Rap crews are on their way back in vogue.
Seriously. It’s something that’s discussed in the March 2001 issue of XXL (on sale now). Think about it. With Eminem, Slaughterhouse and Yelawolf joining forces, you have to figure more rappers will be building their respective armies. Plus, we can’t forget about Wayne and his Young Money crew, Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music squad and Jay-Z’s ever-expanding Roc Nation roster.
In celebration of our new issue release, we’ve compiled 20 of the best hip-hop crew compilations in no particular order. Different from established groups, these crews—a loose collection of spitters often on the same label who came together on occasion to offer some musical output. Rather than an album with centralized themes and clear cohesion, as many often have, these are crew compilations—a gathering of cuts that typically don’t rely on one another. Some have came in the form of movie soundtracks that showcase a crew’s roster, some are exhibitions of what a certain label had to offer, and some were simply a reason for a bunch of musically-linked friends to come together.
- Murder Was the Case<em>Murder Was The Case</em> (1994): This compilation had a gang of singles including “Woman to Woman,” “Murder Was The Case,” “Natural Born Killaz,” “U Better Recognize” and “What Would U Do.” It was the soundtrack to a short film starring Snoop directed by Dre and Fab Five Freddy, which reached the No. 1 spot on <em>Billboard 200</em>.
- Dr. dre presents aftermath<em>Dr. Dre Presents the Aftermath</em> (1996): With singles including “Been There, Done That,” and “East Coast/West Coast Killas,” this was a compilation album put together by Dr. Dre after leaving Death Row Records. It was his first release on Aftermath.
- Streets is Watching<em>Streets is Watching</em> (1998): This was a soundtrack for the film of the same, which was a promotion of up and coming artists on Jay and Dame’s Roc-A-Fella records. Singles included “It’s Alright” and “Love for Free.”
- No Limit Records presents Mean Green<em>Mean Green</em> (1998): This compilation, released by No Limit Records, featured a majority of No Limit’s artists at the time, as well as other rappers including UGK and Mack 10. The release peaked at No. 9 on the <em>Billboard 200</em>.
- we cant bee stopped<em>We Can’t Be Stopped</em> (1998): Another No Limit compilation form 1998, this album including big names such as Snoop Dogg, Mystikal and peaked at No. 2 on the <em>Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums</em> charts.
- Ryde or Die vol. 1<em>Ryde of Die Vol. 1</em> (1999): The first of four volumes by the Ruff Ryders, this album by the New York based rap collective reached #1 on the <em>Billboard 200</em>.
- Duck Down Presents the album<em>Duck Down Presents: The Album-Duck Down Records</em> (1999): The compilation album featured all new tracks from Boot Camp Click members and affiliates, the lone single off the album was "Jump Up."
- Cash Money Baller Blockin<em>Baller Blockin’</em> (2000) The lead single for this soundtrack that showcased Cash Money was the E-40 assisted “Baller Blocking,” and “Project Bitch” was another standout. The whole gang, from Weezy to B.G. to Juvie to the Big Tymers were along for the ride.
- D.I.T.C. Worldwide<em>Worldwide</em> (2000): Released just a year after the passing of Big L, this was the debut album from the collective Diggin’ in the Crates, consisting of Lord Finesse, Show, A.G., Diamond D, Fat Joe, O.C., Buckwild and L. The album closer was an ode to Big L, titled “Tribute.”
- Dungeon Family Even In Darkness<em>Even in Darkness</em> (2001): This was the collaborative debut album from the Dungeon Family, which included Outkast, Goodie Mob and others ATL players. The album featured other big names including Killer Mike Bubba Sparxxx and others.
- Irv Gotti presents The Inc<em>Irv Gotti Presents: The Inc.</em> (2002) A compilation album featuring members of Irv Gotti’s Murder Inc., now known as The Inc. Records, features singles “Down 4 U” and “Ain’t It Funny (Murder Remix).”
- State Property<em>State Property</em> (2002): The lone single off the soundtrack for <em>State Property</em> the film was "Roc the Mic," featuring Nelly and Murphy Lee. The other tracks on the project featured members of the Philly collective including Freeway, Beanie Sigel, Young Gunz and more.
- Get Rich or Die Tryin soundtrack<em>Get Rich or Die Tryin’</em> (2005): The soundtrack to 50’s feature film debut, singles included “Hustler’s Ambition,” “Window Shopper” and “Best Friend.” The disc featured G-Unit rappers Young Buck, Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo, as well as the rest of 50’s roster, from M.O.P. to Mobb Deep.
- Ludacris Presents Disturbing tha peace<em>Ludacris Presents: Disturbing tha Peace </em> (2005): With singles included “Georgia” and “Gettin’ Some,” this was the second studio album for Disturbing tha Peace, featuring artists such as Bobby V, Jamie Foxx, Field Mob and others.
- Got Purp vol II<em>Got Purp Vol. II</em> (2005) Before Big Boi got all Chico Dusty on us, he hooked-up with Virgin Records to release <em>Got Purp Vol. II</em> with his Purple Ribbon All-Stars collective (<em>Got Purp Vol.1</em> was released as a mixtape). The crew consisting of Big Boi, Konkrete, Sleepy Brown, Rock D and Killer Mike produced a hit in “Kryptonite (I’m On It)” but not much else after that.
- Young Fly and Flashy vol. 1<em>Young Fly & Flashy, Vol. 1</em> (2005): The first of two compilation albums by Jermaine Dupri featured artists including J-Kown, Dem Franchize Boyz and more. Singles for the album were “Gotta Getcha” and the memorable “Oh, I Think They Like Me.”
- PSC 25 to Life<em>25 to Life</em> (2005): Singles for this Pimp Squad Click release included "I’m a King." The platinum-selling album was the debut for T.I.'s comrades known as P$C. Guest appearances include Young Jeezy, Lil Scrappy and many more.
- more than music<em>Diplomats & DukeDaGod Present: Dipset, More Than Music Vol. 1</em> (2005): While <em>Diplomatic Immunity Vol.1</em> featured the collective effort of core group members Cam’ron, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana and Freekey Zekey, The DukeDaGod <em>More Than Music</em> series of compilations opened the floodgates open for Dipset b-sqauders like Hell Rell, JR Writer, Jha Jha and 40 Cal. to get some shine. While the compilation didn’t produce any hits, songs like the Juice Crew-inspired “Dipset Symphony” and ‘What Is This” by Jim Jones kept the Set banging in the streets.
- Eminem Presents the Re-up<em>Eminem Presents: The Re-Up</em> (2006): With almost 1.2 million copies sold, Eminem’s <em>The Re-Up</em> compilation not only helped King Matthers showcase his roster of talent on Shady, but it made him quite a few bucks as well. It was a double-slotted victory. First fans got properly introduced to Shady newcomers Stat Quo, Ca$his and Bobby Creekwater, and they also got banging singles like “You Don’t Know” and “Jimmy Crack Corn,” both featuring 50 Cent. You’re all welcomed.
- We Are Young Money<em>We Are Young Money</em> (2009): This was the first ever collaboration studio album from Young Money Entertainment (and remains the only to date), and included singles like “Every Girl,” “Roger That” and “BedRock.” Lil Wayne appeared on all but one of the tracks.