The world of hip hop thrives on collaboration. At times, this takes the form of electrifying rap supergroups, an amalgamation of formidable talents forming like Voltron. These alliances often represent the convergence of different styles, experiences, and sonic landscapes, producing a unique synthesis that reverberates through the rap game.
Run the Jewels, for instance, emerged as a seismic force, their socially-charged bars and innovative beats shaking up the status quo. Equally formidable, the dynamic duo of Method Man & Redman, hailing from two of the greatest rap collectives of all time, the Wu-Tang Clan and Def Squad respectively, brought a raw, unfiltered energy that seeped into the hip-hop consciousness.
Boot Camp Clik left an enduring impact on East Coast hip hop with their no-nonsense, street-savvy lyricism, while Deltron 3030 painted vast dystopian soundscapes, demonstrating the genre’s capacity to transcend traditional boundaries. And who could overlook the menacing synergy of Gravediggaz, whose fusion of horrorcore and hardcore rap carved its own niche in hip-hop culture? These supergroups and others of their caliber symbolize the essence of hip-hop: bold, innovative, and perpetually pushing the envelope.
So let’s get into it. From Black Hippy, Bankroll Mafia and Slaughterhouse to PRhyme, Czarface and Kids See Ghosts, here are the top 20 best rap supergroups of all time.
20. Child Rebel Soldier
Essential listening: “Us Placers”, “Don’t Stop!”
When we’re about the biggest what-ifs in hip hop history, Child Rebel Soldier has to be right up there in that conversation. This trio comprised of Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and Pharrell Williams had the potential to redefine the game. In 2007, they teased listeners with “Us Placers,” a cut off Kanye’s mixtape, Can’t Tell Me Nothing. Despite the song’s brilliance and the tantalizing promise it held, the trio never released a full project — although they did drop another track, “Don’t Stop”, as a part of Kanye’s GOOD Fridays series.
19. La Coka Nostra
Essential listening: A Brand You Can Trust (2009)
La Coka Nostra, a group formed from the seeds of gritty ’90s hip-hop, is a supergroup that cuts no corners. Consisting of Ill Bill and Slaine, and rounded out by House of Pain’s Everlast, Danny Boy, and DJ Lethal, they brought together a potent blend of raw lyricism and unyielding beats. Their 2009 debut album A Brand You Can Trust was a punch to the gut of mainstream hip-hop, asserting the importance of substance over style. La Coka Nostra navigates the thin line between hardcore rap and political subversion, a trait that sets them apart in the supergroup constellation.
Essential listening: The Hard Way (2004)
Then on the opposite side of the hip hop spectrum, there’s 213, named after the original area code of Los Angeles, where members Snoop Dogg, Warren G, and Nate Dogg hail from. As childhood friends, their camaraderie was as authentic as it gets, and their 2004 album The Hard Way showcased the effortless cohesion between Snoop’s slick rhymes, Warren’s G-funk-infused production, and Nate’s smooth vocals. They may have come together later in their careers, but 213’s fluidity was a throwback to an era when rap was all about the neighborhood, the homies, and the shared love for the game.
17. Army of the Pharaohs
Essential listening: Ritual of Battle (2007)
An underground supergroup assembled by Jedi Mind Tricks’ frontman Vinnie Paz, Army of the Pharaohs boasts a line-up that reads like a who’s who of underground hip-hop: Apathy, Celph Titled, Esoteric, and Reef the Lost Cauze, to name a few. Their sound is dark, aggressive, often drawing from mystic and occult themes—a raw, unapologetic echo of the mid-’90s boom-bap era. Albums like The Torture Papers and Ritual of Battle deliver bar-heavy cyphers, showcasing each MC’s lyrical prowess. Army of the Pharaohs remains a testament to the raw spirit of collective underground hip-hop.
16. Bankroll Mafia
Essential listening: Bankroll Mafia (2016)
A Southern rap supergroup that came together like Voltron in the trap house, Bankroll Mafia has as deep a bench as any other rap act you can think of. Comprised of Atlanta heavyweights T.I., Young Thug, Shad da God, PeeWee Roscoe, and London Jae, their self-titled debut album in 2016 was a full clip of hits that showcased the breadth and depth of ATL’s trap scene. While each artist had their own solo success, when they came together, they crafted a body of work that was greater than the sum of its parts—each adding a unique flavor to the gumbo. Bankroll Mafia was a flash in the pan, but their impact on the trap landscape is undeniable.
15. Step Brothers
Essential listening: Lord Steppington (2014)
Step Brothers, the unification of hip hop artists Evidence and The Alchemist, made a distinct splash in the pool of hip-hop supergroups. Evidence, one-half of Dilated Peoples, and The Alchemist, a respected beatmaker and occasional spitter, brought their unique skill sets together on their debut album Lord Steppington. We’re talking about a collection of dense, sample-heavy beats overlaid with clever bars. These two brought the laid-back, West Coast vibes with a dash of East Coast griminess—never forgetting their roots while pushing boundaries. The result was a product that respected the essence of hip-hop, combining sharp lyricism and refined production in a perfect fusion.
14. Black Hippy
Essential listening: “Top Dawg Cypha”, “Black Lip Bastard (Remix)”, “The Recipe (Remix)”, “Swimming Pools (Remix)”, “Vice City”, “That Part (Black Hippy Remix)”
Composed of TDE label mates Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, and Jay Rock, this West Coast collective has been dishing out heat since 2009. While each member has a distinct style and approach, it’s their chemistry that makes them a potent ensemble. The contrast between Kendrick’s introspective lyricism, Schoolboy Q’s gangsta rap grit, Ab-Soul’s abstract ponderings, and Jay Rock’s streetwise narratives creates a vibrant sonic tapestry. Though they’ve yet to release a full-length project, every Black Hippy posse cut is a momentous occasion, underlining their undeniable prowess and synergy.
13. Bad Meets Evil
Essential listening: Hell: The Sequel (2011)
Now, let’s switch lanes and head on over to Detroit where we find Bad Meets Evil, the tag team act of longtime friends turned lyrical gods, Eminem and Royce da 5’9″. A pairing of one of the greatest MCs of all time with one of the most respected spitters in the game—each complementing the other’s style with surgical precision. Their joint project, Hell: The Sequel, showcased their insane chemistry, featuring their rapid-fire flows, intricate wordplay, and intense storytelling.
12. Kids See Ghosts
Essential listening: Kids See Ghosts (2018)
Kids See Ghosts, a supernova of creativity, is the amalgamation of two of the most influential figures in modern hip-hop: Kanye West and Kid Cudi. Their 2018 self-titled debut was an immersive journey through the minds of its creators, oscillating between haunting melodies and euphoric rap anthems. Standout cuts like “Reborn” and “4th Dimension” encapsulate the emotional depth and genre-bending exploration that define the duo. Their music, a nuanced reflection on mental health struggles and redemption, marked a seminal moment in hip-hop, transforming personal demons into cathartic, universal anthems.
Essential listening: On the House (2012)
Slaughterhouse, composed of lyrical titans Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz, Crooked I, and Royce da 5’9″, emerged as an answer to hip-hop’s call for an undiluted, pure rap group. Their raw lyricism and punchline-heavy style marked them as a powerhouse of the modern hip-hop era. The quartet’s eponymous debut album and the subsequent Welcome to Our House showcased their rhyming prowess, with bars that cut deep and beats that hit harder. Despite the group’s rollercoaster ride and eventual dissolution, Slaughterhouse’s impact on the landscape of lyric-driven hip-hop is undeniable, reminding us that, at its core, rap music is about the craft of rhyming.
10. Def Squad
Essential listening: El Niño (1998)
Putting the funk back into hip-hop, Def Squad were torchbearers of East Coast rap in the late ’90s. Redman, Erick Sermon, and Keith Murray, three heavyweights in their own right, were the alchemists behind this powerhouse. With Sermon’s groove-laden production and the trio’s razor-sharp rhymes, their ’98 debut El Niño was a masterstroke, showcasing the undeniable chemistry between these lyricists. Their music was a welcome deviation, pulsing with an infectious energy at a time when hip-hop was mostly exploring its darker hues.
Essential listening: Czarface (2013)
The meeting of minds between Inspectah Deck and the underground duo 7L & Esoteric birthed the beast known as Czarface. The lyrical supergroup was an unapologetic salute to the golden-era of East Coast hip-hop, marked by labyrinthine rhymes, dense wordplay, and comic-book flavored themes. Their discography boasts several standout albums, from their self-titled debut to the MF DOOM-featured Czarface Meets Metal Face, each one a testament to their ability to blend ’90s nostalgia with fresh creativity. In the realm of rap supergroups, Czarface is a beacon of the past illuminating the path forward.
8. Westside Connection
Essential listening: Bow Down (1996)
The West Coast witnessed an all-star lineup when Ice Cube, WC, and Mack 10 came together as Westside Connection. Their 1996 debut album Bow Down was a G-funk-laden masterpiece that reminded the world that the West Coast was still in the building post-N.W.A. “Gangsta Nation,” “The Gangsta, The Killa, and The Dope Dealer,”—these tracks became the sonic manifesto of the West Coast’s gritty reality, dripping with territorial pride and unapologetic in their commitment to repping their roots.
7. The Firm
Essential listening: The Album (1997)
Coming straight out of New York and assembling under the stewardship of Dr. Dre and Trackmasters, The Firm comprised Nas, AZ, Foxy Brown, and Nature, a quartet promising the East Coast’s elite lyricism. Despite their 1997 album, The Firm: The Album receiving mixed reviews at the time, the legacy of the project has grown in retrospect, admired for its cinematic mafioso rap theme. Standout tracks like “Phone Tap” and “Firm Biz” underline the raw talent of each member, showcasing intricate narratives woven into complex rhymes, making The Firm a compelling moment in the annals of hip-hop history.
Essential listening: PRhyme (2014)
Slinking out of the shadows of individual success, Royce Da 5’9″ and DJ Premier joined forces to form PRhyme. Their eponymous 2014 debut album leveled up the underground, echoing the boom-bap heartbeat of classic hip-hop while pushing boundaries. DJ Premier’s masterful sampling of Adrian Younge’s compositions sparked a synergy with Royce’s multifaceted lyricism. The project not only redefined their careers but also underscored the timeless appeal of authentic, no-frills hip-hop.
Essential listening: 6 Feet Deep (1994)
The Gravediggaz, spearheaded by Prince Paul and RZA, were the dark knights of hip-hop. Their 1994 debut 6 Feet Deep was not just an album—it was a portal into an alternate realm, where horrorcore met biting social commentary. The Gravediggaz fused the grotesque with the profound, spinning tales of macabre wrapped in biting critiques of social ills. With tracks like “Diary of a Madman” and “1-800 Suicide,” they used the language of horror to shed light on the real-life nightmares of the disenfranchised, redefining the artistic possibilities of hip-hop in the process.
4. Deltron 3030
Essential listening: Deltron 3030 (2000)
Imagine a dystopian universe where Del the Funky Homosapien, Dan the Automator, and Kid Koala coexist. That’s Deltron 3030 for you. In their 2000 self-titled project, the trio dialed up a concept album of epic proportions. Del’s out-of-this-world rhymes synced perfectly with Dan’s futuristic beats, while Kid Koala’s turntablism added layers of complexity. Deltron 3030 wasn’t just an album—it was a gateway to a sonic multiverse where hip-hop played the language of space-time.
3. Boot Camp Clik
Essential listening: The Chosen Few (2002)
Boot Camp Clik were the Avengers of the East Coast hip-hop scene. Comprised of Black Moon, Smif-N-Wessun, Heltah Skeltah, and O.G.C., the squad’s deep roots in the underground gifted us the solid 1997 album For the People and its superior follow-up The Chosen Few in 2002. It’s a strong body of work that showcased their gritty lyricism over raw, minimalistic beats, telling tales from the streets of Brooklyn, painting a vivid picture of the ’90s concrete jungle. They repped the essence of New York hip-hop, preserving its golden-age glow while leaving their distinctive boot prints on its timeline.
2. Method Man & Redman
Essential listening: Blackout! (1999)
Uniting the fiery force of the Wu-Tang Clan’s Method Man with the animated dynamism of Def Squad’s Redman was nothing short of a masterstroke. This dynamic duo dropped Blackout! in 1999, a genre-defining work that was equal parts humorous, funky and banging. With an uncanny camaraderie and seamless synergy, their lyrical gymnastics over gritty yet bouncy East Coast beats cemented them as a veritable powerhouse of rap, an explosive combination of rap’s most influential collectives.
1. Run the Jewels
Essential listening: Run the Jewels (2013)
Run The Jewels, the brainchild of El-P and Killer Mike, is a testament to rap’s capability of breaking the mold. From their inaugural release in 2013 to their latest work — 2020’s RTJ4 — the duo’s hard-hitting lyricism, socially conscious themes, and El-P’s industrial, futuristic beats have created an unparalleled sonic experience. Their synergistic dynamic has cemented them as one of the most vital voices in modern hip-hop. They embody the essence of a supergroup, combining individual prowess to create a sound greater than the sum of its parts, underlining the potential of collaboration in hip-hop’s continuous evolution.