"All of y'all need to one yourself!/ Go get the burner, nigga, bang yourself!"The 90s had Bad Boy. The early 2000s, though, had Roc-A-Fella (or Roc La Familia).
For a second, from like 1998-2001, it was kind of a two-way tie between the Roc and Ruff Ryders. But then Drag-On disappeared, Eve started doing sitcoms, and X couldn't put the pipe down. Needless to say, the Diamond Family kinda won out.
Beans and Freeway were basically the Robin and Nightwing to Jay-Z's Batman. Then Kanye West dropped "The College Dropout" in 2004 to keep the movement moving. Memphis Bleek was there too, but he's still there now, and nobody cares any more or less than they did then. (Sidebar: Why is he still wearing a durag? In 2009??)
As is usually the case with these rap guys, as soon as they got on, they decided to start a supergroup with every other rap guy that they knew growing up. In the case of Sigel and Freeway, they started a conglomerate of Philadelphia rap guys called State Property. Then they released a movie called (you guessed it!) "State Property." This song, of course, was on the soundtrack.
Beanie came out in 2000 with the Kanye-produced "The Truth." The first time I heard Freeway, though, was when he ripped a freestyle live on Hot 97. Jay had brought the whole Roc fam to the radio station to freestyle, and I set up shop with my portable radio and recordable cassette tape, ready to save the goodness. (This is before the days of mp3's. Don't act like you never taped your own mixtape.) They collectively went in for about 20 minutes, and it was pure crack. Freeway, though, really stood out (go to about the 1:20 mark). I don't know if he was necessarily that much better than the other guys, or if it was just because his voice was so unique.
Freeway, of course, performs the best with the beat on.