Who Killed It?: Ma$e, ’24 Hours to Live (Feat. the Lox, Black Rob & DMX)
Welcome to Who Killed It?, our new column where we rank the verses on classic posse cuts from worst to first. This time around, we take a look at Ma$e‘s single ’24 Hours to Live’ featuring the Lox, Black Rob and DMX.
Let’s think back to 1997, the year Bad Boy reigned supreme. Though the untimely death of the Notorious B.I.G. cast a dark shadow over the label and the rap game in general, Diddy’s show could not and would not stop.
Puff Daddy’s newest protege at the time was a young, flashy, baby-faced Harlem rapper named Ma$e. Way before he turned pastor, Mason Betha was the “2” to Puff’s “1” and was poised to carry Bad Boy’s hit-making mantle. On Oct. 28, 1997, Ma$e released ‘Harlem World,’ a debut rap album replete with pop appeal and radio-ready hits — “shiny suit” rap in its most concentrated form. But while he was celebrated for his simple style and jiggy lyrics at the time, the artist formerly known as Murda Ma$e gave the world a glimpse of his sinister Children of the Corn side on the posse cut, ’24 Hours to Live.’
Featuring labelmates the Lox and Black Rob, and grimy Yonkers associate DMX, the song gives us six MCs detailing how they would spend the last day of their respective lives. The track was one of the best songs on the album and helped usher in the area code 914 hardcore of Ruff Ryders the Lox and DMX. But which one had the best verse?
We’ve got our opinion so check how we’ve ranked them below. Disagree? Leave a comment or cast a vote for the best verse in the poll at the bottom.
Listen to Ma$e’s ’24 Hours to Live’ Feat. the Lox, Black Rob & DMX
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Sixth Place: DMX
Although this was one of the high profile guest appearances that helped build X’s buzz, he gets the “good job, good effort” treatment on this one. Delivering an impassioned verse with the tenacity he’s famously known for, he decides to go out in a blaze of glory. But terroristic threats notwithstanding, this isn’t exactly his most memorable performance and doesn’t stand out in comparison to the other heat on this cut.
Fifth Place: Styles P
Before he was known as “Holiday” or “Panero,” Styles was simply that gravelly-voiced dude from the Lox that occasionally gave his raspy-voiced buddy Jadakiss a run for his money. That doesn’t happen on this particular outing, but Styles remains his nihilistic self, rapping, “If I Had 24 hours to live / I’d probably die on the fifth, run in the station, squeezing the inf’/ I’d be waiting to go to hell and bust down Satan / Styles own this s—, and I got spots vacant.” A solid verse from the Ghost but not enough to best the other talent on this list.
Fourth Place: Ma$e
Building much of his hype off killer guest appearances, it was only right for the Harlem wonder kid to kick off the ceremonies this go-round. Batting lead with a homefield advantage, he sends a “f— you” in the form of a bullet to his absentee father before becoming philanthropic for the rest of his 24. While we wouldn’t say that Betha got “murdered on his own s—” this verse was a little phoned in and could’ve been more inspired.
Third Place: Sheek Louch
Though he’s often viewed as the third wheel of the Lox, Sheek is no slouch on the mic. He proves this on ’24 Hours to Live,’ delivering hard-hitting bars like “Run all in Papi spot, put one in his head at the door / For the times that I paid for 20 and he gave me 12 / The other eight had to be baking soda by itself.” While he may not usually get the glory, Sheek gets much props for besting a few of the biggest names of the late ’90s on this one.
Second Place: Black Rob
A superb storyteller, Black Rob definitely made his presence known on this track. Darkly humorous, yet thoughtful quips like, “Thought of mama / Wrote her a note / We ain’t close / I hate her boyfriend / So [I]] put one in his throat” are golden. A little sexual satisfaction mixed in with a little revenge are how BR chooses to go out. It just so happens that dark wit and vivid imagination are his ingredients for a standout verse too.
First Place: Jadakiss
“If I had 24 hours to kick the bucket, f— it / I’d probably eat some fried chicken and drink a Nantucket” is a perfect example of Kiss’ deadly lyrical first step and should’ve been a warning that he was playing for keeps on this one. From getting a jar of weed from Branson with no plans of repayment to copping a useless lotto ticket, ‘Kiss does the most with his last day on earth and this royal flush of a verse for that matter.
Now that we’ve decided Al Queda Jada took the cake on this one, do you agree with our rankings? Or do you feel we completely dropped the ball?
Disagree? Leave a comment or cast a vote for the best verse in the poll below.