BET Digital Design | Getty Images
In recognition of hip hop’s 50th anniversary, BET Digital, in partnership with Ambrosia For Heads, is celebrating the culture by hosting a bracket-style competition that allows you to determine hip hop’s greatest crew.
Rather than having “experts” tell you who is the greatest of all time, this is your opportunity to collectively make that decision. After giving the opportunity to any and all fans to provide feedback on which crews should be included, 32 collectives from different regions, styles, and generations have been selected—all vying for that #1 spot. When the final battle is over and the last vote is cast, you will have determined who is your Greatest Rap Crew of All Time.
The Round 4 semifinals will see a clash of regional leaders from the West Coast and the Dirty South. The Death Row Family has fought off execution, defeating TDE, N.W.A. & The Possé, and the Hieroglyphics crew to reach this point. They meet a major force in YMCMB, who has already bested So So Def, the No Limit Soldiers, and T.I.’s Grand Hustle. Notably, the Cash Money movement took shape right as Death Row’s run was halted by tragedies, and incarceration. In the years since, Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne have collaborated, along with ties to Drake, Juvenile, and Tyga. Dr. Dre produced a single for Mack 10’s days running with the YMCMR crew. There was also a time in the early 2000s, where Juvy reportedly spent weeks working with The Death Row Family. Birdman has publicly stated that he modeled his Black-owned empire after Death Row, while the YMCMB reign has arguably outlasted Tha Row’s initial run—though Snoop Dogg’s acquisition may change the forecast. This semi-final matchup sets the table for great debate, as only one of these crews can go forth.
In this celebration of hip hop and all of its talented crews, your vote decides the winner, so vote and make your choice in the box below.
Who’s The G.O.A.T. Rap Crew? Death Row Family vs YMCMB | Round 4
DEATH ROW FAMILY
Defeated Hieroglyphics in Round 1
Defeated N.W.A. & The Posse in Round 2
Defeated TDE in Round 3
Between 1992 and 1997, being stranded on Death Row was a great thing. Beyond just a label, Dr. Dre’s third crew (after World Class Wreckin’ Crew and N.W.A.) offered a clean slate creatively and a breeding ground for ill MCs needing the doctor’s treatment. In this space, Dre and his cohorts used the G-Funk sound to take authentic-minded gangsta rap to the mainstream. This ensemble was fresh and distinct. Snoop Doggy Dogg possessed a smooth delivery and a conversational flow, while The Narrator RBX sounded sinister and robotic. The Lady Of Rage exuded confidence on the mic, making her a standout, and Tha Dogg Pound quickly proved themselves as stars far beyond Snoop’s affiliates.
This movement also included off-label stars like Dre’s half-brother Warren G and DJ Quik. Dre’s “The Chronic” was a hot box of ensemble talent, a motif that carried over to “Doggystyle.” Songs like “Stranded On Death Row,” “Lyrical Gangbang,” and the vinyl rarity “Puffin’ On Blunts And Drankin’ Tanqueray” were domineering posse cuts with artists who brandished their Row affiliation like a fraternity and rapped together with explosive chemistry. Soundtracks offered places for collaboration and fellowship, including with Tupac Shakur, who joined the squad upon his 1995 prison release.
Five years into his career, Tupac shifted his sound and message to mesh with the Death Row ethos—evident in songs like “California Love” and “2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted.” Death Row albums and compilations topped the pop charts seven times during the 1990s. With Snoop Dogg recently acquiring Death Row, he’s been putting the gang back together—and everybody’s celebratin’.
Defeated Grand Hustle in Round 1
Defeated No Limit Soldiers in Round 2
Defeated So So Def in Round 3
Few crews, if any, can say they spawned a second wave as successfully as YMCMB. Cash Money Millionaires introduced themselves to the mainstream “as an army” in the late 1990s, with The Hot Boys and Big Tymers combining their fame while flaunting their fortunes in flamboyant style. Cash Money stood apart through luxury car convoys, matching chain medallions, and using hometown slang over booming bounce beats.
Anthems like Juvenile’s “Back That Azz Up,” Lil Wayne’s “Tha Block Is Hot,” and B.G.’s “Bling, Bling” each featured multiple artists on Mannie Fresh productions. A decade later, when Weezy was intent on making Young Money just as dynamic and successful as Cash Money, the additions of Drake and Nicki Minaj would give popular culture two of its biggest stars in one year. Drake has become a record-breaking superstar on the charts. Nicki has had over 100 Billboard Hot 100 entries and is the first female artist credited with over 100 million certified units sold.
The collective showed out on the seven-times-platinum “Bedrock,” “Only,” and “I Made It (Cash Money Heroes).” This crew's love has extended to other Young Money Cash Money Billionaires, including Tyga, DJ Khaled, and the Rich Gang collective. Over 20 years after Cash Money’s initial breakthrough, Juvenile and Cash Money co-founder Birdman’s collaboration album showed that loyalty is royalty.
EDITOR's NOTE: Register for the sweepstakes for a chance to win the grand prize of (2) two tickets to the 2023 BET Awards, (2) two round-trip airline tickets, and a 2-night hotel stay on June 25. Up your chances to win by voting weekly.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID OUTSIDE OF THE 50 U.S. & D.C. AND WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. & D.C. who are 18 years of age or older at the time of entry. Ends at 12:00 p.m. ET on June 9, 2023. Official Rules: bet.com/grcoat-official-rules. Sponsor: Black Entertainment Television.
- Gayle King Helped Plan Son's Recent Engagement"And I now have a favorite daughter-in-law to be,” said the "CBS Mornings" co-host.02/27/2024
- Keyshia Cole Surprises Middle Schoolers With “Love” Performance During RecitalThe Grammy-nominated singer performed with students at the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta.02/27/2024
- ‘Where Is Wendy Williams?’ Producers Claim They Didn’t Know The Famed Host Was Diagnosed With Dementia"If we had known that Wendy had dementia going into it, no one would’ve rolled a camera,” said producer Mark Ford.02/27/2024
- Diddy Accused of Sexual Assault By Former Male EmployeeThe allegations against the entertainment mogul come from a former producer and videographer who most recently worked on the "Love" album.02/27/2024
- Halle Berry And Halle Bailey Link Up At Soccer Game In Los Angeles"I was living for this moment!!" said "The Little Mermaid" star.02/27/2024
- Beyoncé’s ‘Texas Hold ‘Em’ Takes the Number One Spot On Billboard Hot 100The song is her ninth number-one hit on the chart and her first since “Break My Soul” in 2022.02/27/2024