BATTLE CRY - Eight Retro Hip Hop Conflict Cuts

Put up yer dukes.

Played in arenas around the world as well as providing theme songs to many ring entrances, some Hip Hop tracks are perfect for warning folks about them hands. Even if your adversary is just an exhausting workout or a very neglected garage, here are eight examples of Hip Hop’s finest lyrical beatdowns from the 80s & 90s to get your through the fight.

Method Man - Bring The Pain
Riding a haunting minimalist beat, Method Man goes off on his trademark growl ‘n wow style that weaves dense wordplay into giant tapestries of devastation. If you have ever wondered how he can be such a standout in a group of superheroes like Wu-Tang, this quintessential track proves Meth’s unquestioned brilliance. It also gave you an excuse to drop an out of place “tical!” whenever you needed it.

Illest line:
In your Cross Colour, clothes you've crossed over
Then got Totally Krossed Out and Kris Kross
Who da boss? Niggaz get tossed to the side
And I'm the dark side of the Force

Redman - Time 4 Sum Aksion
The personification of “get funky”, Redman has been delivering grimy songs for every occasion. He and Erick Sermon hooked the track up, using a great sample of B-Real’s voice (which shows up later in this list) along with plenty of fight metaphors to rock an arena. Combine that with Funk Doc’s excitable flow and you have perhaps the best ring entrance song ever made, Drederick Tatum Mike Tyson approved.

Illest line:
The Funkadelic Devil, hit you with the rap level of 10
Then 1, 2, 3 You're pinned
I get action, so everybody jump wit your rump
If you like the way it sounds punk,
Pump it in your back trunk

Dr Dre - Lyrical Gangbang (Feat. Lady of Rage, Kurupt & RBX)
Far too raw for pumping through arena speakers, this song is an intimidating beast. Three hungry rookie MCs absolute devour this joint using distinct styles, cold blooded lyrics and supreme confidence. I guess you better jump all over a track if Dre is gonna use one of the hardest drumbeats in Rock ‘n Roll, a Led Zeppelin masterpiece.

Illest line:
So feel the wrath, nigga, I rip in half niggas
Ya quick to talk shit I whip your ass nigga
So watch me blast, nigga, cuz I'm the last nigga
ya wanna fuck wit, so up your cash, nigga

Public Enemy - Welcome to the Terrordome
If you’re the away team and you hear your hosts playing this as you arrive, you may need to reconsider messing with them fools. Forged by the amazing Bomb Squad production team and featuring the amazing Chuck-D, the unrelenting samples are a perfect backdrop to the best voice in Hip Hop to flow his trademark off kilter & political rhymes. I’ve practiced saying “here the drummer get wicked” for years just to honor the song properly.

Illest line:
How to fight the power
Cannot run and hide
But it shouldn't be suicide
In a game a fool without the rules
Got a hell of a nerve to just criticize

Kool Moe Dee - I Go To Work
Sometimes you just need to outsmart your opponent to the win the battle. Thankfully to Hip Hop, Kool Moe Dee has intelligence in spades to pull it off. A lyrical beast since the seventies, KMD’s prowess on the mic is unapologetically on full display. Yeah, yeah, it’s a great hype song, but the wordplay used is straight up a master class on how to be g-o-d on the mic. Super slick, profoundly clever and appearing effortless as only an expert could pull off.

Illest line:
Cause my foundation built a nation of rappers
And after I came off vacation
I came to roam
The land I own
And stand alone on the microphone
Daddy's home

DMX - Ruff Ryder’s Anthem
Man, DMX wasn’t messing around with this street anthem. Backed up by an army of Ruff Ryders, X drags you through the grimiest part of the city with nothing but bad intentions on his mind. This track hits like an entire borough is taking turns throwing punches in your direction, with the Dark Man acting as the conductor of madness.

Illest line:
I resort to violence (what)
My niggaz move in silence (what)
Like you don't know what our style is (what)
New York niggas the wildest (what)

Cypress Hill - How I Could Just Kill A Man
The hypest from Cypress made one of the easiest concepts to understand figuratively but insanely difficult literally. Regardless, if you don’t try to yell the title with Sen Dog every time he drops it, then you really ain’t living on the same planet that I’m living on. B-Real’s nasally vocals are perfect for exploring this half playing, half serious indirect threat to a livelihood.

Illest line:
Time for some action just a fraction of friction
I got the clearance to run the interference
in to your satellite shining a battle light
Sen got the gat and I know that we'll gat you right

LL Cool J - Mama Said Knock You Out
As soon as you heard “don’t call it a comeback”, you knew it was on. LL Cool J definitely needed an injection of rawness to his career when this came out and boy did he deliver. This was “I’m Bad” LL. This was “Rock The Bells” LL. This was James Todd the man and LL Cool J the MC merging into a supernatural force that cleared off a corner on Farmers Boulevard and announced to everyone that the kid still don’t play.

Illest line:
I'm gonna tie you up and let you understand
that I'm not your average man
when I got a jammy in my hand
DAAAAAM!!!!! Oooooohh!!
Listen to the way I slaaaaay, your crew

Any song left out? Leave your fave or a modern conflict cut in the comments below.
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