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.
Quality Control and So So Def represent two Atlanta-based movements 20 years apart. Both crews embraced the voice and energy of the youth and developed artists to grow into stars. These squads, which include artists such as the Migos, Bow Wow, Lil Baby, Da Brat, and Jermaine Dupri provided new sounds, emphasizing collaborations and compilations and branding the crew as not just a label or roster but a lifestyle. Atlanta became—and continues to be a Black music destination because of So So Def and Quality Control. However, as the Dirty South bracket consolidates from eight crews to four, only one hit-making outfit can remain.
Since the mid-2010s, Quality Control has become one of rap's most dominant crews. Based in Atlanta, Quality Control made everlasting introductions with the Migos, Lil Baby, City Girls, and Lil Yachty, among others. Beginning a decade ago, the trap trio of Migos used the momentum from mixtapes to drive culture and resurrect a bygone triplet flow. Their 2017 “Culture” album topped the charts, earned multiple Grammy nominations, and had the world singing "Bad and Boujee." Coach K and Pee launched their Quality Control company with Migos but used opportunities to nurture a crew more than simply a label.
Lil Yachty—a mild-mannered artist with PG-13 lyrical content recorded to trap beats–followed the formula of standout mixtapes leading to statement albums. Migos' members and Yachty thrived together on “Control The Streets, Vol. 1,” a 2017 bookend to “Culture's” success.
Collaboration singles reached the charts, as Quality Control became a brand associated with originality, success, and a new Atlanta sound. By 2018, the crew had expanded with another ATL voice. Lil Baby became one of rap's newest superstars with “Harder Than Ever.” With 2019's sophomore album, “My Turn,” the artist who was prompted to rap by Coach K, released his first of three chart-topping albums.
The expanded Quality Control bonded together on a second compilation project. “Control The Streets” found Yachty and Migos collaborating again, and Lil Baby working with City Girls—another hit-making act in the family. Lil Boat has made multiple gold records with his crew mates, including “Mickey” and “Who Want The Smoke?.” Quality Control has lived up to its name with artist development, putting its chips on the home team, and emphasis on constantly upgrading the product.
So So Def
Even before building a record company, super producer Jermaine Dupri was hard at work building the So So Def crew. The son of a music executive and former Whodini dancer made waves by developing and producing Kris Kross. 1992's “Totally Krossed Out” topped the charts with two adolescents who rapped to funk-driven beats. The backward-clothes-wearing Mac Daddy and Daddy Mack landed on Michael Jackson tours (and videos), as they had the world jumping along to their hits.
By the time their sophomore album, “Da Bomb” was released, Jermaine brought Chicago's Da Brat onto the title single. Within a year, she would release a platinum debut featuring JD on its title track, "Funkdafied," and involving other So So Def crew members. Over the next decade, with Dupri at the helm (and launching his solo career), the So So Def family blossomed across iterations. Lil Bow Wow became the crew's next adolescent success story, responsible for several platinum releases.
On remixes since the collective's inception, the So So Def crew has brought their tight-knit allegiance, including renditions of Jagged Edge's "Where's The Party At?," Destiny's Child's "Jumpin' Jumpin'," and Dem Franchise Boyz' 2005 "I Think They Like Me" posse cut remix.
Despite pulling from Atlanta, Chicago, and Columbus, Ohio, the So So Def crew moved as a family—something that has existed regardless of the label releasing the music. So So Def has been an apt name for a crew whose musical legacy has endured for more than 30 years.
In this celebration of hip hop and all of its talented crews, your vote decides the winner.
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 May 1, 2023. Official Rules: bet.com/grcoat-official-rules. Sponsor: Black Entertainment Television.