"Posse cuts": the phenomenon whereby large collectives of rappers linked by crew, region, or, most often, by a common cause, all would get together to record a massive joint effort. Posse cuts were most popular circa '88 to '94-- coincidentally the same years as hip-hop's much lauded golden age.
These multiple emcee, pass-the-mic styled hip-hop songs date back to hip-hop's formative years (many of them freestyle sessions in the 1970's Boogie Down that were not even recorded and some that were, such as Afrika Bambaataa & the Soul Sonic Force's "Zulu Nation Throwdown" in 1980). It wasn't until the later 1980's that the posse cut came into its own. Below are the videos of seven of some of the best posse cuts from this six-year span -- all timeless, classic hip-hop recordings that I personally never tire of.
1988's Marley Marl-produced "The Symphony" by The Juice Crew not only put the posse cut format firmly on the rap map but it also remains one of the best singles in hip-hop history, period. On it, each contributor of the Queensbridge extended hip-hop family flows like water: Masta Ace, Craig G, Kool G Rap, and Big Daddy Kane -- all over a dope Marley Marl (known as "Dusty Marl" in the video below) track that samples Otis Redding. Note that this video is not the full album version as found on the 1988 Cold Chillin Marley Marl album In Control Volume 1.
The 1989 posse cut "Self Destruction" by the star studded Stop The Violence Movement was an even grander and more ambitious project in terms of the number of talented emcees that would bless the mic for this heartfelt anti-violence anthem that came about following a fatal fight that broke out during a Public Enemy/Boogie Down Productions concert. The tragedy inspired KRS-One to form the Stop the Violence Movement. After doing so, he co-produced a track with fellow BDP member D-Nice, enlisted some of the East Coast's best and recorded the single "Self Destruction" on Jive with all proceeds going to the National Urban League. The stellar lineup included KRS-One, Ms Melodie, D Nice, Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Kool Moe Dee, MC Lyte, Stetsasonic's Daddy O, Delite, Fruitkwan, Wise, Doug E Fresh, Just Ice, and Heavy D.