9. Ma$e f/ Black Rob, The LOX & DMX "24 Hours to Live" (1997)
Producer: Carlos "Six July" Broady
Album: Harlem World
Label: Bad Boy
If you had 24 hours to kick the bucket? Fuck it! One of the greatest concept tracks in rap history was also one of the genre's greatest posse cuts. Built upon Frankie Bleu's "Moses Theme," the beat's lush string-laced disco vibe made this song the climactic gem on Ma$e's Harlem World album, and provided the perfect cinematic backdrop for Jada, Black Rob, Sheek Louch, Styles P, Ma$e and DMX to make plans for their very last day.
After Puffy opens the song by explaining the concept ("...that's some deep shit right there"), the assembled talents reveal much about their own characters by the choices that they make. Ma$e promises to take kids from the ghetto and "show them what they have if they never settle." In addition to planning out his menu—complete with what's likely the only rap reference to drinking Nantucket Nectars—Jada buys a lotto ticket. Black Rob gets revenge for a robbery and takes a piss on the floor. Sheek runs up into city hall strapped with dynamite. Styles P teaches his little brother to invest. And DMX brings things home as only he knows how. —David Drake
Best Verse: DMX