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 — which are generally referred to as “posse-cuts” — have become some of the most memorable in the genre’s history, as rap’s most legendary stars team 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 Presents: Tale of the Tape, our series in which we break down the greatest posse cuts of all-time and rank the verses from worst to first.
In our latest installment of the series, we’ll be revisiting the remix to “Not Tonight,” a fan-favorite from Lil Kim’s classic debut album, Hardcore. Released in 1996, the success of the original led to the rapper putting together a sequel titled “Ladies Night Remix” the following year. Calling in a host of legendary veterans for the new mix; Kim was joined by Missy Elliott, Da Brat, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Angie Martinez on the track.
Recorded in support of the soundtrack to the 1997 comedy Nothing to Lose, and tacked on as a bonus cut on Hardcore, “Not Tonight (Ladies Night Remix)” was a big hit. It peaked at No. 6 on the Hot 100. It was also one of the more critically acclaimed rap songs of the year, earning a nomination for Best Rap Performance By a Duo or Group at the 1998 Grammy Awards. Over 20 years later, it is remembered as one of the greatest remixes of all-time and one of the greatest groupings of women in rap that we’ve witnessed.
Without further adieu, check out our ranking of the verses on “Ladies Night.”
5. Missy Elliott
In 1997, Missy was on one of the hottest streaks of the decade. She was riding high off the release of her ’96 debut, Supa Dupa Fly, as well as her endless list of guest appearances on some of the hottest songs. Missy had the Midas touch! So, her presence on this all-star combination was necessary. Putting her melodic spin on the hook, Missy ends the song with a set of bars that are solid, though, playful and somewhat pedestrian. This results in her verse landing in last place on this list.
Standout Lyrics: “Oh what a night/You should be like Missy ‘stead of bein like Mike/I like to ride ponies instead of ridin’ bikes/Me and Lil’ Kim got the rhymes to incite/I gotta catch a flight, uh heh heh, around three-ish/Niggas can’t see us from Elektra to Undeas.”
4. Angie Martinez
Former Hot 97 — and current Power 105.1 — radio personality Angie Martinez took listeners by surprise when she steeped from one booth into another to drop this verse. The first lady to appear on the track, Angie rises to the occasion by displaying the presence of a credible rap artist. Seemingly at home alongside her more seasoned costars, the Boogie Down Bronx native’s stanza is brief, yet splendid.
Standout Lyrics: “It’s ladies night, what/It must be Angie on the mic/The Butter P honey got the sugar, got the spice/Roll the L’s tight, keep the rhymes right/Yo, I just made this motherfucker up last night/And uhh… I’m the rookie on this all-star team/Me and Kim is gettin’ cream, like Thelma and Louise.”
3. Left Eye
Aside from a few collaborations that flew under the radar, Left Eye’s first shining moment outside of her work with TLC came with her appearance on this seismic collaboration. Deciding to leave the gun-toting to her entourage, Left Eye is in full-fledged party-mode on the track, hitting the dance floor with a frozen drink and dismissing potential suitors. Giving a performance that’s efficient and shows off her nimble flow, Left Eye blesses the track with a performance that’s unforgettable. However, it wasn’t great enough to nab the top spot.
Standout Lyrics: “Uhh, never the one, packin’ a gun/Got some other raw chicks for that, lay your ass flat/I be the one chockin’ ya paragraphs, with laughs/Getcha back up on the right path/Ain’t no stoppin’ me ladies from club hoppin’ gets my rock on/From flavors still frozen at Paradise joint/Booty shakin’ with the glass in my left one/Right-hand sayin’ step, son.”
2. Lil Kim
The year 1996 was loaded with landmark moments from women on the mic. But, Lil Kim’s reign as the new Queen of Rap was undeniable. Helping change the playing field for women in the industry with her platinum-selling debut album, the Brooklyn diva upped the ante with this posse-cut. While the host of the track usually anchors it, the Queen Bee takes an unconventional approach by rhyming instead. However, the placement of Kim’s verse proves to be inconsequential, as she steps in the booth and walks out with another bodybag under her belt. Clever and aggressive, Lil Kim’s showing on this outing raises the stakes. But, it wins her the silver medal when the dust is settled.
Standout Lyrics: “I stay focused, in the dopest/Like a penny with a hole in it, y’all just hopeless/And toke this, I ain’t lyin’/Niggas trying to knock me off, keep tryin’/All it takes is one phone call to my street team/Promote that ass, like a soundtrack New Jack Ci-tay/Set It Off with the eighty-fitay/Y’all missin’ the buck, with the fuck.”
1. Da Brat
The first solo female rapper to have a platinum-selling album with her 1994 debut, Funkdafied, Da Brat had already etched her place in the history books when she joined Lil Kim and company on this monstrous single. Applying pressure as soon as her voice lands on the beat, Da Brat goes bonkers by employing her rapid-fire flow without her bars getting lost in translation. Lyrically adept and filled with cocksure musings, the So So Def H.B.I.C. flexes her wordplay throughout the verse, while controlling the beat and the pocket of her flow like a yo-yo. While her partners in rhyme give her a run for her money, Da Brat shuts things down with a collection of bars that serve as the main event of one of the pivotal moments for women in rap thus far.
Standout Lyrics: “Humor me, by huggin’ me sayin’ you lovin’ me/Playa phony niggas be buggin’/I can tell ’cause the thug in me wanna sell drugs and push keys/Need to get me mo’ of deez, VV’s and M3’s/Smoke weed from overseas pimped out styled Rol-eys/Fuck thepolice keep my wallet obese/Who the Windy City woman still still comin’ and gunnin’ straight from the Chi/Tonight’s the night for all the ladies, let’s get high.”
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