Friday, March 7, 2008

Top 10 Guest Verses of all Time

There's nothing worse than a plethora of featured artists ruining the flow of an album. However, on the flipside, there is also nothing better than a guest who just rips up a track. These performances really can boost an album, if used effectively. Consider it like having a good 6th man on the bench. You don't want him playing the whole game, but you want him to bring energy when required, to keep everyone on their toes. Who is the greatest artist at performing these feats (pun intended)? Probably Busta. That kat comes with energy and spits many of his best verses while featuring on tracks. But what are the greatest individual guest performances in the history of hip-hop? Here are ten that I think are ill, although of course everyone's list would be different. 2 Rules: no R&B jawns with female singers where a rapper is featuring to do the verse/verses; Ghostface appearing on a Raekwon track doesn't count as a guest verse.

1. Busta Rhymes (A Tribe Called Quest - Scenario)
This gotta be number one though, right? Everyone knows this verse. And not only was it hot, it was the first real introduction to many people of Busta Rhymes.
2. AZ (Nas - Life's a Bitch)
Again, everyone knows this shit. He just keeps flowing and spits knowledge after knowledge. For example: "In actuality, fuck whose the baddest / A person's status depends on salary" Oh, you flip-flopped the rhyme pattern in an illmatic way. That is fucking sick.
3. Ghostface (GZA - 4th Chamber)
An ill track, and an ill opening verse to it. "Why is the sky blue? Why is water wet? Why did Judas rat to the Romans while Jesus slept?" Who could forget that line? Or when he starts taking us through a history lesson, talking about the dark ages and Ghengis Khan and shit. This verse sets the tone, and the following verses live up to this first one. Mission accomplished.
4. Common (Blackstar - Respiration)
"It's deep, I heard the city breathe in its sleep / Of reality I touch, but for me it's hard to keep" And so ends one of the most amazing verses you'll ever hear. Common wraps up this classic song perfectly. Theres not much more to say other than that if you haven't heard this song you are fucking sleeping and should hear it prompto.
5. Dr Dre (Tupac - California Love)
Dre on a top 10 verses list? Word em up son. I put this here, cos it's hard to ignore. Everyone knows Dre's verse. There must be a reason. It is pretty ill. I don't care if it was ghost-written. Dre rides this beat expertly and really sets it up for Pac's 2nd verse assault.
6. Method Man (Notorious B.I.G. - The What)
You're the only guy to feature on one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all-time? You better fucking bring the goods. And there were no disappointments. Method Man probably showed Biggie up on this track, if anything...
7. Eminem (Jay-Z - Renegade)
Just like Eminem did on this track. It's just some incredible rhyming, all while really proving a point: fuck all ya'll hypocritical old cunts who lay blame at hip-hop (namely Eminem) for the world's problems. "And I got nothing to do but make you look stupid as parents / You fucking do-gooders: too bad you couldn't do good at marriage (ha-ha!)"
8. M Sayyid (Viktor Vaughn - Never Dead)
This is a great storytellin track. M Sayyid perfectly complements Viktor Vaughn's science-lab themed anecdotes. They tag-team their way through school bullies, time-travel and never-dead roaches in a short-story of epic proportions. And in the end, everything is just as it was at the beginning...my number 1 requirement for an ill short story.
9. Stricklin (Masta Ace - F.A.Y.)
This verse just makes you sit up the first time you hear it. "Wait, is he actually dissing himself? Did he just say the hip-hop lifestyle isn't all that? Um...is he admitting he is broke as fuck?" Yeah. He is. And it's refreshing. And Strick's style makes it all the more enjoyable to listen to.
10. Talib Kweli (Mos Def - Know That)
This is just tag-team fire right here. The beat is just begging for a guest to come and rip it up. And Kweli does just that. "MCs imitate the way we walk, the way we talk / you cats spit lyrically awkward, no spiritual thought / ...plus your flow a little bit off" That's just a line picked at random and it's fucking sick!

Wildcard 1: Nas & Lil Wayne (Rich Boy - Ghetto Rich (Remix))
This one is like double trouble. Or quintuple trouble...Polow da Don provides a stunning soundscape here, Rich Boy laces it quite nicely, John Legend croons out a beautiful hook...and then (on the remix) here comes Lil Wayne. It's one of them serious Weezy verses. "I could never never win an Oscar, cos I don't know how to act / Saw my first million dollars, and I don't know how to act / Then the second million came, then more came after that / then more came after that...hurricane after that...Dayum! / And ya'll saw the aftermath, and in my hood we don't front so I do give back..." etc. And then Nas has an ill verse that just fits the melancholy introspective beat so well. "Then the homies on the block with the stacks of money / Then these beautiful bitches was bending backwards for me / The lames put the rap game in the casket slowly [sound of casket closing] / Man I don't give a fuck...this is rap to me"
Wildcard 2: Outkast (UGK - International Playa's Anthem)
Both Andre and Big Boi bookend this UGK hit, and they both come with some great shit on this track. Andre is genius: "Then I CCed every girl that I'd see see around town." While Big Boi let's it rain on those ladies living nicely off child support: "Better prepare ya for the C support / She supposed to spend it on that baby but we see she don't...Send her in to outer space, I know he wish he could / Cuz he payin' 20K a day, that bitch is eating good"

3 comments:

royalbcd89 said...

Nice list... I agree with everything BUT:

#1 shouldv'e gone to Nas on "Verbal Intercourse"... disgusting....

But Em DID outdo Jay (duh) and as much as I know some people'll hate this last bit, Meth stole the show on The What

Steve said...

Yea bro, the reason I never do these lists is cos you'll never get it perfect. A few I can think that should be in there Eminem (Forgot About Dre), Nas (Verbal Intercourse) Canibus (Beasts From The East) Andre 3000 (What A Job) The Game (Anybody Killers). That's just off the top without thinkin about it. It's impossible.

Derz said...

word. "What a Job" Andre's verse on that is crazy good. but yeh there are a shit load to choose from...