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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.
In this celebration of hip hop and all of its talented crews, your vote decides the winner.
Who’s the G.O.A.T. Rap Crew? YMCMB vs No Limit Soldiers | Round 2
In the late 1990s, hip-hop fans nationwide began paying close attention to the New Orleans sound. The two biggest crews out of the city were the No Limit Soldiers and Cash Money. Both had stacked rosters of talent that captured the struggle and glory of the city, recorded to brooding beats that sometimes celebrated the region’s bounce music sound. From the very beginning, fans compared the two crews and measured their depth and talent. To complicate matters, Mystikal had dissed Cash Money before formally joining No Limit, prompting some real-life run-ins and responses from B.G. and others.
There was cross-pollination between the crews as well. Curren$y, a former member of the 504 Boyz, broke out as Lil Wayne’s protege at Young Money, while Mystikal eventually landed at YMCMB. As Weezy contemplated a life outside Cash Money, Master P publicly offered to work with his former crosstown rival-turned-collaborator. A quarter-century after those initial 1998 comparisons, this tournament has led fans to size up the No Limit Soldiers against the YMCM Billionaires once again—even as both entities contain superstars from far beyond New Orleans. P’s crew defeated Rap-A-Lot to advance, while YMCMB bested Grand Hustle to reach Round 2. Only one of these crews can move forward to Round 3.
NO LIMIT SOLDIERS
(defeated Rap-A-Lot in Round 1)
Percy Miller's New Orleans movement combined elements of his city's bounce music sound with lyrics drawing from Master P's time in Richmond, California. After an onslaught of indie music throughout the 1990s, the No Limit tank gained massive momentum in 1997. In that year and the two that followed, No Limit released nearly 50 albums—an astounding number, particularly for an independent record label. Part of what allowed No Limit’s prolific output was the in-house production team, Beats By The Pound, whose output was both commercially successful and distinctive.
As Master P and Mia X cracked (and topped) the charts, No Limit emphasized its crew loyalty through feature-packed albums, high-profile compilation work, and using its successful artists to market emerging voices from Louisiana to Oakland. No Limit often released multiple CD inserts (compact discs were the most popular music format at the time) showcasing new music from other No Limit acts.
Ahead of his multi-platinum success, P's brother Silkk The Shocker was a fixture on early No Limit hits, with Fiend and the boisterous Mystikal using these launchpads for their solo plaques and recognition. When P's company bought Snoop Dogg's Death Row Records recording contract, rather than keep the dealings to business, Snoop relocated to Louisiana and immersed himself in the squad, charting songs with P, C-Murder, Fiend, and Mystikal. As he had done with TRU, Master P grouped units like the 504 Boyz to represent the crew, and brand new artists, including a young Curren$y. Twenty-plus years later, following BET's 2020 “No Limit Chronicles” docuseries, many No Limit Soldiers continue to tour together.
(defeated Grand Hustle in Round 1)
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.
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