I was having a delightful day of working from home, watching some light Netflix and browsing Twitter, when I stumbled upon “10 Most Disappointing Rap Posse Cuts From the Internet Age, Ranked.” I saw the picture of Kanye, T.I., JAY-Z, and Lil Wayne and thought, “Oh this will be scandalous but I’m sure I’ll agree with most of the picks here.”
Boy, was I wrong.
Let me be clear: I get Yoh’s logic. He’s saying that if you have rappers X, Y, and Z together on a song, there is a certain level of competition and bar quality to expect. My issue is that the lineups that Yohstradamus selected never actually suggested bar fights—they were always built from the ground up to be hit records.
To start out the conversation, let’s pick a song universally considered a disappointment: “Forbidden Fruit” by J. Cole featuring Kendrick Lamar.
The expectations for this track were high as rumors had been circling for years about a collab album between the two. The last time Kendrick rapped on a J. Cole beat, he created an anthem in “HiiiPoWeR.” Jermaine sampled the same “Mystic Brew” bassline that Q-Tip sampled on "Electric Relaxation."
On paper, this song should either be a bar-fest OR a smash. But we got neither. Instead, we received Kendrick struggle-crooning while J. Cole whined about temptation for what seemed like the hundredth time on Born Sinner.
Back to Yoh’s list. The majority of these songs were never supposed to be rip-roaring displays of rappability. They’re structured and written as hits.
“Fuckin’ Problems” by A$AP Rocky featuring Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and 2 Chainz was never going to be about the raps. Take Care Drake was impeccable but a label wasn’t (and still isn’t) forking out the cash for his verse for him to go all real hip-hop on us and write a multilayered verse in a double-time flow. They’re paying that verse fee to get their artist some attention and have a huge, chart-topping single.
Same goes for “I’m the One.” Justin Bieber isn’t going to sing the hook on a true, great hip-hop song. “Swagga Like Us” had Kanye, Jay, Wayne, and T.I. Great rappers but even better hitmakers.
On the other hand, you have “Marble Floors.” Who saw the lineup of French Montana, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, and 2 Chainz and thought, “This….this is the one.”?
DJ Khaled’s tried to sell us posse cuts of B-tier acts for years so (hopefully) we all had low expectations for this collab.
Looking back, songs like “Fuckin’ Problems,” “I’m the One,” “Swagga Like Us,” and “Forever” were ringing off at functions and got folks rapping along. Are these disappointing songs or were the expectations misaligned? I get wanting a rap flex from the guys involved but come on...we were never going to get that. Interestingly, Yoh’s picks for “Unforgettable Posse Cuts” were squads that I would expect to bring the raps, such as Slaughterhouse and Black Hippy.
Songs aging badly was referenced a few times. Disappointing implies that a song had high potential and fell flat upon release. “Deuces Remix,” “Forever,” and “Swagga Like Us” all felt right to me when they dropped, even if they aged like a jug full of spoiled milk left on a back porch in Mississippi.
I do agree on a few of the selections here. “Everyone Nose” always fell flat to me and the remix didn’t change that. “The Morning” had the potential to have great raps and instead we got a recycled Kanye verse that we’d heard four minutes earlier on “New God Flow.”
But overall, I think this piece turned its head on the fact that these poppy songs DID live up to their expectations. It’s just that those expectations were vastly different from the ones a lot of hip-hop heads had.
In closing, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a few posse cuts that I found disappointing:
- “Bed Rock” featuring Lil Wayne, Gudda Gudda, Lloyd, Nicki Minaj, Drake, Tyga, and Jae Millz. That shit made me sit through a whole Gudda Gudda verse to get to the Nicki and Drake features, at which point I let Lloyd sing the hook and promptly smash the skip button.
- “Don’t Look Down” by Kanye West featuring Mos Def, Lupe Fiasco, and Big Sean. Do you remember any bars off this record? Yeah….me neither.
- “Yamborghini High” featuring A$AP Rocky, Ant, Nast, Ferg, and Juicy J. Great opening track that’s worth a skip just based on the fact they attached a 2:14 long skit to the front of the song.
- “No Frauds” by Nicki Minaj featuring Lil Wayne and Drake. What was supposed to be a joyous reunion ended up sounding like a weekend at the in-laws.
Thank you for reading,