Discography Check: Mobb Deep

By @TrueGodImmortal 

The hip hop genre has spawned a number of great groups and duos over the years. The concept of two MCs working together to create classic music is always something championed in hip hop and there aren't many duos who have done this better than Mobb Deep. Prodigy and Havoc, repping Queensbridge (though Prodigy isn't actually from there per se), came onto the scene and delighted the hip hop audiences with their brand of murder music and street tales. Today, we are here to talk the Mobb catalog and how their albums hold up today. Let's get into it.

*Juvenile Hell (1993)

-This debut was a bit disappointing, as the title was essential what limited the group. Still young and immature, Mobb would let this album serve as their opus to their innocence in a way. Songs like "Me and My Crew", "Bitch Ass Nigga", and "Peer Pressure" give off a vibe that's equal parts youthful expression and soul searching (in a weird way). I enjoyed the songs like "Stomp Em Out" and the well known "Hit It From The Back", but I wish we would have seen a bit more from both Hav and P on this one. However, I had no idea they would follow this up with something that would change the hip hop landscape soon after.

*The Infamous (1995)

-If you talk Mobb Deep, this album is the one people usually gravitate to and with good reason. It is a certified hip hop classic and one of the greatest albums in the 90s within the genre. The dark yet booming production sets the tone for the aggressive lyrics from Hav and P, as the duo craft anthems for all of the lovers of that aggressive hip hop. Prodigy was in rare form on this album, as his verses hit hard every song, especially on "Trife Life", "Up North Trip", and of course all of the infamous songs off this album (pun intended) like "Give Up The Goods", "Temperature's Rising", "Survival Of The Fittest", and without a doubt, "Shook Ones II". The Infamous is the greatest Mobb Deep album and it has a claim to be a top 10 all time hip hop album as well. It's that good.

*Hell On Earth (1996)

-This is tied with The Infamous as the best Mobb album, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that it doesn't really deviate away from what we loved the most about The Infamous. It is grimy, full of street tales and big plans, and it brings the harsh realities of the world we grew up in to you in audio form. This album is honestly slightly more polished than The Infamous, and Havoc does his thing on the production side, crafting gems like "Man Down", "Bloodsport", "Apostle's Warning", "Give It Up Fast", and the iconic "G.O.D. Pt III", one of the more familiar beats in the history of the Mobb. Prodigy was lyrically at his best here, and he would provide a multitude of epic verses throughout the album. This is arguably the best of their catalog, and I wouldn't disagree if you favored this over The Infamous. It's a classic to me as well.

*Murda Muzik (1999)

-The Mobb were 2 for 3 after two straight classics following their dud of a debut, and they kept the streak going with their fourth album and their most commercially successful project. The album was fueled by the remix of "Quiet Storm" featuring Lil Kim, but the album features a ton of bangers as well that help put it up there in the conversation as a classic. I'd say it's a near classic, with a few missteps but the Kool G Rap featured heater "The Realest", the Nas assisted "It's Mine", "Streets Raised Me", and "Adrenaline". The album plays through pretty smoothly with minimal skips, earning Mobb another victory in their catalog.

*Infamy (2001)

-Mobb lost their footing a bit with their fifth album after the Jay-Z feud got the better of Prodigy. You can hear Prodigy visibly sound out of it at times in songs, his verses took a sharp hit, and his lyricism seemed to decline. Still, overall, the album wasn't bad, and they would craft some gems as they usually do. One of my favorite Mobb songs is "Get Away", and that is probably the best song on the entire project. Other songs that were really enjoyable include "Nothing Like Home", which has an amazing beat, "The Learning (Burn)", "Get At Me", and "Clap". Though this was a disappointment compared to the others, as a standalone Mobb album, it is decent at least, with a couple missteps or lifeless songs.

*Free Agents: The Murda Mixtape (2003)

-I was a huge fan of this mixtape when it dropped. It wasn't necessarily my favorite project of the year, but it attempted to revitalize what the fans knew and loved from Mobb, and it did that with songs like "Solidified", "What Can I Do", "The Illest", and a few others. Mobb set out to give us that "Murda Muzik" feel and then some, and though Prodigy's lyrics still suffered a bit here, it was better than his work on Infamy slightly.

*Amerikaz Nightmare (2004)

-I personally really liked this album. A lot of people didn't, and I guess I understand why to an extent, but the album also features some of my favorite Mobb songs. It was an evolution of sort as they reached out to other producers and I think some of those tracks definitely failed, like the Lil Jon assisted "Real Gangstaz", and the Kanye produced "Throw Your Hands", they fell flat. However, the Alchemist produced gems like "Win or Lose", "Got It Twisted" or Havoc produced bangers like "Dump", "On The Run", and the title track proves that Mobb doesn't need anyone else to enhance their sound. They are the best when they stick to their script, and as limiting as that might be, it's true. Still, I enjoyed this album overall, and think it is underrated.

*Blood Money (2006)

-Most people hate this album.... I don't. I think it is a good album, but slightly misguided and features too much G-Unit, but once you get over the G-Unit features, the songs aren't bad. The beats aren't bad, but some of them feel a little too poppy for G-Unit. If you take away the Young Buck assisted "Give It To Me", which should have never happened, or the hilarious "Backstage Pass" with 50, the album is basically the usual Mobb style with only a small altered sound on production. "Smoke It", "Pearly Gates", "Creep", "Daydreamin", "In Love With The Moulah", and "Speaking So Freely" are all bangers and enjoyable songs. Instead of just writing this off as a bad album based on association, another listen would allow you to see its not a bad album. Just misguided in parts.

*Black Cocaine (2011)

-This EP was intended to signal the return of the Mobb, and it did. It isn't necessarily the best project they've had or the worst for that matter, it's just there. It has some solid songs, like "Waterboarding", "Street Lights", and the title track, but there's something missing here. It could be the fact that the EP is so short, but it was a nice way for Mobb to come back, it just feels like an album should have followed months later. They missed the boat on a follow up.

*The Infamous Mobb Deep (2014)

-While I'm sure there is a new Mobb album on the way, this stands as their final release and it is very enjoyable. Though not perfect, it deviates from the commercial aspirations of Amerikaz Nightmare and Blood Money, and instead gives us a more murderous sound that we came to love from them. The album is a double disc, made up of songs from both the Infamous sessions in 1994 and a disc of newer music. The 1994 sessions are cool to hear, but I'm here for the new music, and songs like "Taking You Off Here", "Say Something", "Dirt", "All A Dream", and "Check The Credits" all work well. Overall, I'd say the disc of new music is better than Blood Money and Amerikaz Nightmare, as well as Infamy. A solid project.

Overall, the Mobb catalog has more good than bad. In the later years they struggled, but they managed to still keep the quality of the music up throughout the years. For that, they remain legends and will always be.



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