Ah, the hip-hop supergroup. It's a mythical hybrid beast, like a chimera or a gryphon, whose whole is greater than the sum of its constituent parts (at least ideally). But for all the planned and discussed supergroups out there, few come to fruition, and those that do are often doomed to travel the decimated rap landscape like so many zeebroids and beefalos, toiling in obscurity.
But lo! What's that? This week is a banner week for hip-hop supergroups, you say? Slaughterhouse dropped a video on Monday, and grafted-devil saviors La Coka Nostra released an album yesterday? Well, lordy be! That must mean it's time for another exhaustive Complex compendium! Read on to travel back in time and relive 21 of the greatest and not-so-greatest supergroups (planned and real) to bless our tape decks (yes, tape decks), presented in alphabetical order to forestall any squabbling between Cuban Link and MC Eiht.
But first, a few ground rules. It's only a supergroup if the members came together AFTER they attained some prominence as an act in their own right (sorry, Wu and Boyz in the Hood). Pre-existing crews and label rosters aren't supergroups, even if they all get together to make a song (sorry, DITC, Disturbin' Tha Peace, and Fab Five). You get the idea. If we missed someone significant, let us know in the comments. And if you're THAT burned up about Special Teamz (Edo G, Jaysaun, and Slaine) not being on this list, then keep it to yourself.
MEMBERS: Nate Dogg, Snoop, Warren G. The group actually existed before they got famous, but they released a 213 album later, so we'll let it stand.
BEST KNOWN SONG: "Ain't No Fun (If the Homies Can't Have None)" (with Kurupt) off Snoop's 1994 album Doggystyle (not officially a 213 song, but c'mon!)
DID THEY RELEASE AN ALBUM?: Yup! 2004's The Hard Way (ayo!).
BANG BANG BOOGIE
MEMBERS: Cuban Link, Hocus, Lord Tariq, Mysonne, S One (aka The We Hate Fat Joe Gang)
BEST KNOWN SONG: "Bang Bang Boogie Anthem"
DID THEY RELEASE AN ALBUM?: Kinda! Just mixtapes so far.
RATING (IF YOU LIVE NORTH OF THE HARLEM RIVER DRIVE):
MEMBERS: Two official iterations: (Buckshot, Masta Ace, Special Ed produced by ATCQ/Chubb Rock, Jeru, O.C. produced by Premier) and a weird bootleg third one (Jean Grae, Mos Def, Memphis Bleek produced by 9th Wonder).
BEST KNOWN SONG: "Crooklyn," off 1994's Crooklyn soundtrack
DID THEY RELEASE AN ALBUM?: Nope!
RATING (FIRST VERSION):
RATING (SECOND VERSION):
RATING (THIRD VERSION):
CRS (Child Rebel Soldiers)
MEMBERS: Kanye, Lupe Fiasco, Pharrell
BEST KNOWN SONG: "Us Placers"
DID THEY RELEASE AN ALBUM?: Nope!
RATING (IF YOU HAVE NO INDIVIDUAL SENSE OF STYLE):
MEMBERS: Masta Ace, Punchline, Wordsworth, Stricklin (who?)
BEST KNOWN SONG: "Block Episode," off Masta Ace's 2001 album Disposable Arts
DID THEY RELEASE AN ALBUM?: Yup! 2008's The Show
MEMBERS: Black Thought, Common, Pharoahe Monch, Talib Kweli (rumors also abounded about Psychic Friends, which swapped out Talib for Jeru da Damaja)
BEST KNOWN SONG: A freestyle on Rawkus' backpacker classic Lyricist Lounge Vol. 1 (minus Talib and plus Absolute from House of Reps)
DID THEY RELEASE AN ALBUM?: Hahahahahah! We mean, nope!
MEMBERS: AZ, Foxy Brown, Nas, Cormega/Nature
BEST KNOWN SONG: "Phone Tap"/"Firm Biz"
DID THEY RELEASE AN ALBUM?: Yup! The Album (1997)
RATING (NAS + DRE AND STILL GARBAGE!):