IMG_7168 Pro Era. Photo: Dakarai Francis

Back before everybody released biopics and monthly three-minute web edits, there were cliques in surf videos. Gangs, crews and clans of surfers. The Momentum Generation. The …Lost Boys. The Coolie Kids. The Modern Collective. Very quickly, you could surmise that: Benji was fun. Mick was jocky. Dion was artsy. You felt like you knew these guys better in large crews because the unit gave you perspective, and it was easier to idolize one guy when you could stand him up against his peers. Those vids sharpened your palate. After watching, you could actually say "He's my favorite surfer.

Like surf videos, session-based albums and part-based songs within mainstream hip-hop aren't as popular as one-man shows. Sure, there's Jay-Z featuring so-and-so, but usually everybody wants to be a star. Enter Brooklyn's Pro Era. They're about the size of a graduating class and young enough to have barely just graduated. Ranging from 12 to 20 members, there's Joey Bada$$ at the helm, followed by CJ Fly, T'nah, Capital STEEZ, Kirk Knight, Rokamouth, A La Sole, Chuck Strangers, Dirty Sanchez and quite a few others. Harkening a mid-90s hip-hop sound that's New York-and-nothing-else, you get the feeling these kids worshipped Nas' 1994 Illmatic album.

But the best part about Pro Era tracks is when a song has over six dudes on it, you get to choose your favorite rapper. You get to form an alliance. Like how you used to with Taylor Steele's flicks. Ours is Joey Bada$$. And yours? –Beau Flemister