Hip Hop: The 50 Best Guest Verses of All Time (Full List)

The 50 Best Guest Verses of All Time (Full List)

best guest verses of alltimeThe guest verse holds a legendary level of importance in hip-hop. It’s often through featured appearances that new stars are minted and current ones reassert their dominance. The spirits of competition and collaboration are both essential to rap music, and on no occasion are they more at play than during a guest verse.

Over the years, we’ve witnessed no shortage of excellence features. Nearly 20 years ago, AZ earned a career from his scene-stealing efforts on Illmatic. Flash forward to the turn of the most recent decade and you have Nicki Minaj doing the same on G.O.O.D. Fridays standout, “Monster.” Then there are moments like Jay-Z, at the top of his game, owning comrade Memphis Bleek’s “Is That Your Chick?” Quite simply, it’s always exciting to hear a talent shine outside of the confines and comfort of their own solo work.

After some careful consideration, we’ve come up with a list that highlights hip-hop’s finest guest appearances ever. Remember the first time you heard Eminem on “Forgot About Dre”? We’re talking about moments like that. Here’s to rap’s commitment to rewind-worthy features. These are the 50 Best Guest Verses of All Time.

50. Lupe Fiasco on Kanye West’s “Touch the Sky” (2005)

50. Lupe Fiasco on Kanye West's "Touch the Sky" (2005)

Album: Late Registration
Producer: Just Blaze
Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

Lupe skates (zing!) onto the third verse of Kanye’s Curtis Mayfield remake, apparently determined to throw in as many double entendres and obscure metaphors as possible in keeping with his reputation as an inventive and eclectic lyricist. With everything from fencing references (“En garde, touché”), Thundercats puns (“I’m trying to stop ‘lion’ like I’m Mumm-Ra”), and Manga name-drops (“Lupe steal like Lupin the 3rd”), Lupe wisely offsets the geek factor by weaving in a gun punchline and a some porn star talk.

49. Ludacris on Lil Jon’s “Bia Bia” (2001)

49. Ludacris on Lil Jon's "Bia Bia" (2001)

Album: Put Yo Hood Up
Producer: Lil Jon
Label: TVT

Luda’s tribute to getting effed-up and rowdy really brings out the best of the bass-heavy Lil’ Jon beat. After setting off proceedings with some “attitude enhancements” (“pour up the Henn and Coke and fire up that dro”), Luda launches into an all-encompassing couplet that proves to be more effective than most MC’s entire verses: “I clock the hoes, lock do’s and drop the ‘bows/I rock the shows, pop lock and knock ya nose!”

48. Clipse on Birdman’s “What Happened To That Boy” (2002)

 48. Clipse on Birdman's "What Happened To That Boy" (2002)

Album: Birdman
Producer: The Neptunes
Label: Cash Money

When the Birdman needed some raps about that pushing that white, who else was he gonna call but the best in business? Malice and Pusha T transformed the art of d-boy talk to new heights with their debut long-player, and they continue to cook like Gordon “Effin'” Ramsey for this Neptunes beat. Pusha’s opening bar is menacingly cold: “Another soul lost/Had to make a shirt match my ox blood-colored Porsche.” With more ultraviolence than a screening of Scream, the Thornton brothers effortlessly body this guest spot and dump it in the river.

47. Inspectah Deck on Gang Starr’s “Above The Clouds” (1998)

 47. Inspectah Deck on Gang Starr's "Above The Clouds" (1998)

Album: Moment of Truth
Producer: DJ Premier, Guru
Label: Noo Trybe, Virgin, EMI

The Rebel INS was the master of the hard-hitting guest spot when DJ Premier and the Guru invited him to drop jewels for this Moment of Truth burner. Over a majestic beat, Deck attacks the mic with his “precise laser-beam technique,” spitting vivid verbal imagery that spans the globe with well-aimed darts covering astral travel, biblical references, overzealous rock musicians, and talk of failed assassination days.

The Rebel concludes with, “When we die hard, they build a monument to honor us with/humongous effect on the world, we coulda conquered it!”—serving as a reminder to the days when it felt like mighty Wu-Tang Clan really were going to rule the entire planet.

46. Percee-P on Lord Finesse’s “Yes, You May” (1991)

 46. Percee-P on Lord Finesse's "Yes, You May" (1991)

Album: Return of the Funkyman
Producer: Showbiz
Label: Giant

The Rhyme Inspector Percee-P absolutely annihilated both of his features on Lord Finesse’s criminally-underrated sophomore release, and was duly awarded the highly-coveted “Rhyme of the Month” in The Source magazine back when it actually meant something. Having first encountered each other after their infamous street battle in 1989, complete with the Funkyman sporting a Tim Burton-era Batman T-shirt and an ice cream truck parking beside them halfway through with its tune blaring, Finesse was suitably impressed to invite Perc to appear on his next project.

Forget that writing the rhyme in the studio technique, the bars Percee unleash here are clearly the result of weeks of precise development and refinement. Not a single word or breath is wasted as he deconstructs our understanding of how advanced the art of Brag Rap can really get. Taking multi-syllable rhyme schemes to new heights, Perc warns: “Foes I decompose from nose to toes/I will dispose of those that chose to go to my shows,” paving the way for the mindblowing verbal armegeddon that artists such as Big Pun would deliver in the following years. Percee-P’s the man to praise, indeed. Bronx science never sounded better.

45. John Forte on The Fugees’ “Cowboys” (1996)

 45. John Forte on The Fugees' "Cowboys" (1996)

Album: The Score
Producer: Fugees, John Forte, Jerry Duplessis
Label: Ruffhouse, Columbia

Before he was arrested with $1.4 million worth of liquid cocaine at the airport in 2000 (and released in 2008 courtesy of a pardon from George W. Bush), John Forte was serving heat with the Refugee Camp and working at Rawkus Records. His contributions to “Cowboys” from The Score was an impassioned street narrative that began: “When pandemonium strikes, and midnight hits/Full moon splits soft nigga’s into lunatics on some absurd shit.”

Forte plays the finisher to the innings, granted the longest verse of the track and spitting with focus and intensity as he reps BK to the fullest.

44. Pharoahe Monch on Street Smartz’s “Metal Thangz” (1996)

 44. Pharoahe Monch on Street Smartz's "Metal Thangz" (1996)

Album: N/A
Producer: DJ Ogee
Label: Tru Criminal Records

Truth be told, all three participants in this 1997 B-side burner impress here, as O.C., F.T., and the Pharoahe all wreck shop. It’s Monch, however, who goes the extra mile as he spews intellectual fury at all weak-minded competition, warning that “My basements an arrangement of different torture devices/That slices, the first niggas who think they are the nicest.”

Pondering his path in the music game, he informs us that “the road I’m on is kinda narrow/Plus there’s a fork in the shit and I don’t know which way to go,” before painting a visual picture of the apocalyptic aftermath of his verbal attack and finishing with a now out-dated technology reference. Mommy, what’s a fax?

43. Paul Wall on Mike Jones’ “Still Tippin'” (2004)

 43. Paul Wall on Mike Jones' "Still Tippin'" (2004)

Album: Who Is Mike Jones?
Producer: Salih Williams
Label: Asylum, Swishahouse, Warner Bros

Paul Wall is not only a poster boy for stand-up Rapper Husbands/Fathers (if that VH1 special is anything to go by) and diamond grill piece specialist, he also broke a fourth wall of sorts when he boasted that he “had the Internet going nuts,” which gave every rap blogger and forum troll an excuse to pat themselves on the back and feel like they really were a “unique snowflake,” (word to Fight Club references). Part Swishahouse promotional jingle and part “ballin’ outta control” statement, Paul Wall closes Mike Jones’ biggest record with a bang.

42. Common on De La Soul’s “The Bizness” (1996)

 42. Common on De La Soul's "The Bizness" (1996)

Album: Stakes Is High
Producer: De La Soul
Label: Tommy Boy

Riding high off the triumph of his second album, which had seen Common blossom from an overexcited, squeaky-voiced Chicago MC into a confident and accomplished wordsmith, he sounds quite at home trading bars with the high-brow rhyme masters Pos and Trugoy.

Peppering his spot with a variety of witty sports references—both virtual (“I’ll whip anybody’s ass at NBA Live) and Olympic (“rappers take a dive like Greg Louganis”), Com isn’t afraid to offer a critique of his own past performances: “I used to love H.E.R., but now I bone her/At one point in time I thought I lost my direction/But then I got it back with the Resurrection.”

41. Scarface on Jay-Z’s “This Can’t Be Life” (2000)

 41. Scarface on Jay-Z's "This Can't Be Life" (2000)

Album: The Dynasty: Roc La Familia
Producer: Kanye West
Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

Brad Jordan was a decade ahead of his time when he dropped Mr. Scarface Is Back, a record that far surpassed it’s Shotgun Rap origins with descriptions of depression and an entire narrative written from the perspective as a ghost. His contribution to Jay-Z’s mournful “This Can’t Be Life” is nothing short of heart-breaking, as he opens himself up and wears the pain of this open wound on his sleeve.

You can hear the raw emotion in his voice as ‘Face details the loss of a close friend’s son, fighting back the tears with each bar, before he explains that, “I could’ve rapped about my hard times in this song/But heaven knows I would’ve been wrong.” Just another example of why Scarface is one of the greatest rappers of all time.

40. Eminem on 50 Cent’s “Patiently Waiting” (2003)

 40. Eminem on 50 Cent's "Patiently Waiting" (2003)

Album: Get Rich or Die Tryin’
Producer: Eminem
Label: Aftermath, Shady, Interscope

Eminem manages to cover all the bases in this dominating guest spot from Get Rich Or Die Tryin’. He brags about his Shady Records power moves (“Y’all know what time it is as soon as 50 signs on this dot”), compares himself to rap legends (“Take some Big and some Pac and you mix them up in a pot/Sprinkle a little Big L on top, what the fuck do you got?”), and throws in a typically tasteless finisher (“Shady Records was eighty seconds away from the towers/Some cowards fucked with the wrong building, they meant to hit ours”).

The only problem is that Em rocked his verse so hard that it makes 50 sound almost amateurish by comparison.

39. Big L on Lord Finesse’s “Yes, You May (Remix)” (1992)

 39. Big L on Lord Finesse's "Yes, You May (Remix)" (1992)

Album: N/A
Producer: T-Ray
Label: Underboss Entertainment

The original version was incredible, yet somehow Finesse managed to deliver a remix that was even iller. Over T-Ray’s raw new beat (which he later admitted wasn’t even the finished version), the devestating microphone techniques of Big L were first exposed to the world.

L took the Lord Finesse punchline formula and pushed it to the next level, repping flow and content in equal measures and keeping listeners poised at the rewind button (for all you tape deck kids). Explaining that “I’ll bend a rapper like a fender, I’m slender/But far from tender, killing niggas like a Klan member,” L. Coleman presented a finely-tuned verse that references all the Brag Rap staples, but with content and delivery that seemed light-years ahead of the competition.

It was clear from this point that the standard had been raised again from this brash young Harlem MC who, in the immortal words of fellow D.I.T.C. member A.G., was “hungry enough to grow fangs.”

38. T.I. on Bone Crusher’s”Never Scared” (2003)

 38. T.I. on Bone Crusher's"Never Scared" (2003)

Album: AttenCHUN!
Producer: Avery Johnson
Label: So So Def, Arista

T.I.P. demonstrates that he’s not above dropping a heartless line or two when he snarls, “I’ll choke yo ass out like Dre did that bitch” in reference to Andre Young’s attack on host Dee Barnes at the height of the NWA/Ice Cube feud.

From there, T.I. proceeds to detail his eagerness to send folks to the intensive care unit if they dare stepping to him. The Della Reese reference is the final warning that you don’t wanna be headed towards the pearly gates, else you have to watch re-runs of Touched By An Angel for eternity.

37. R.A. The Rugged Man on Jedi Mind Tricks’ “Uncommon Valor: A Vietnam Story” (2006)

 37. R.A. The Rugged Man on Jedi Mind Tricks' "Uncommon Valor: A Vietnam Story" (2006)

Album: Servants in Heaven, Kings in Hell
Producer: Stoupe
Label: Babygrande

Informing us that he’s telling a true story, R.A. goes above and beyond the call of duty by delivering the gut-wrenching tale of his uncle’s experiences fighting in Vietnam, managing to rock it with a cutting-edge flow that’s equally as gripping as the narrative. Pointing out that “This ain’t no real war—Vietnam? Shit/World War II, that’s a real war, this is just a military conflict.” Our narrator goes on to muse “Bitches and guns? This is every man’s dream/I don’t wanna go home where I’m just an ordinary human being.”

The appeal quickly fades after his unit gets wiped out before his eyes and wakes up back home in a hospital bed to face the consequences of Agent Orange. An undeniable masterpiece of content and delivery from the guy who once made a song called “Cunt Renaissance” with Biggie Smalls.

36. Pusha T on Kanye West’s “Runaway” (2010)

 36. Pusha T on Kanye West's "Runaway" (2010)

Album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Producer: Kanye West, Emile, Jeff Bhasker, Mike Dean
Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

Any song that includes the term “douchebags” in the hook is automatically pretty great to begin with —but wait, there’s more! Following Kanye’s hilariously twisted verse, Pusha relays a conversation with a young lady based on the following premise: “I did it, alright, alright, I admit it/Now pick your next move, you could leave or live with it,” before explaining that, “Every bag, every blouse, every bracelet/Comes with a price tag, baby, face it.” Game laid down, quite flat.

35. Ras Kass on Ahmad’s “Come Widdit” (1994)

 35. Ras Kass on Ahmad's "Come Widdit" (1994)

Album: Street Fighter OST
Producer: King Tech
Label: Priority

Spare a thought for Ahmad, who got completely bodied on his own shit by not one but both of his guests on this gem from the Street Fighter soundtrack. Ras Kass easily steals the show, as he lets-off a high-octane mind spray worthy of East Coast brainiacs Organized Konfusion.

Boasting of “an adamantium skeleton like Wolverine,”, Ras “vocabulary spills” what can only be described as “crack for rap nerds” in a verse that packs in the terms “prehensile,” “receptacles,” and “toxic melanin” with enough style to make it digestible to even the most book-shy of listeners.

Never one to hold back, Kass concludes this verbal massacre by announcing that “I’ve come back twice like Christ to resurrect the West.” Hadouken!

34. Lil Kim on Mobb Deep’s “Quiet Storm” (1999)

 34. Lil Kim on Mobb Deep's "Quiet Storm" (1999)

Album: Murda Muzik
Producer: Havoc, Jonathan Williams
Label: Loud, Columbia

Opening with a quote from MC Lyte’s landmark “10% Diss,” the Queen Bee goes to town over this blood run cold instrumental, serving-up a show-stopping cameo that reasserted her self-appointed position as the “baddest bitch” in the rap game. Proving that she could could hold her own without the Midas-touch of Biggie’s pen, Kim goes in on all the rap dames who are “coming into this game on some modeling shit.” Queens-Brooklyn connection in full effect.

33. Jay-Z on Memphis Bleek’s “Is That Your Chick?” (2000)

 33. Jay-Z on Memphis Bleek's "Is That Your Chick?" (2000)

Album: The Understanding
Producer: Timbaland
Label: Get Low, Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

Jay makes like Biggie on “Notorious Thugs” as he out-raps double-time MCs with their own style. Dropping three verses so heartless that they make Too $hort sound like a sensitive new age guy by comparison, Jay completely dominates proceedings as he informs us that “the boys from the Roc got the whores on lock,” while bragging of swinging back-seat episodes with “your bitch” and reminding himself to “put the rubber on tighter” so she can’t “have my kids and say it was yours.”

32. Ghostface Killah on Raekwon’s “Criminology” (1995)

 

Album: Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
Producer: RZA
Label: Loud

Ironman performs armed robbery on this song, as he attacks this “militant” RZA track with the ferociousness of a starving pitbull. Packing more threats of physical violence than an M.O.P. song, he promises to “jux a brother,” “send your ass back into the essence,” and “throw niggas off airplanes,” while simultaneously weaving in Five Percent mathematics and Wu Slang Democracy into a murderous package of verbal pugilism. This performance showcases Tony Starks at the peak of his “punch you in the face just for living” period, when he was known for terrorizing toy rappers just as brutally as he disciplined the microphone.

31. LL Cool J on EPMD’s “Rampage” (1990)

 

Album: Business as Usual
Producer: EPMD
Label: Def Jam, RAL, Columbia

Erick Sermon explained the back story of this classic in March: “Russell Simmons told LL Cool J to get with EPMD…he came to us and got his swagger back…then came out with Mama Said Knock You Out and the album was phenomenal.”

Since Erick was at home sick during the original recording sessions, there are several versions of this track in existence, allowing LL and PMD to verbally spar. Inspired by the spirit of healthy competition, Uncle L pushes himself into top gear and dishes out a barrage of subliminals at his hosts (“you and your Squad better praise the real God”), rebuttals to his naysayers (“sayin’ I was vacationing”), shots at old foes (“I shoot the holster off your Cowboy pants,” aimed at Kool Moe Dee), and references to 80’s porn stars (“When it comes to lyrics, I’m as freaky as Seka!”).

What more could you possibly ask for from a rap cameo spot? Slow down, baby.

30. Cappadonna on Ghostface Killah’s “Winter Warz” (1996)

Album: Ironman
Producer: RZA
Label: Razor Sharp, Epic Street, Sony Music

30. Cappadonna on Ghostface Killah's "Winter Warz" (1996)
Having been thrown into the deep end for his post-jail appearance on Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Cappadonna blacked out for this Ghostface single and forever earned his stripes as a first tier Wu-Tang Clan MC.

Cappa was an influential part of Staten Island’s hip-hop community, as Ghostface explained: “You would walk down the block you would see Cappa, man. Fresh to death, a mouth full of gold teeth, always rhymin’, sayin’ somethin’ slick out his mouth. He had character. He was labeled the Slick Rick of Staten Island ’cause that was his thing. He was a adventurous type of brother, I mean he could rhyme about anything! That’s what brother’s loved about him.”

His performance here fulfills that promise, as he touches on multiple topics during this extended stream-of-consciousness verse.

29. Lord Finesse on Trends of Culture’s “Off & On (Remix)” (1993)

 29. Lord Finesse on Trends of Culture's "Off & On (Remix)" (1993)

Album: Trendz…
Producer: Lord Finesse
Label: Mad Sounds

In the wake of his impressive second album, Lord Finesse went on a cameo rampage of sorts, providing outstanding guest spots for Mesanjarz of Funk, Bas Blasta, Ground Floor, Diamond D, and Illegal. The best of the bunch was the his contribution to the “Freestylin’ Mix” of Trendz of Culture’s debut single, where he demonstrates just how sharp his lyrical sword had become by 1993.

This is Brag Rap personified, as the Funkyman states that he’s “The vigilante, my style’s uncanny/Fuck a Grammy, now girls hold on to your panties,” simultaneously declaring his commitment to underground hip-hop and sending “bitches home naked.” Just when you think the verse is winding down, Finesse ups the ante and goes in even harder. “It’s the mack of the year, so clap and cheer/’Cause it’s clear that I’m here to end motherfuckers’ careers!” Bronx bombing at its finest.

28. Kool G Rap on Mobb Deep’s “The Realest” (1999)

 28. Kool G Rap on Mobb Deep's "The Realest" (1999)

Album: Murda Muzik
Producer: The Alchemist
Label: Loud, Columbia

Following a quiet period in his career, the Kool Genius of Rap went on a run of jaw-dropping features that generated such a buzz that Rawkus Records signed him to what was rumoured to be a million-dollar deal. His appearance with fellow Queens representatives Mobb Deep was the crowning jewel of this magnificent run. Utilizing an understated-yet-brilliant loop from the Alchemist, G Rap attacks the mic like a pitbull, constructing a dizzying depiction of Gun Talk that flows flawlessly and leaves the listener breathlessly trying to keep up.

Never before have threats of emptying a clip into somebody approached such lofty heights of poetic perfection as G gets on some H.G. Wells shit: “My nine’ll seem like it’s a time machine, be seeing deju/Jackin’ you more than Ripper, my Fifth’s an organ shifter/The human organism lifter, you’ll be hearin’ organs if ya/Leavin’ orphans if ya let these Fours hit ya where the Lord split ya.”

Performances of this caliber lend further weight to the argument that Kool G Rap is one of the greatest rappers of all time, as his rhyme styles influenced everyone from Big L to Nas.

27. Eminem on The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Dead Wrong” (1999)

 27. Eminem on The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Dead Wrong" (1999)

Album: Born Again
Producer: Chucky Thompson, Mario Winans, Sean Combs
Label: Bad Boy

One of the few redeeming features of the Born Again project is that Eminem does a fine job of sticking to the twisted concept of Biggie’s original ’93 track on the updated version of “Dead Wong.” Covering bestiality, dismemberment, cannibalism, and murder by reason of insanity (hardly new ground for Slim Shady), Em executes his trademark multi-syllable rhyme technique with such assuredness that he manages to survive sharing the stage with the King of New York and walk away with his dignity intact, a feat which very few MCs can lay claim to.

What Marshall’s verse may lack in shock-factor (at least in comparison to B.I.G.’s brutal bars) is more than compensated for by the seemingly effortless delivery and A-list flow.

26. Big Noyd on Mobb Deep’s “Give Up the Goods (Just Step)” (1995)

 26. Big Noyd on Mobb Deep's "Give Up the Goods (Just Step)" (1995)

Album: The Infamous
Producer: Q-Tip, Mobb Deep
Label: Loud

Rapper Noyd carried on his tradition of playing his position as the ultimate wild-card goon within the Mobb Deep crew, a position he’d previously established on Juvenile Hell, only this time he upped the ante to match the quality of the new and improved beats.

Offsetting the nonchalant delivery of Hav and P, Noyd’s energetic outbursts are as exhilarating as they are unnerving, hinting at a volatile individual just waiting for some herb to try to test him. These two bars sum up his M.O. rather succinctly: “Composer of hardcore, a lyrical destructor/Don’t make me buck ya, I’m a wild motherfucker!” Nuff said, thun.

25. Canibus on LL Cool J’s “4, 3, 2, 1″ (1997)

 25. Canibus on LL Cool J's "4, 3, 2, 1" (1997)

Album: Phenomenon
Producer: Erick Sermon, LL Cool J
Label: Def Jam

Before the battle notebook and bath salts, Canibus demanded the attention of the rap world by delivering a venomous Brag Rap verse that raised the ire of Uncle L with the line “L, is that a mic on your arm? Let me borrow that.” An overly-sensitive LL took the line as diss, prompting him to go at ‘Bis in his verse and demand that his guest re-record his part, minus the offending intro.

The original verse, running at 1:54, was such a blistering display of verbal warfare that it’s somewhat understandable why LL only left a portion of it on the final version, seeing as though it was his song. But even in its abridged format, Canibus ushered in a new era of super-scientific madness that made rap veterans like Cool J resemble rhyme dinosaurs by comparison.

24. 50 Cent on Game’s “Hate It Or Love It” (2005)

 24. 50 Cent on Game's "Hate It Or Love It" (2005)

Album: The Documentary
Producer: Cool & Dre, Dr. Dre
Label: Aftermath, G-Unit, Interscope

Back when Curtis spent most of his time rapping, he could effortlessly steal the spotlight on whatever track he decided to jump on. Here he provided Game with the hit he needed to make a name for himself, setting off proceedings with an uncharacteristically vulnerable tale of why life as a shorty shouldn’t be so rough.

The opening reference to his bisexual mother grabs our attention, while a well-placed Rakim reference and mention of having his bike stolen further wins 50 the sympathies of the listener, leaving us hoping he returns for another verse, which never happens. Talk about stealing the show!

23. The Notorious B.I.G. on Jay-Z’s “Brooklyn’s Finest” (1996)

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Album: Reasonable Doubt
Producer: DJ Clark Kent
Label: Roc-A-Fella, Priority

Harking back to the recording of “Raw” that saw Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap going to toe-to-toe at the top of their game, “Brooklyn’s Finest” allowed the reigning King of New York to tussle with his immediate successor for this audio document of “friendly” rap rivalry.

Biggie dominates proceedings as you might expect, absolutely murdering every one of his four-bar spots: “Fuck fist fights and lame scuffles/Pillowcase to your face make the shell muffle/Shoot your daughter in the calf muscle.” Intense.

22. Nature on Noreaga’s “Banned From T.V.” (1998)

 22. Nature on Noreaga's "Banned From T.V." (1998)

Album: N.O.R.E.
Producer: Swizz Beatz
Label: Def Jam

This NYC all star posse cut from Noreaga’s third LP opens with a remarkably self-assured performance from Nature, who was relatively new to the game despite his inclusion on The Firm album.

Over the space of his allocated bars, the Wild Gremlin shares a highly self-descriptive verse detailing his walk (“thugged out orthopedic”), height and weight (“6’1″, weigh a buck 70″), appearance (“I get pussy with my father’s features”), only neglecting to include details of his star sign and any possible food allergies.

Throw in some threats of random violence and a hunger to rip the mic wherever and whenever required, all delivered in Nature’s distinctive cadence, and you’ve got yourself a quality vintage QB cameo.

21. Drake on Rick Ross’ “Stay Schemin” (2012)

 21. Drake on Rick Ross' "Stay Schemin" (2012)

Album: Rich Forever
Producer: The Beat Bully
Label: Maybach Music Group, Def Jam, Warner Bros.

There’s nothing like another established rapper taking shots at you to make you step your bars up. In this case, Common apparently ruffled Drizzy’s feathers sufficiently to provoke lines like: “It bothers me when the Gods get to acting like the broads” and “Nowadays niggas reach just to sell they record.”

Not to get too caught-up in subliminals, he still manages to reference Kobe Bryant’s marital woes, random fine dining experiences, and gossiping groupies, before delivering the final blow to all the non-believers out there: “I’m just hitting my pinnacle, you and pussy identical/You like the fucking finish line, we can’t wait to run into you.”

20. Method Man on The Notorious B.I.G.’s “The What” (1994)

 20. Method Man on The Notorious B.I.G.'s "The What" (1994)

Album: Ready To Die
Producer: Easy Mo Bee
Label: Bad Boy

Tical could do no wrong in 1994, and he was rewarded with the sole cameo spot on Ready To Die for his efforts. Who else could hold their own sharing the booth with rhe Black Frank White? Method Man mastered that fine balance between charasmatic lady killer and blunted rhyme maniac, making him the ideal candidate for B.I.G. to recruit for a track on his debut.

With lines like “Cold booty like your pussy in December,” and a stack of quotables that would later become hooks for other rapper’s tracks, Meth later complained that it took him over two months to chase down Puff to get his meager $2,500 appearance fee.

19. 2Pac on Scarface’s “Smile” (1997)

 19. 2Pac on Scarface's "Smile" (1997)

Album: The Untouchable
Producer: Scarface, Mike Dean, Tone Capone
Label: Rap-A-Lot

Of the seemingly endless posthumous Tupac appearances, this collaboration with the legendary Brad “Scarface” Jordan was perhaps his most haunting and introspective, as Pac muses about being “addicted to fatal attractions,” before asking, “Somebody save me/Lost and crazy, scared to drop a seed hopin’ I ain’t cursed my babies.”

Not only did “Smile” provide Scarface with his only Top 20 Billboard hit, it also served as a respectful farewell dedication to rap’s most influential figure of all time. “Maybe now niggas feel me now, picture my pain/Embrace my words make the world change, and still I smile.” Looks like Makaveli had the last laugh after all.

18. UGK on Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin'” (1999)

 18. UGK on Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin'" (1999)

Album: Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter
Producer: Timbaland
Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

It’s fair to say that this track provided the first exposure to the work of Pimp C and Bun B for a number of late-pass rap listeners. Bun proceeds to go all out as he details how he’ll steal ya hoe, name checks the Drag Boys’ iconic “Drag Rap (Triggerman)” and does his best to encourage literacy amongst vocab-deficient competitors.

Never a crew to shy away from indulging in the occasional expedition into Ignorant Rap territory (“Pregnant Pussy,” anyone?), UGK were even able to coax the usually reserved Jay-Z into spitting what he later recanted as something an “animal” might say. Ah, politics as usual.

17. Snoop Dogg on Dr. Dre’s “Deep Cover” (1992)

 17. Snoop Dogg on Dr. Dre's "Deep Cover" (1992)

Album: Deep Cover OST
Producer: Dr. Dre
Label: Epic

A young Snoop Dogg in his prime, when he was but a young pup (hence the extra “Doggy” in his name), was more concerned with merking narcs than coaching Little League football. His debut appearance for the soundtrack of the (pre-Laurence) Fishburne cop flick of the same name ushered in a new era of nickel-slick Gun Talk Rap from L.A.

Set against Dre’s gruff delivery, Snoop’s silky smooth delivery carried with it an air of menacing determination. Forget “Fuck The Police,” 1992 was more about that “Cop Killa” mentality, and Calvin Broadus had enough game to make bucking down Jake sound like more fun than a day at Magic Mountain.

16. Nicki Minaj on Kanye West’s “Monster” (2010)

 16. Nicki Minaj on Kanye West's "Monster" (2010)

Album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Producer: Kanye West, Mike Dean, Plain Pat
Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

Since Nicki came from a theatrical background, it seems appropriate that she would wait until she had the world stage and an all star cast to make like Busta on “Scenario” and steal the whole damn show.

Cartoon voices, vocal dramatics, and split personality rapping all feature in this jaw-dropping verbal barrage, which climaxes with the following indecent proposal: “Besides ‘Ye, they can’t stand besides me/I think me, you, and Am should menage Friday.” Let’s not forget the Mortal Kombat Fatality aimed at the former Queen Bee: “Wait, I’m the rookie, but my features and my shows ten times your pay?/50K for a verse, no album out!” Game, set, and match.

15. The Notorious B.I.G. on Craig Mack’s “Flava In Ya Ear” (1994)

 15. The Notorious B.I.G. on Craig Mack's "Flava In Ya Ear" (1994)

Album: Project Funk da World
Producer: Easy Mo Bee
Label: Bad Boy

A strong case could be made that “Flava In Ya Ear” is responsible for setting off the tradition of remixes that simply recycled the original beat with an all star guest roster. The concept was undeniably a winner in this case, and Biggie Smalls set things off with a flawless display of verbal arrogance, witty wordplay, and one of the most succinct putdowns ever laid down in a booth: “Don’t be mad, UPS is hiring.”

B.I.G. leaves such an impression with his opening performance that even the memorable contributions from LL and Busta pale in comparison to the nonchalant confidence that Biggie showcases. Who else would have the gall to boast that they are “far from handsome” with such confidence.

14. Big Pun on The Beatnuts’ “Off The Books” (1997)

 14. Big Pun on The Beatnuts' "Off The Books" (1997)

Album: Stone Crazy
Producer: The Beatnuts
Label: Relativity

Following his standout performances on Fat Joe’s “Watch Out” and “Firewater,” the rapper formerly known as Big Moon Dawg took no prisoners when he unleashed his super lyrical, breathless flow over this timeless Beatnuts track. Pun showcases the persona that he would become famous for, combining larger-than-life imagery with the will of an enforcer, threats of random violence, pimp talk, and dizzying vocal acrobatics.

13. Raekwon on Outkast’s “Skew It On The Bar-B” (1998)

 13. Raekwon on Outkast's "Skew It On The Bar-B" (1998)

Album: Aquemini
Producer: Organized Noize
Label: LaFace, Arista

The Chef adapts his Shaolin style to the Outkast’s sound without compromising his Cuban Linx technique. Rhyming off the same word for his entire twelve bars, Rae doesn’t falter from his established Crime Rap pedigree as he slings that Wu slang effortlessly over the breezy track.

This proves that while Raekwon’s flow is fluid and versatile, he isn’t leaving his chosen topic chamber for anybody. And why should he? Lex Diamond’s first album was so great that he can do whatever the hell he wants to for the next 20 years and no one would have the right to complain.

12. Lil Wayne on DJ Khaled’s “We Takin’ Over” (2007)

 12. Lil Wayne on DJ Khaled's "We Takin' Over" (2007)

Album: We The Best
Producer: Danja
Label: Terror Squad, Koch

Regarded as his finest cameo during a prolific year, Weezy finishes things off with a bang for the final verse of this DJ Khaled posse cut. Activating “Beast Mode” and running through his daily requirements for hoes with extraordinary head game, a touch of Sprite with his cough syrup, and an endless supply of beats to rap on in order to feed his seemingly insatiable appetite circa 2007.

11. Eminem on Dr. Dre’s “Forgot About Dre” (1999)

 11. Eminem on Dr. Dre's "Forgot About Dre" (1999)

Album: 2001
Producer: Dr. Dre, Mel-Man
Label: Aftermath, Interscope

Eminem activates full-blown Slim Shady crazy cartoon character mode here, which is when he’s at his best, anyway. For all of Eminem’s styles, nothing compares to the guy who spits stuff like, “Slim Shady hotter then a set of twin babies/In a Mercedes Benz with the windows up/When the temp goes up to the mid-80s.” That maniacal, high-pitched staccato flow is the whole reason the rap world embraced Marshall Mathers in the first place.

10. Kanye West on Jay-Z’s “Run This Town” (2009)

 10. Kanye West on Jay-Z's "Run This Town" (2009)

Album: The Blueprint 3
Producer: Kanye West, No I.D.
Label: Roc Nation, Atlantic

Ye’s spirited contribution to the second single from The Blueprint 3 is notable for a number of reasons. First, it contains the first significant entry into the genre of White Wine Rap when he quips: “I’m beasting off the riesling.” Second, he manages to deride not one but two major car brands (Volvo and Toyota). Last but certainly not least, Kanye pulls-off the best non-Dipset use of the “no homo” disclaimer following his announcement that everybody’s on his dick, proving once and for all that showoffs always perform best when they’re stealing somebody else’s spotlight.

9. Nas on Raekwon’s “Verbal Intercourse” (1995)

 9. Nas on Raekwon's "Verbal Intercourse" (1995)

Album: Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
Producer: RZA
Label: Loud, RCA, BMG

Nas Escobar was the first non-Wu Tang MC to be granted access into one of their chambers, and he commemorated the occasion by delivering a stellar vocal performance in honor of his illustrious hosts.

Rae recalled the process to XXL in 2005: “He had already went through three or four rhymes, and he couldn’t really see which one he wanted it to be. But I heard it. Once it came out his mouth, I was like, ‘That’s it.'”

The money shot was the dedication to the “rooster heads” on the bus to Rikers Island: “Holding weed inside they pussy with they minds on the pretty things of life/Props is a true thugs wife.” Say word.

8. Andre 3000 on UGK’s “International Players Anthem” (2007)

 8. Andre 3000 on UGK's "International Players Anthem" (2007)

Album: Underground Kingz
Producer: DJ Paul, Juicy J
Label: Zomba Music Group

3 Stacks went all out on this one, with a brilliantly conceptual verse that allows UGK to speak their piece without messing-up the established narrative. Andre explains to his boys that he’s ready to turn-in his pimp cup and settle down to married life, prompting the peanut-gallery to yell out words of warning and assuring him that “If that bitch do you dirty/We’ll wipe her ass out as in detergent.”

Not many MCs could pull something like this off without sounding like an absolute sap. Salute to ‘Dre for handling the delicacies of life in such fine style.

7. Jay-Z on Kanye West’s “Diamonds (Remix)” (2005)

 7. Jay-Z on Kanye West's "Diamonds (Remix)" (2005)

Album: Late Registration
Producer: Kanye West, Jon Brion, Devo Springsteen
Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

Kanye got a taste of his own medicine when he invited Hova to bless the “Diamonds” remix. Jay silences all the doubters with quotable after quotable addressing the aftermath of Roc-A-Fella, infamously declaring “I’m a business, man!” and shitting-on Memphis Bleek’s career while assuring him that he’s never going to have a work another day in his life.

Kanye later conceded defeat on “Big Brother,” when he revealed: “On that ‘Diamonds’ remix I swore I’d spaz/Then my big brother came through and kicked my ass.”

6. The Notorious B.I.G. on Puff Daddy’s “Victory” (1997)

 6. The Notorious B.I.G. on Puff Daddy's "Victory" (1997)

Album: No Way Out
Producer: Sean Combs, Steven “Stevie J” Jordan of The Hitmen
Label: Bad Boy

The last song that Biggie ever recorded was this feature for Puff. Legend tells it that the final verse of the song was a “reference track” for Diddy to perform, but following his murder it was left as is.

Frank White announces himself as the “underboss of this holocaust,” delivering immortal bars (“Real sick, brawl nights, I perform like Mike/Anyone—Tyson, Jordan, Jackson”), obscure EPMD references (“you overdid it, holmes” is a nod to “You Had Too Much Too Drink”), and even some self-depreciating humor (‘Used to call me fatso/Now they call me Castro”), all delivered with his flawless, nickel-slick flow.

The video still stands as the most expensive rap video ever made ($2.7 million), but no special effects are needed to appreciate the King of New York making his final bow.

5. Busta Rhymes on A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario” (1991)

 5. Busta Rhymes on A Tribe Called Quest's "Scenario" (1991)

Album: Low End Theory
Producer: A Tribe Called Quest
Label: Jive

When Bussa Bus spazzed-out on this landmark posse cut, it rang the death knell for Leaders of the New School, as it became immediately apparent to the entire planet (possibly with the exception of Charlie Brown, Dinco D and Cut Monitor Milo) that Mr. Rhymes had out-grown his former crew and established himself as a star in the making.

The drums drop-out to announce his opening bars, as he attacks the mic like a demented circus performer, flipping, bending, and contorting his cadence and vocal intonations with such self-assurance that it leaves no doubt that this is only a taste of greater things to come. The “dungeon dragon” outburst has become so iconic that Nikki Minaj adopted it for her own star turn on “Roman’s Revenge” to similar effect.

4. Eminem on Jay-Z’s “Renegade” (2001)

 4. Eminem on Jay-Z's "Renegade" (2001)

Album: The Blueprint
Producer: Eminem
Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

To be fair to Jay, this track was origninally created for Eminem and Royce Da 5’9’s “Bad Meets Evil” series, so it’s only right that Slim Shady should “murder” him on his own song, since Eminem always sounds so comfortable over his own beats.

Declaring himself “the new Ice Cube,” Eminem responds to his critics in typically irreverent fashion, firing back at irate parents and Bible-belt do-gooders who had labeled him as a bad influence to the youth of America. “See I’m a poet to some, a regular modern-day Shakespeare/Jesus Christ, the king of these Latter Day saints here” begins his second verse, rattling the chain of the Christian-right while showcasing a super-slick, tumbling flow. Middle-finger you!

3. AZ on Nas’ “Life’s A Bitch” (1994)

 3. AZ on Nas' "Life's A Bitch" (1994)

Album: Illmatic
Producer: L.E.S., Nas
Label: Columbia

Serving as the perfect foil for Nasir’s often nihilistic worldview, AZ delivered that slick hustler talk in a melodic, multisyllabic cadence that immediately impressed. In the process, The Visualizer laid down the blueprint for his “Rather Unique” microphone techniques, which he has faithfully adhered to over his long career.

Packing an impressive amount of content into his 16 bars, Sosa both celebrates and condemns the American dream in equal measures, with nods to underworld operations, trees and the Fiver Percenters. This is how you take a golden opportunity (the sole guest MC on Illmatic and exploit it to the fullest (a record deal with a major label) like a true hustler.

2. Nas on Main Source’s “Live at the BBQ” (1991)

 2. Nas on Main Source's "Live at the BBQ" (1991)

Album: Breaking Atoms
Producer: Main Source
Label: Wild Pitch, EMI

It’s a testament to the lyrical fortitude of Nasty Nas that he managed to stand-out on this track, considering that all four participants came off something lovely on this incredible posse cut (even non-rapper Joe Fatal kills it with his “written-by-committee” verse.) Opening up the track, Nas’ debut appearance might just be the most hard-hitting debut in the history of rap.

He begins: “Verbal assassin, my architect pleases/When I was twelve, I went to hell for snuffing Jesus,” and then proceeds to reference cop killing, kidnapping the first lady, AIDS patients, and the KKK, before comparing his verbal cinematics to Steven Spielberg. For those of us paying attention, it was clear that this young upstart was about to usher in a new standard of excellence.

1. Snoop Dogg on Dr. Dre’s “Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang” (1992)

 1. Snoop Dogg on Dr. Dre's "Nuthin' But A 'G' Thang" (1992)

Album: The Chronic
Producer: Dr. Dre
Label: Death Row

The diggy-diggy-doctor’s G-Funk invasion wouldn’t have been half as effective without the velvety drawl of a young Snoop Dogg. His contributions have all the makings of the now classic Doggfather formula—warnings against hoes, declarations of his prowess on the mic, and the obligatory spelling-out of his nom d’ plume. Telling us that “perfection is perfected” seems a little superfluous, but that was probably just the indo smoke talking.

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