Kendrick Lamar’s verse on Big Sean’s “Control” jolted the industry earlier this week and brought about a tremendous level of buzz that hasn’t been felt in hip hop for years. The varied reactions and sparked debates were refreshing to a scene that’s needed a good wake up call for quite some time. Amidst all the fervor, I suddenly got to thinking on what my favorite guest verses were in hip hop. Deciding to present that in the Friday Five format was agonizing, so let’s just say that more than a few of my favorite guest verses ever were left out. Now I know that a few will get riled up on some elitist tip, so let me get this quick disclaimer out of the way – this five is just a few of my favorite guest verses. Not best ever. Just a few choice cuts that come to mind. So without much further ado, The Friday Five, my favorite guest verses edition.
Now you’ll notice that this week’s Friday Five is not in its’ traditional Spotify playlist format. The reason being is that Spotify played itself by not having some of the following choices available in their database. C’mon son. Oh, one thing, please feel free to include any of your own favorites in the comments section below. And now, on to the five:
5. Paid and Live ft. Lauryn Hill – All My Time
This track is laid back 9000. Throw this joint on, pour up a lil somethin’ and activate relaxation with your boo to this. Lauryn’s arguably the best female emcee ever and her narrative style on this, coupled with her buttery flow over some headnodic boom bap and mellow guitar lick all adds up to an outstanding track that will always have a place on my playlist.
4. Original Flavor ft. Jay Z – Can I Get Open
Jay really did get open with his impeccable flow that’s been a hallmark of his style for his whole career. Can we get the double-time flow Jigga back? Like really. I mean that’s all I pretty much have to say about this song. Jay, c’mon man, let’s have you spit this style again on some TBT tip.
3. Jay Z ft. Eminem – Renegade
Some may discount this selection since “Renegade” was originally intended as a Bad Meets Evil track, but with a verse as crazy as Em spit on this track with Jay Z, omitting it from this list would be a dummy move on my part. Slim Shady really brought out the whole arsenal here with sick multis and a rhyme pattern that outdid even one of the greats in Jay.
2. A Tribe Called Quest ft. Leaders of the New School – Scenario
Considered by many heads to be the greatest posse cut ever, ATCQ’s “Scenario” marked the breakout of Busta Rhymes from the rest of his Leaders of the New School cohorts. Honestly, the quotables Busta spit on this are numerous and you’d be hard pressed to find the other verses in this cut to be better. The lead up to when the beat drops off and leaves Busta alone with the bassline was a perfect setup for him to unleash all fury on the track. I mean, how indelible are “Uh uh uh, all over the track man. Uh, pardon me, uh! As I come back!” and “RAOWR RAOWRRR LIKE A DUNGEON DRAGON!!!”?!
1. UGK ft. Outkast – Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You)
Real talk, it was like pulling teeth the way I had to choose my favorite Three Stacks guest verse out of all the gems he’s guest dropped over the years. Having him feature on a song is like Ken Griffey Jr. stepping up to bat – people already expect that he’s gonna knock it out the park. The diamond he spit on this UGK track is as classic as they come. Andre’s anecdotal take on deading his player ways after finding “the one” is something that I find everyone rhyming along to once the iconic Willie Hutch sample of his hit “I Choose You” blares out the speakers. Besides 3000 being one of the best emcess ever (yeah I said it), his personality and style seemed to be tailor fitted for this song, thus letting him truly shine lyrically and ensuring it an enduring spot in my long list of favorite songs period.