including Kid X and Smashis. Every member of the group represented, but it was newcomer Smashis that turned heads and made us look with his pedophile flow.
Best Verse: Smashis
Riky Rick Feat. DJ Dimplez, Kwesta, Maggz, Ginger Breadman, Nadia Nakai and Okmalumkoolkat “Amantombazane” Remix (2014)
Amantombazane is one of the most popular South African rap remixes and it featured a relatively unknown Nadia Nakai at the time. As the sole female rapper featured on the track, she held her own with the fellas and represented for the ladies. Despite breaking hearts with her raunchy verse (“Baddest chick in my mirror that’s looking my reflection/All my exes want the box like it’s the election.”) Kid X had the better flow, while Maggz continued his impressive feature run with a solid opening verse.
Best Verse: Maggz
Nutty Pin Feat. Jaffar, Ruggedman, Abounce, Noga, Intruder, Hankuffz, Dr. Fresh, C-More, Mode 9, Basket Mouth, and Black Face. “Livin It Up” (2003)
Nigerian hip hop in the early 00’s was magical. Nutty Pin rounded up ten of Nigeria’s hottest MCs (mainstream and underground) and err… Basket Mouth for a classic African hip hop posse cut that celebrates hip hop’s roots (the hood.) Each MC took turns putting on for their boroughs with short but potent bars, however Hankuffz upstages them all with a surreal verse that plays around with his name. It’s just a shame he never quite lived up to it in the resulting years.
Back then this track didn’t seem like much but looking back at it now it was a monumental moment for hip hop in Nigeria. They don’t make em like this any more.
“What I’m about to bring to you right now, is something you’ve never witnessed before.” Nutty Pin says in the song’s intro. He was right.
DJ Switch Feat. Shane Eagle, Proverb, Kwesta & Reason “Now Or Never” (2016)
“Now Or Never” is one of the more recent and popular posse cuts. DJ Switch did a madness when he brought some of South Africa’s most notable emcees Proverb, Shane Eagle, Kwesta and Reason for a track that addressed the lack of authenticity in SA hip hop. The song quickly became an anthem breeding several remixes and covers but nothing topped the original.
The battle rap themed video pitted the featured rappers against each other for a head to head clash. “What happened to rap?” Shane Eagle asks on the hook.
There isn’t a weak link here, but no bar hits harder than Proverb’s provocative call to action – “If like me you’ve heard enough. Then we should build a bonfire of all their tracks and burn ’em up.”
Best Verse: Proverb
Fecko Feat. Khaligraph Jones x Dominant-1 x The Holstar x Raiza Biza “Real African Poetry 2.O”
One posse cut I think didn’t get enough recognition is Real African Poetry 2.0. Fecko enlisted some of the continent’s most underrated emcees; Malawi’s Dominant-1, Zambia’s Holstar and Rwanda’s Raiza Biza as well as Kenyan rap legend Khaligraph Jones for the sequel to his pan-African single R.A.P. (Raw African Poetry).
The track produced by Teck-Zilla may not be the flashiest on the list when it comes to popularity, but it’s certainly one of the most impressive in terms of lyricism. Listening to this now and it’s astonishing to see how far these artists have come with their careers.
Best Verse: Dominant-1
Zubz Feat. Tumi, Mawe2, H2O, ProVerb, Golden Shovel & Kay-do “Heavy 8” (2004)
Featuring some of South A’s earliest elite lyricists. “Heavy 8” is for the spitters, old heads and the fans addicted to unabashed lyricism and intricate wordplay. Every MC sounds iconic on this, which was expected, but no one matches the fluidity of Optical Illusion’s Golden Shovel.
Best Verse: Golden Shovel
Da Trybe “Oya” (2003)
One of the most iconic African hip hop posse cuts of all time in terms of how it mashes fluid lyricism with a commercially appealing chorus. Memorable, catchy, fun and considered too raw for tv/radio at the time. Eldee released “Oya” as a way of promoting the illustrious artist on his trybes record label. Every member of the group bounce off one another effortlessly, as they took turns rapping over the melodic beat.
A large percentage of the artist featured on this track ended up playing pivotal roles in creating what ended up being mainstream Nigerian hip hop.
Choosing a standout verse for this was difficult because I feel like they all rapped at a telepathic level, but if I’m to pick one then I’m going with Blaise just because she started the track strongly.
Best verse: Blaise
DJ Jimmy Jatt Feat. Blaise, Sasha, Kemistry & Bouqui “Too Much” (2007)
The eleventh track off DJ Jimmy Jatt’s The Definition album brought together some of Nigeria’s most exciting female MC’s at the time for a boastful and charismatic collaboration. At this point in her career Blaise was operating from another planet. She delivered an opening verse so mortifying that what followed next were mere formalities. “Mortal Kombat celebrity. I never just finish, I end with brutality.”
You can choose to debate all day about who went the hardest, (Heads up: It wasn’t DJ Jimmy Jatt), or you can just enjoy the track for what it is.
Best Verse: Blaise
Teargas, HHP & Liquideep “Born For This” (2011)
This track isn’t about lyricism and probably doesn’t belong on this list, but I find it memorable because every artist is having so much fun with their verse. K.O had another memorable lyrical outing (“All white swagger, clean as a nurse”), but Liquideep’s moral boasting chorus is the highlight of the song.
Best Verse: Liquideep