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(3) Quiet Storm (rmx) Freestyle (2001) Beanie Sigel, Sparks, Oschino, Young Chris, Freeway, Memphis Bleek (intro by Jay-Z & Funkmaster Flex)

Posse cuts are a great listen for a run, especially if the crew has obvious chemistry but distinct styles. The beauty of the freestyle posse cut is that you get the benefit of impassioned verses without being distracted by carefully constructed verses. You also get messy tracks that go on for far too long, which is perfect for a long run. On this one, Beanie and Free are joined by Sparks, Oschino, Young Chris and Memphis Bleek for an almost fifteen minute long freestyle to close out State Property’s visit to Funkmaster Flex’s radio show. Beans and Free are in the starter/closer role. Sigel delivers a powerful freestyle (that sounds like a written), but Omilio Sparks wins the first half of the track with a verse that goes from standard braggadocio to:

“This life I lead cost more than your Rolex, money
Cost my homie Nook his whole life, you heard me?
When he was here it was easy to love him like a brother
Now that he’s gone, I find it difficult to talk to his mother”

Neef and Chris are the palate cleansers. Neef delivers what every good posse cut needs – a competently delivered replacement level verse that allows the listener to digest the earlier verse and serves as a reminder (by contrast) of how good the other mcs really are. Young Chris’ appeal is tied to his relative youth. The best part of his verse are the frequent reminders from Jay-Z that ‘he’s sixteen!’ and his offers to provide a birth certificate. Chris would release some stellar songs in the years following this freestyle, but this isn’t his best work. Freeway delivers the knockout blow. His lyrics are fine, but his energy and flow are truly memorable. The ghost of Memphis Bleek makes an unexpected appearance at the very end of the track to remind us of the many times when Jay tried to convince us that Bleek had next. Bleek does his best with an aggressively delivered generic verse. There’s something sad about the fact that Bleek’s career was mostly defined by the gulf between the bright future predicted by Jay-Z on songs and skits and the ordinary music Bleek put out. His verses were mostly unremarkable. His delivery and flow were competent, but indistinguishable from ‘your buddy who likes to write verses and join the occasional cypher’. His production was good, but all second tier Roc-a-Fella, the tracks that Jay rejected. His albums weren’t bad, but had no reason for existing. The crew cheers the end of Bleek’s verse, when he declares that he’s “ghetto like using a lighter to write your name on the ceiling”. It’s an evocative line, but he slightly rushes his delivery. In some weird way, the crew’s enthusiasm makes his delivery sound slightly more clumsy. Free follows with an impromptu perfectly delivered verse that makes Bleek sound like an amateur.

It is a star making moment for an mc who came very close to becoming a star.

To hear it for yourself, check out the third track from the Running Mix 0 post linked below.

More soon.

Running Mix 0

Running Mix 1: The Devil’s In Him Lord, Open His Eyes

Running Mix 2: I’m Still Running With Cats That Rob