10 April 2014

REVIEW: Mobb Deep - The Infamous Mobb Deep

Last week Mobb Deep blessed the golden era aficionados with their 8th studio album, The Infamous Mobb Deep. The BITM Match Madness has kept us busy the past few weeks..so I did not get a chance to post a review when it dropped. But it did allow me to give the LP a few more spins than I normally would. And with my additional reflection..I can say with no equivocation that the Mobb is back. Almost 10 years since their last G-Unit debut album (remember that?)..Mobb Deep manage to inject something into the hip hop world that was scarce..authentic raw rap. When it comes to hip hop groups from the 90s that made their own lane and successfully stayed relevant (not necessarily commercially relevant..but uall know that's a mute factor for me)..look no further than Prodigy and Havoc. Longevity in the game is a herculean task for most..but to do that while essentially repping the "underground sound" (sans the GGGGGGGG-G-UNIT..album) is incredible.

The intro track Taking You Off Here is a Havoc produced banger..plan and simple. If it ain't broke is the phrase that keeps playing in my head. Havoc lays down an instrumental that could have gone on The Infamous or Hell on Earth. Both emcees dip their lyrics in the fountain of youth and give us the same poignant raw lyrics we are accustomed to. The track is a cautious reminder to all the old and new heads in the game. Mobb Deep lay down lyrics that project the bravado one must have in the emcee fraternity and acknowledge that the new kids who think they hot are just getting "cornier and cornier".

All a Dream has an old school instrumental sample that is also inspired by Biggie's "It was all a dream" line from Juicy. And who did they get to feature on the track? The Lox! That alone made this the single I needed to hear asap. Having all of these hip hop vets on the instrumental made it the strongest track on the album. If you were to take each individual emcee's verse..you have strong bars that flow perfectly and thematically. But stringing them together cohesively make the track that much stronger. Each emcee gives their own perspective of day dreaming. But flip the idea by realizing that their reality is the same as their fantasy.

If you are a Mobb Deep fan..this album will further affirm that 90's hip hop heads still have viable options when looking for new music. Overall this is a conceptually cohesive album that delivers with the production and lyrics. The only track that is out of place for me is Henny. It samples Havoc's instrumental for The Learning (Burn) off of the Infamy album. The track comes off as a lazy attempt for a radio/club hit..hence the Mack Wilds..French Montana and Busta Rhymes features. Even the track Low which also features Mack Wilds on the hook..takes on the topic of the girl on the side..but still works within the overall context of the album. 

But what makes this album truly unique..from Mobb Deep or any album in hip hop since..is the second disc of the LP. Mobb Deep went digging in the crates and found tracks previously unreleased commercially. We get 14 tracks that have classic tracks with alternate verses, freestyles, interviews and brand new tracks from the early 90's from the hip hop duo. It's like finding your old NES with a working Contra in the system. So if that doesn't make you want to cop the album now..at least stream a few tracks below.


Tracks featured on SoundCloud stream: Taking You Off Here, Say Something, All a Dream, My Block, Henny, Conquer, Waterboarding, and Get It Forever.

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