Last night’s BET Hip-Hop Awards cypher appearance from XXL cover-stars highlighted something we’ve know for a while: TDE has incredible rappers and they sound incredible together. The interplay between the group last night—the nods, the glances, yep, the high-five—was part of what made the cypher so special. These guys have a shared history and they’re comfortable on stage together. They’re a unit.
Despite the group’s obvious chemistry, they’re not necessarily known for their posse cuts. Unlike other groups like the Wu-Tang Clan or even Odd Future, TDE doesn’t release collaborative albums, choosing instead to build slowly and methodically, unleashing solo albums and mixtapes for each individual member of the collective. So it’s a rare thing when the members team up for some lyrical destruction like they did last night.
In celebration of the group’s incendiary cypher, we’ve put together a list of essential Black Hippy collaborative cuts that you need to check out. Some of these date back to 2008 and 2009, when the group was in its earliest stages, but they each show a team of rappers united by one thing: a commitment to excellence. Dive in. –Dan Jackson