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Mobb Deep

As golden age rap suddenly gave way to West Coast gangsta in the early '90s, an East Coast variety of hardcore rap arose in turn, with Mobb Deep initially standing tall as one of New York's hardcore figureheads on the basis of their epochal album The Infamous. Released in April 1995, The Infamous was released almost exactly a year after Illmatic and about a half year after Ready to Die -- the debut masterpieces of Nas and the Notorious B.I.G., respectively, both albums likewise of momentous significance for East Coast hardcore rap. On The Infamous, Mobb Deep (comprised of Prodigy and Havoc) set the tone for future generations of hardcore New York rappers, from G-Unit to Dipset. Subsequent releases from the duo were likewise influential, especially Hell on Earth (1996). However, by the late '90s, Mobb Deep was no longer setting trends; in fact, they seemed to be following them, and they lost some of their stature as subsequent generations of hardcore rappers arose. For a few years, Mobb Deep struggled to reclaim their commercial standing, until they eventually drifted into the G-Unit camp, where they signed a lucrative deal to join 50 Cent and company. Blood Money (2006), Mobb Deep's first release under the G-Unit banner, rekindled interest in the veteran duo, who enjoyed a substantial uptick in sales and airplay.

Prodigy (Albert Johnson, born November 2, 1974) and Havoc (Kejuan Muchita, born May 21, 1974) grew up in Queens, specifically the Queensbridge area, yet met in Manhattan, where both were students at Graphic Arts High School. Their shared love of hip-hop resulted in a natural companionship, and while they were still teens, the two young men had themselves a record deal with 4th & Broadway, a major rap label affiliated with Island Records. In 1993, the label released Juvenile Hell, a confrontational album featuring noteworthy production work by DJ Premier and Large Professor, who both within a year's time would move on to produce the debut of another young Queensbridge rapper, Nas. Not much came of Juvenile Hell, however, and it would be two more years before Mobb Deep would return.

When they did return in 1995, it was on a different label, Loud Records, and with a significantly developed approach. The Infamous featured a mammoth street anthem, "Shook Ones, Pt. 2," but it was a solid album all around, featuring also the in-house production work of Havoc and a couple high-profile features (Nas, Raekwon). The Infamous was more hardcore than its two key stylistic predecessors, Illmatic and Ready to Die; the beats were darker and harder-hitting while the rhymes were downright threatening yet still inventive and crafty. Moreover, there were no crossover hits like "Big Poppa" or "Juicy." In fact, there were no light moments at all. The Infamous was an uncompromising album for the streets, and it was championed as such.

A year later, in 1996, Mobb Deep returned with a follow-up, Hell on Earth, which was a little slicker than The Infamous yet still emphasized hardcore motifs. It spawned a couple hit singles that were given appropriately theatrical videos. At this point, hardcore rap was at its peak, with Death Row Records flourishing on the West Coast and a legion of New Yorkers jumping into the scene, following the lead of Nas, the Notorious B.I.G., and Mobb Deep. So when it took over two years for Mobb Deep to return with a new album, Murda Muzik, not released until April 1999, the rap landscape had changed significantly. Mobb Deep now had significant competition, and since Murda Muzik offered few innovations and lacked the spark of the duo's past two albums, it was met with some disappointment. By and large, fans enjoyed it, yet the album didn't appeal beyond the already established fan base, as the album only offered one major hit, "Quiet Storm." The following year, Prodigy released a solo album, H.N.I.C. (2000). It got a lukewarm reception, appealing to the duo's fan base yet spawning no hits.

When Mobb Deep resurfaced, in December 2001 with Infamy, they showcased a new willingness to reach beyond their fan base. "Hey Luv" was issued as a single, and it was the first Mobb Deep song to flirt with R&B crossover, or even to mention love, for that matter. The song got some airplay, thanks in part to its hook, which is sung by the R&B act 112, and its video, which played up the song's air of seduction. Nonetheless, Infamy proved to be a relative disappointment commercially, and it seemed like Mobb Deep was beginning to see their popularity erode with each passing year. It didn't help, either, that around this time the duo -- and Prodigy, in particular -- had been attacked by Jay-Z on "Takeover." And too, that Loud Records would go out of business, leaving Mobb Deep without a label deal. For the next few years, from roughly 2002-2005, Prodigy and Havoc tried to regain their footing. There were one-off albums released via various label arrangements -- Free Agents: The Murda Mix Tape (Landspeed, 2003), Amerikaz Nightmare (Jive, 2004), and The Mix Tape Before 9/11 (X-Ray, 2004) -- that made minimal impact. By this point, not even the fan base was all that interested; it had been eroded with each passing year, leaving few faithful.

Then came a surprise announcement that 50 Cent had signed Mobb Deep to his G-Unit family and that an album would be forthcoming. First came a quick remix featuring the latest G-Unit signing, "Outta Control," which supplanted the original version when 50's The Massacre was reissued in 2005 as a CD/DVD. Too, Mobb Deep had become omnipresent on the New York mixtape scene, releasing all kinds of streets-only material in attempt to re-establish themselves. It evidently worked, as Blood Money debuted in the Top Ten of Billboard's album chart and brought more exposure to Mobb Deep than the duo had enjoyed since their late-'90s heyday. Not everyone was convinced by the group's makeover, however, as the G-Unit approach was substantially more polished than the Mobb Deep of The Infamous. Still, Mobb Deep found a new generation of younger listeners -- the large G-Unit market base, in particular -- who were mostly unfamiliar with them. It had been over a decade since The Infamous, after all, and Mobb Deep had been out of the spotlight for years. Then, in early 2008, Prodigy went away to prison to serve a three-year sentence, putting Mobb Deep's future in question. ~ Jason Birchmeier
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Safe Is Cracked (Explicit)

1. Skit

2. Heat

3. Watch Ya Self

4. M.O.B.

5. Can't Win 4 Losin

6. Yea Yea Yea

7. That Crack

8. Infamous

9. What Goes On

10. Position

11. Get Out Our Way

12. You Wanna See Me Fall

13. Don't Play

14. Mobb Deep II (Skit)

x

Track List: Life Of The Infamous: The Best Of Mobb Deep (Explicit)

1. Hit It From The Back

2. Survival Of The Fittest

3. Shook Ones Pt. II

4. Temperature's Rising

5. Get Dealt With

6. Quiet Storm (Remix)

8. G.O.D. Pt. III

9. Hell On Earth (Front Lines)

10. Hey Luv (Anything)

11. Get Away

12. The Learning (Burn)

13. Got It Twisted

14. Real Gangstaz

15. Win Or Lose

16. Blood Money

17. Go Head

x

Track List: Blood Money (Explicit)

1. Smoke It

2. Put Em In Their Place

3. Stole Something

4. Creep

5. Speakin So Freely

6. Backstage Pass

7. Give It To Me

8. Click Click

9. Pearly Gates

10. Capital P, Capital H

11. Daydreamin'

12. The Infamous

13. In Love With The Moula

14. It's Alright

15. Have A Party

16. Outta Control (Remix)

x

Track List: Amerikaz Nightmare (Explicit)

1. Amerikaz Nightmare

2. Win Or Lose

3. Flood The Block

4. Dump

5. Got It Twisted

6. When You Hear The

7. Real N***az

8. Shorty Wop

9. Real Gangstaz

10. One Of Ours Part II

11. On The Run

12. Throw Your Hands (In The Air)

13. Get Me

14. We Up

15. Neva Change

16. Got It Twisted (Remix)

x

Track List: Murda Muzik (Explicit)

1. Intro

2. Streets Raised Me

4. Spread Love

5. Let A * Be A *

7. Allustrious

8. Adrenaline

10. Quiet Storm

11. Where Ya Heart At

12. Noyd Interlude

14. Thug Muzik

15. Murda Muzik

17. U.S.A. (Aiight Then)

18. It's Mine

19. Quiet Storm (Remix)

x

Track List: Hell On Earth

1. Animal Instinct

2. Drop A Gem On 'Em

3. Bloodsport

4. Extortion

5. More Trife Life

6. Man Down

7. Can't Get Enough Of It

8. Nighttime Vultures

9. G.O.D. Pt. III

10. Get Dealt With

11. Hell On Earth (Front Lines)

12. Give It Up Fast

13. Still Shinin'

14. Apostle's Warning

x

Track List: The Infamous (Explicit)

1. The Start Of Your Ending (41st Side)

2. (The Infamous Prelude)

3. Survival Of The Fittest

5. (Just Step Prelude)

7. Temperature's Rising

8. Up North Trip

9. Trife Life

10. Q.U.-Hectic

11. Right Back At You

12. (The Grave Prelude)

13. Cradle To The Grave

15. Shook Ones Pt. II

x

Track List: Juvenile Hell

1. Intro

2. Me & My Crew

3. Locked In Spofford

4. Peer Pressure

5. Skit #1

6. Hold Down The Fort

7. B**ch A** N**ga

8. Hit It From The Back

9. Skit #2

10. Stomp Em Out

11. Skit #3

12. Peer Pressure (The Large Professor Remix)

13. Project Hallways

14. Flavor For The Non Believes

x

Track List: Taking You Off Here (Single)

Comments

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Mobb Deep for keep.......i a m "official"al l the way .From THE WHITE HOUSE Washington,D . C . ( b e i n g a leader in non-violence &perscribed. Higher-acade m i a ) t h o u g h . . . . . . . . . . . . . . i f you persist to "try",or intimadate.. . . . . N o WAIT(or weight)Slapp i n g our project -with-body-h a r m - t h r e a t ) . S H A L L RESORT YOUR IMBECILE THINKING WITH LAW-LEGAL "CASE".
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I Like Tupac also but f**k you, biggie is a good rapper and so is mobb deep I like all of them
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F.u.c.k Mobb Deep, F.u.c.k biggy. Tupac all the way✌��️
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TRUE HIP HIOP!!!!!!!! ! ! !
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Mobb deep is the s**t��
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96 s**t still better than 99% of this newbie trap bullshit.... Q B 41st and 10th all day!
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P killed it datz my banger... Infamous 4life. AntLive peace uncle la
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Fire
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����
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. ...
...h h.Huh jhg. .
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I don't know how they didn't go crazy times platinum
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Stuff got me thru the streets as a young buck running crazy in the 90's
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Best duo of all time Hav n P
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I'm from the east
but now I live in da west
got nothing but love
for both up in my chest.
that east vs west s**t time to put it to rest.
like I said NOTHING BUT LOVE UP IN MY CHEST..ONE!
Report as inappropriate
Qbc.. 41st side!
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Back when rap was good.
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Lik I said ain't no b**ch kissin no n**ga tha fairytale s**t don't works round hers man
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Don't read this. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life.Now that you have started don't stop. If you ignore this you will have bad luck. Post this on 15 other songs in 143 minutes. When done press space bar and your crushes name will appear. It's creepy but actually works.
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Classic Jam hands down of the best music to rap to, now this is will get get a your head moving!
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it ain't a crook son u just a HOOK ONE......... . CLASSIC
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The hardest n**gaz back then...wante d Some G s**t...U listened to the M.O.B.B
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Nlmmg .nk
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the critically acclaimed infamous mobb
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Those
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Some of THE best of Rhode who's left
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Good music.
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Memories of the good'ol Days
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Donald Trump is halfway crook...He shook!
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james.morris o n 3 5 7
TX
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Or get blasted by mr smif n Wesson
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jtpr8t
Bless the Mobb
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Your crew is featherweigh t , my gun shots will make you levitate
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Give up the Goods"

Ain't no time for fakin jax .. Nice line nice sample .. Love that Pete Rock INI Rob O joint
Peace from new haven ct
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East side
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kikovazquez2 9
Old school but still sounds good brings me back memories in the hood
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It's hell on earth, who's next or Gonna be first, the projects is the front line, the enemy is one time
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Big up Mobb Deep QBC
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Carlsbad. 88220...Syst e m there E.P.A. .and Probation system sucks.. Obama... Get there. . am staying coconut Grove
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C cx ex xzszz c zcz x , and I was zcz x c cx x xxvxxxtalkin g about xnxx etc x , xx xxx
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Are mobb deeps new stuff any good? Bc I only listen to their old stuff?
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Stfu B**ch crimecinema
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crimecinema
This information is INCORRECT Al and Key were classmates of mine at ART AND DESIGN HIGH SCHOOL not fking Graphic Arts HS. Get Your FACTS CORRECT!!
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Classic mobb deep
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S**t is fire!!
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Most likely the hardest track ever laid down.
"Some get shot, locked down and turn nuns, cowardly hearts and straight up shook ones"
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Making ur choices...so m t i m e s I wana roc smoke ...somtims go bac round da way.
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Best ever
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Real S**t
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Outta control . . .
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Real Rap!!!
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