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To Black Out? Or Not Black Out? Guest Verse Infamy….


Rappers don’t black out anymore. The phrase feels like it’a in danger of becoming extinct, because no one loses their mind on the mic these days. You can always tell when someone blacks out—it sounds like they’re channeling spirits from another dimension (see: Lamar, Kendrick; “Control”). They seem to tap into a secret part of their energy. Picture that final scene from the Exorcist, but instead in the booth.

In the interest of remembering when rappers blacked out on the reg, we compiled ten examples of MCs going ape shit. Let us know who your picks are in the comments.

Half-A-Mill “Quiet Money” (Feat. AZ) [2000]

Mill sounds like he’s wildin’ in the booth on that third verse. You can hear him get more and more agitated as he progresses through his bars. Take your pick of outstanding lines—bet you’ll pick, “Cut your arms off, in case you got tricks up your sleeve.” Half-A-Mill isn’t nearly as revered as he should be today.

Mobb Deep “Eye For An Eye” (Feat. Nas, Raekwon & Ghostface Killah) [Unreleased]

Mobb Deep dropped The Infamous Mobb Deep today, but the selling point is the second disc full of remastered demos and unreleased tracks. This is the lead track for obvious reasons, especially because Toney Starks sounds possessed on this one. This list could honestly be ten Ghost verses (Ed. Note: Holler!); that’s how insane he was on the mic.

Ghostface Killah “Winter Warz” (Feat. U-God, Masta Killa & Cappadonna) [1996]

Cappadon hit his peak on Ironman, first with his verse on “Iron Maiden” and then on his famous black out session on “Winter Warz.” He basically invented the term “black out” with this verse. Be clear—his telephone number will always be more iconic than Mike Jones’.

Nas “H To The Omo [200]”

Everybody remembers “Ether” as the definitive blockbuster of the Nas vs. Jay-Z beef, but why don’t more people bring up the fact that Nas murdered the “Paid In Full” break? Nas comes so nice it’s easy to rewind this at least five times straight. Notice also how he says from here on out he’ll be putting puzzles in his album covers for people to decipher. Hence the theories surrounding the Stillmatic cover art.

Big Pun “Twins (Deep Cover ’98)” (Feat. Fat Joe) [1998]

“Dead in the middle of Little Italy/Little did we know, that we riddled some middleman who didn’t know diddily.” Say that five times fast. Pun had a habit of blacking out in all the right places, but most people remember this instance for blowing their cap.

E-Money Bags “Friend Of Ours” (Feat. Nature & Kool G Rap) [1999]

E-Money Bags, along with Half-A-Mill, is another deceased rapper whose impact is still felt today. In 1999 he released In E Money Bags We Trust and on it Kool G Rap spazzes out with the final verse for “Friend Of Ours.” This isn’t for the squeamish—by the end of his verse, G Rap is talking about cutting out your mother’s ovaries. Lord.

Dr. Dre “Puffin’ On Blunts And Drankin’ Tanqueray” (Feat. Daz, Kurupt & The Lady Of Rage) [1992]

This is a mostly East Coast collection and I apologize for the bias, but what Kurupt does to this “Dre Day” B-side should make up for almost every other verse here. When Dre said he had Kurupt there to wreck shit, he was dead serious. It’s perhaps one of Kurupt’s greatest verses ever.

Cormega “Tony Montana” (Feat. Ghostface Killah) [2004]

Say the phrase “black out” to any hardcore rap head and there’s a good chance “Tony Montana” will be the first song they blurt out. Ghostface does impossible things to this beat—listening to it is like watching “Fantasia” for the first time, and Ghost is every reality-defying phenomenon that Mickey has to deal with.

Canibus “Poet Laureate II” [2003]

Canibus has to be one of the most unfortunate cases in rap history. Not once did he drop a dope album, despite being one of the most hyped MCs ever. So the life of a battle rapper goes. But many point to “Poet Laureate II” as his peak, and though he could have other entries on this list, it’s his versatility that shines here. The way he strangles that second beat with jewels still gives me chills.

Kendrick Lamar “Look Out For Detox” [2010]

Okay, I know I said rappers don’t black out anymore, but Kendrick Lamar (and sometimes Eminem) does. When this video went up in 2010, it was K. Dot’s break through. This was that one song you showed people to split their wig and convince them Kendrick was next. When a rapper runs out of breath, it can go two ways—he’s either wack with his breath control or he’s spitting his lung out. Guess which one Kendrick does here?

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