Rap music is a ruthless contact sport. Each rapper has to guard his hard-earned spot in the game by constantly sharpening his rhyming skills and staying ahead of the competition. However, there are times when rappers have invited other artists to contribute verses on their songs only to end up being outdone by these guest cameos. Whenever this happens, listeners tend focus their attention on the winner of that track. Without further ado, here are 15 songs that showcase rappers being obliterated by guests on their own tracks.
Fat Joe – “John Blaze” – featuring Nas, Big Pun and Jadakiss
In the corridors of Hip-Hop, Fat Joe (from the Bronx) is definitely an elder statesman and one of the most respected rappers to ever rock a microphone. He emerged on the scene in the 90s and is still doing his thing to this day. Fat Joe has several albums and some very notable hit songs to his name (“Lean Back”) and he is also the one who introduced the world to the super-talented and clever lyricist Big Pun. On Fat Joe’s 1998 album, he had a song called “John Blaze” on which he recruited four respected rappers to appear alongside him: Nas, Jadakiss, Raekwon and the aforementioned Pun. Fat Joe held his own on the Ski-produced track but he was no match at all for the stellar rhyming abilities of Nas and Big Pun. There’s still an ongoing argument in Hip-Hop circles about who had the best verse, but everyone agrees that Fat Joe wasn’t even close to grabbing the top prize.
Big Sean – “Control” – featuring Jay Electronica and Kendrick Lamar
At the tail end of summer last year, the entire Hip-Hop world seemed to stop for a full week, because one song came out of nowhere and shook up the entire culture. The song was titled “Control” and it was a loosie left over from the soon-to-be-released Finally Famous LP from Big Sean. Sean rapped the first verse and the second was handled by Kendrick Lamar, the ferocious spitter from Compton, CA. In Lamar’s verse, he went on a fierce verbal tirade stating how he intended to be the best rapper of his generation. He even went as far as name dropping several other rappers including Wale, J.Cole, Big Krit, Drake and more. By the time he was done, the last verse from Jay Electronica was a mere afterthought. Many articles about this song tend to favour the guest rapper, with titles like “Kendrick Lamar’s Verse On Big Sean’s ‘Control’ Is Easily The Best Of The Year.” So yeah, it’s definitely fair to say that Big Sean got burnt to a crisp on his own track.
Devin The Dude – “What A Job” – featuring Snoop Dogg and Andre 3000
Houston rapper Devin The Dude is one of the most likeable rappers in the game. His music is never about fighting, violence or gangs – he’s all about, chilling, rolling up a fat doobie and having a good time. On his 2007 album titled Waiting to Exhale, there was a song titled “What A Job” which featured fellow Hip-Hop vets Snoop Dogg and Andre 3000 of Outkast. Now for those who don’t know, even though Andre has had tons of mainstream success from his radio-friendly songs but most rap fans will agree that when it comes to actual rapping he is among the best. On this record, Andre soared leagues above the other two with his masterful and vivid lyricism. Sorry Devin and Snoop, we love you but you definitely got schooled on this track.
Raekwon – “Verbal Intercourse” – featuring Nas and Ghostface Killah
In the mid 1990’s, there was no Hip-Hop movement stronger than the 10-man NYC collective known as Wu-Tang Clan. Every member of the crew was just so unique and talented; Method Man, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, The Rza, Masta Killa etc. Not only did their music excite and inspire, but their visual presentation and artistic direction was so mesmerizing. The second album released from the Staten Island crew was called Cuban Linx and it was the solo LP from group member Raekwon the Chef. Track #12 was called “Verbal Intercourse” and it featured Ghostface Killah and rap’s golden child Nas. The first verse was handled by the slick Queens poet Nas, and one of his amazing lines included: “I unfold the scroll – plant seeds to stampede the globe.” By the time he was done with it, the Wu Tang clansmen , no matter how sharp their lyrics were, couldn’t match up to Nas’s verbal wizardry. For fans of pure rap music, this is a song you have to look up and listen to – it’s raw Hip-Hop in its purest form.
Rick Ross – “Stay Schemin” – featuring Drake
In the current era of Hip-Hop, Rick Ross is literally and physically one of the biggest names in the game. One reason that Ross continues to maintain his popularity is that he constantly puts out mixtapes and features even when he doesn’t have a major label release out. The Miami rapper definitely understands the mantra that “out of sight means out of mind.” In 2012, Rick Ross put out a mixtape called Rich Forever and it had a lead single called “Stay Schemin” that featured Drake and French Montana. Drake was just coming off a heated beef with Chicago rapper, Common and he had a chip on his shoulder that provided extra inspiration for his verse. He also added a witty line in there about Kobe Bryant and the marital problems the LA Laker was having at the time. The song yielded the much quoted Kobe-directed Drake line “She wasn’t with you shooting in the gym.” When all was said and done, the Canadian rapper had the most memorable verse and took the spotlight as the guest on Ricky Ross’ own song.
Craig Mack – “Flava In Ya Ear” – featuring Notorious BIG, LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes and Rampage
Most people think that Biggie Smalls was the first hit artist that Sean “P. Diddy” Combs signed to his Bad Boy Record label. But there was actually another artist named Craig Mack who had a hit song for Diddy prior to Biggie’s success. The name of his hit single was “Flava In Ya Ear” and it was an instant hit when it dropped in 1994. To capitalize on the popularity of the song, Puffy put out a remix of the song featuring Notorious B.I.G, LL Cool J, Rampage and Busta Rhymes. All the artists turned in really fresh verses but Biggie stood head and shoulders above the rest – a telling sign of the stardom he would soon attain. One of the most memorable Biggie lines was: “I get more butt than ashtrays.” Not only did the remix end up being great exposure for Biggie Smalls, it also served as the perfect launchpad to a very successful albeit short-lived career.
A$AP Rocky – “1 Train” – featuring Danny Brown, Joey Bada$$, Action Bronson, Big KRIT, Kendrick Lamar
In the new school of rap music, A$AP Rocky is certainly one of the most popular rappers. Hailing from Harlem, he is not necessarily respected for his exemplary rap skills but he certainly has a sense of swagger and unique style that makes him different and appealing – especially to the young ladies. Actually, his present girlfriend is the stunning super model Chanel Iman. In 2013, A$AP released his debut album titled Long Live A$AP and it featured a huge posse song called “1 Train.” This track featured a slew of young talented rappers including Yelawolf, Big Krit, Joey Bada$$, Danny Brown, Action Bronson and Kendrick Lamar. The standouts on this song were Detroit rapper Danny Brown and Queens, NYC rhymer Action Bronson. A$AP Rocky’s verse wasn’t even in the top 3, but he deserves credit for assembling such a wide variety of stellar talent on one track.
Mobb Deep – “The Realest” – featuring Kool G. Rap
One of the most recognized names in street rap is the duo from Queens, NYC known as Mobb Deep. The crew consists of Havoc and Prodigy and in 1998, they put out a record called Murda Muzik that performed very well and ended up going platinum. One of the standout tracks on the LP was called “The Realest” and it featured another NYC rap legend called Kool G. Rap. Even though the better lyricist of the group Prodigy brought his best efforts to the game, they still weren’t at par with the brilliant verbal barrage unleased in the song’s first verse by the legend Kool G. Rap. One of G-Rap’s standout lines was “Bullets aren’t racial kid, they only hate you.” Sometimes, seniority and status supersedes youthful energy and vigor.
Future – “Move That Dope” – featuring Pharrell and Pusha T
Atlanta rapper Future has been having a great run in the Hip-Hop industry in the last 2/3 years. People are actually calling him the new version of T-Pain because of his auto-tune helmed singing and catchy, radio-friendly hooks. His new album Honest recently dropped and one of the lead singles is a song called “Move that Dope” featuring Pharrell and Pusha T. The “Happy” man of the moment, Pharrell, was chosen to finish off the song with his third verse and the resurgent music vet proved that he can still run circles around the newer upstarts in the game. Pharrell Williams is really having a great rebirth in music, and he deserves all the accolades he’s receiving.
Scarface – “Smile” – featuring 2Pac
In this entire list, this is the only song in which the guest cameo was contributed by someone who had already passed away. The year was 1997 and the song was “Smile” from Scarface’s album, The Untouchable. The song featured a melodic bass-heavy beat and 2Pac had two verses on the song that were profound, raw, uplifting and gritty all at once. There’s a reason why Pac continues to be such an icon in the Hip-Hop culture because he was truly talented. Some of the lines he rapped included “My childhood years/ were spent burying my peers in the cemetery,” and “If you believe, then you can achieve.” Scarface also did a great job on the record, but in all honesty, it’s pretty impossible to compete with the late, great TuPac Shakur.
50. Cent – “Patiently Waiting” – featuring Eminem
The debut album in 2003 from 50 Cent titled Get Rich or Die Trying was such an immense hit. It featured so many hits: “In Da Club”, “21 Questions”, “Wanksta” – and it went on to sell over 10 million records worldwide. One of the other hot songs on it was a duet between 50 Cent and Eminem titled “Patiently Waiting,” For connoisseurs of lyrical Hip-Hop, this song was a true gift. Even though 50 Cent tried his best, he was no match for the White Boy Wonder who rang off lines: “Don’t Let me lose you, I’m not trying to confuse you, When I let loose with this Uzi, and just shoot through your Isuzu.” If it was a lyrical battle, Eminem was the only one left standing.
The Game – “The City” – featuring Kendrick Lamar
In 2011, Los Angeles rapper The Game put out his fourth studio called The R.E.D. album which featured production by Cool & Dre, DJ Premier and The Neptunes. One of the standout songs on the album was called “The City” and it featured one of the best new young rappers on the scene right now, namely Kendrick Lamar. Kendrick handled both the hook and the last verse and he delivered a brilliant rapping performance that included the following lines: “Give me the fuel for the fire burning when I yearn these lights/ In the midst of the hieroglyphs my fingertips start to write.” It was immediately obvious from the song that Kendrick is on another level lyrically when combined to The Game – Kendrick’s future in the rap game is extremely bright.
UGK – “International Players Anthem” – featuring Outkast
It’s not that common for a rap song to be about marriage and fidelity but the 2007 song “International Players Anthem” by UGK featuring Outkast touched on just those themes. Andre 3000 has already appeared on this list, and on this soulful song, he took the first verse and made it extremely hard for anyone else following him. Some of his best lines included “I jumped the broom, like a preemie out the womb, my partner is yelling ‘too soon.’” Even though at that point Pimp C and Bun B were regarded as very competent lyricists in Hip-Hop, Andre 3000 of Outkast certainly blew them out the water.
Jay-Z – “Renegade”- featuring Eminem
Jay Z’s sixth album, The BluePrint came out in 2001. This was when Jay Z was fully emerging as a rap music superstar so the stakes for this LP were pretty high. As many already know, Jay Z is no slouch when it comes to rhyming and he delivered the goods with an album full of hits and excellent production by beat-masters like Kanye West, Just Blaze and Timbaland. Track #12 was a duet featuring Eminem who actually produced the song too. Both rappers brought their A-game but Eminem edged Jay Z out with two scintillating and spirited multi-syllabic verses that wowed and awed. Rapper Nas released a song shortly after (‘Esther’) with lyrics directed towards Jay Z stating; “Eminem murdered you on your own sh*t.” Even in an interview on Rosenberg radio, Jay Z admitted that Eminem had the better verse. It is very rare that anyone beats Jay Z at his own game, and that is why Eminem is still one of the greatest rappers alive.
Kanye West – “Diamonds From Sierra Leone” – featuring Jay-Z
The song “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” was one of the really extraordinary tracks from Kanye West’s sophomore album Late Registration. It was one of those songs that is so lyrically deep that you need about 3 or 4 listens to completely take it in. The original version itself was really good, but then Jay Z jumped on the remix and took the song to another level. This is the track in which Jay dropped the classic line “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man!” Even Kanye later admitted about the song that “I swore I spazzed – then my big brother came through and kicked my a**.”
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