Tale of the Tape | Ruff Ryders' "Ryde or Die" ft. DMX, The LOX, Eve & Drag-On
Produced by DJ Clue and Duro, “Ryde or Die” helped introduce the Ruff Ryders as the newest movement to take over hip hop.
In hip-hop, fans and critics often marvel at and put a premium on the supreme soloists or groups who can craft classic songs and bodies of work while remaining the central figure. However, the most electric moments in the culture occur when multiple emcees collaborate on a track, with the sole purpose of asserting themselves as the most lyrically gifted by delivering an epic rhyme spill that outclasses the others. Throughout the years, the songs—generally referred to as “posse cuts”—have become some of the most memorable in the genre’s history, with rap’s most legendary stars teaming up on wax and bringing the most rabid of rap fans’ fantasies to reality.
In celebration of these historic songs and what they mean to the culture, REVOLT TV presents ‘Tale of the Tape,’ a series that breaks down the greatest posse cuts of all time, and rank the verses from least impressive to most beloved.
In the fifth installment of the series, we’ll be revisiting the Ruff Ryders’ lyrical free-for-all, “Ryde Or Die,” the title track and lead single from the label’s 1999 compilation. Peaking at No. 22 on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart in 1999, “Ryde Or Die” attempted to capitalize on DMX’s breakout success by promoting its stable of talent; which included then-Bad Boy signees The LOX, Aftermath Records castaway Eve, Drag-On, and other artists. Produced by DJ Clue and Duro, “Ryde or Die” helped introduce the Ruff Ryders as the newest movement to take over hip hop. In turn, it propelled the Ryde or Die Vol. 1 compilation to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 upon its release. Nearly two decades later, “Ryde or Die” is remembered as one of the defining moments in the Ruff Ryders’ reign and remains a posse cut for the ages.
Without further adieu, check out our ranking of the verses on “Ryde or Die.”
Among Eve’s first appearance as a member of the Ruff Ryders clique was her guest spot on “Ryde or Die.” Although her appearance is relegated to a mere eight bars, the “Pitbull In A Skirt” gets the most out of her airtime with a feisty string of couplets that showcase her sleek delivery and mixes sensuality with aggression.
Standout Lyrics: “Ain’t no surprise niggas, only fuck wit recognized niggas/ Babygirl want the world, gave ya pies niggas/ No tops, take em in all shapes and size niggas/ No lie, prefer them ready do or die niggas”
First making his introduction to the rap world in 1998 with an appearance on the Belly soundtrack, Drag-On put rap fans on notice the following year with his performance on the Ruff Ryders compilation cut “Ryde or Die.” Joined by his Ruff Ryders brethren DMX, The LOX and the label’s First Lady Eve; Drag-On turns in a stanza that has its moments, but ultimately is devoid of the rewind-worthy quips spat by his costars and falls a bit flat in comparison.
Standout Lyrics: “I be the D-R, A-G, dash O-N, slash often/ Comma, burnin niggas often/ They call me Drag-On, I’m hot scorchin’/ Keep the block roastin’, light a dutch wit the flames coma-toastin’/ In my eyes you could see what summer’s holdin’/ Realizin’, every guy I’ll fry or dead ride/ I burn to a degree of 130, and my gun dirty/ Cause it got one buried, so you better run, hurry, or catch on early”
4. Styles P
Known as a lyrical brawler, Styles P pummels yet another beat into submission with his verse on “Ryde or Die,” which is rife with his signature brand of thuggery. Following up his LOX group mates, Styles P is third up to bat on the track and lays down a quick-strike set of bars that are equally cocksure as they are grisly. Doling out threats and boasts in the same breath, The Ghost performs admirably on “Ryde or Die,” contributing a set of bars that may not outshine his costars, but leave a lasting impression.
Standout Lyrics: “Suckin my dick, and I dont give a fuck what you spit/ Who you are, where you from, and who the fuck you could get/ Cause I sell records, plus I got a jail record/ Y’all niggas ain’t sayin shit until y’all bare weapons/ And even when you dead, you can still fuckin get it/ A nigga that’ll smack ya, fuck around and clap ya/ Styles P, your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper”
3. Sheek Louch
Sheek Louch’s energy on “Ryde or Die” is palpable as the backbone of The LOX turns in a quotable verse that’s ranks among his most electric. Setting the table with a lead-off verse that finds the exuberant Yonkers native running roughshod over the track, “Ryde or Die” finds the “Silverback Gorilla” setting the tone and giving his collaborators a heat check with an opening stanza that proves to be a tough-out when pitted against the others.
Standout Lyrics: “Yo if you gon’ sleep on somethin, might as well be a bed/ And if you gon’ crack a nigga, might as well be a head/ Cause if you target the LOX, you might as as well target a box/ That you gon’ sleep in for years, all covered wit rocks/ Cause I think not, I pop shots, I double what y’all got/ Ya hotshots ain’t got blocks, ya puta muchacha/ From the days in school, now a motherfucker rule/ Enough to drop my chain in coffee and keep shit cool”
As the Ruff Ryders’ franchise player and flagship artist, it was only right that DMX be tasked with closing out the proceedings on “Ryde or Die.” Riding high off the multi-platinum success of his debut and sophomore albums, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot and Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, Dark Man X used his verse on “Ryde or Die” as an opportunity to assert his dominance, reeling off a high-powered stanza that’s indicative of why he was considered one of the most formidable spitters in rap during his prime. Despite contributing a murderous performance and leaving the track in a bodybag, DMX finishes as runner-up on this occasion, a reminder that every dog has their day.
Standout Lyrics: “Its my, survival instinct that keeps my head above the water/ Everyday I show another how I love a slaughter/ Plug your daughter, full of more holes than sponges/ Taxin’ businessmen for stocks over lunches/ With these, I shoot the breeze, and extort/ Enough ki’s from the Cuban, to build a fuckin’ fort/ Caught up in somethin’ that I can’t control/Tryna get a hold of a bankroll that’s swoll”
Having a rewind-worthy opening bar is one of the key ingredients to a great rap verse, and LOX member Jadakiss has one of the best lyrical first steps of all time. Building his reputation with standout showings on legendary posse cuts like “Last Day,” “It’s All Bout The Benamins” and “Reservoir Dogs,” Jada picked up where he left off on the title track. Catching the beat off the bounce, Kiss captures the listeners attention off the rip, dropping a slew of clever boasts and punchlines that speak to his brilliance as a wordsmith, and earns him the honor of walking away with what REVOLT deems as the hottest verse on the track.
Standout Lyrics: “I hope you ain’t tongue-kissin’ your spouse/ Cause I be fuckin’ her in the mouth, type of nigga buck at your house/ Too slick, means she be suckin’ my dick/ And before you know it, I’mma have her stuffin’ my bricks/ Jada, if I kiss you now, you’ll die later/ I been nice since niggas was watchin’ movies on Beta”
Revisit “Ryde or Die” below.
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