Right now, rap crews are all the rage. Turn on the radio, flip to 106 & Park or go to any one of your favorite websites and you’ll undoubtedly be inundated with songs featuring a slew of MCs, joining forces for significance.
However, while many will argue groups have always run this genre, the difference now is the artists helming these labels are more concerned with signing free agents like the NBA or NFL. Whereas in the past, the leader was less concerned with prominence and more about pushing the crew they grew up with, rather than parading some paper-made facade that only comes together for photo shoots and tours. But, being that Hip-Hop’s a budding business, the money’s there for the taking and the shift is understandable. However, when crew love supersedes a desire for success, the music is that much more potent.
So, to highlight the history of organic Hip-Hop crews, we’ve compiled a list of the nine most prominent cliques of the past, highlighting their members and sharing their conjoined jams. If you too believe a team can make the dream work, grab a couple of homies, sit down and enjoy.
Key Members: Cam’ron, Jim Jones, Freeky Zekey, Juelz Santana, Hell Rell, 40 Cal, J.R. Writer and Vado.
Legacy: During the early 2000s, these Harlem high-rollers had everyone tickled pink. Dipset members were bright, boisterous and did whatever they pleased, endearing fans and Hip-Hop’s high-rollers along the way. When label issues came between childhood friendships and commercial prosperity though, bad blood left key members Killa Cam and Jim Jones separated, sending most members to seek solo success. And, while many welcomed their recent resurgence, the chemistry hasn’t resonated quite as well as it did in their heyday.
Highlights: Cam’Ron Feat. Juelz Santana – “Oh Boy,” Juelz Santana Feat. Cam’ron – “Santana’s Town (Dipset),” Jim Jones Feat. Cam’ron & Juelz Santana – “Crunk Muzik” & Jim Jones – “We Fly High”
Key Members: Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, Daz, Warren G, Nate Dogg, Soopafly, Bad Azz, Lil Half Dead, Lady Of Rage, RBX, Roscoe & The Eastsidaz
Legacy: Essentially, as soon as Dr. Dre gave Snoop the spotlight, the entire California G-funk movement got put on, with the DPGC collective at the forefront. Since 1992, countless artists and albums have emerged on the heels of Tha Doggfather – some legendary and others underwhelming – with many of the acts actually bringing up their own homies along the way. Although their allegiance has thinned and much of the later music is far from past heights, their legacy helped shape the musical culture of an entire coast.
Highlights: Snoop Doggy Dogg Feat. Kurupt, Warren G & Nate Dogg – “Ain’t No Fun,” Tha Dogg Pound Feat. Snoop Dogg – “New York, New York,” Warren G Feat. Nate Dogg – “Regulate” & Kurupt Feat. Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, Soopafly, Warren G & Tray Dee – “Neva Gonna Give It Up”