DAR Legends: Mobb Deep

Introduction By @TrueGodImmortal
-The hip hop world was rocked recently by the loss of one of the premier MCs of the 90s, Prodigy. The impact that Prodigy and his partner Havoc had on the genre of hip hop is undeniable. With street tales, knowledge, and aggression, Mobb Deep worked their way to become the premier hip hop duo from New York and many would be quick to crown them as the greatest hip hop duo ever. Over the last 25 years, Mobb has brought us classics, showcased their talents, got involved in beefs, and most of all, they stayed as authentic as they could in the process, which is something that legends do. Today, in memory of Prodigy, we take a look back at the legendary duo, Mobb Deep. Let's get into it.

The Source Magazine was a huge part of hip hop in the nineties and for many of us, the Unsigned Hype column would be a highlight. So much so that I started reading the magazine from end to beginning. 1992 was when hip hop would first learn of the “Poetical Prophets”, consisting of two friends who were seeking hip hop stardom. The run as the Poetical Prophets  was very short lived, when just a year later, in 1993, we would come to know those friends as Havoc and Prodigy and what was once Poetical Prophets became Mobb Deep. 
Although they were only 19 when they dropped their first official studio album, these two would have an incredible run in the industry. They would experience a debut that would flop only to make them persevere and come out stronger the next time. They would experience the biggest “beef” in the history of hip hop and be caught in the cross fire, and they would collaborate with experienced legends and prove to themselves and fans they are just as good. 

They would also create a chemistry and dynamic infused with beats and experiences that reflected their New York gritty style and of course they would cement themselves as one of the best duos with their self written and produced albums. All this by the time they were 25. 
With Havoc and Prodigy creating unique signature sounds and descriptive hard-hitting lyrics, hip hop was changed. Over the years they teamed up with Nas, Raekwon, Method Man and even took the leap over to R&B when they collaborated with 112. These two were a perfect complement to any feature while being the driving force in each of their songs (as they should). 

After 8 official studio albums and countless classic tracks under their belt, hip hop only wanted more. They were on the right trajectory, doing shows in Vegas and with albums in the works, fans were waiting until very suddenly and tragically, Prodigy fell ill after some complications with his health, and on June 20, 2017, it was sadly confirmed. Prodigy had passed away. Shocked, heartbroken and in disbelief, hip hop said goodbye to a vital member of one of the best duos out of New York. The outpouring of memories, quotes, artwork, pictures, poems, videos and memories was astounding. While we mourned along with Havoc, the impact and imprint Mobb Deep had on hip hop was evident. They had become synonymous with legends, gangster rap and of course Queensbridge. RIP to Prodigy.

My introduction to Mobb Deep was while I was watching Rap City and "Peer Pressure" would come on. It was a nice joint explaining the struggles of being young coming up in the streets. It wasn't very different from other content that was out at that time so it didn't catch my attention like that and honestly I wrote it off as just another Kris Kross group and luckily I was wrong. It wasn't until I saw the "Shook Ones Pt. 2" video that I was like "WOOOW". Today that song is a classic, that beat is in my top 5 hiphop instrumentals ever and it still has the same affect on me after 20 years. I watched an interview where Prodigy stated Shook Ones almost didn't happen because Havoc hardly ever likes his own beats and since he didn't like this one, he was jusr about to erase it. Prodigy made him to save it. Lucky for us.

I copped "The Infamous" and "Hell On Earth", both very good albums but once "Murda Muzik" dropped, that was "the one" for me. The album is almost flawless with features from Nas, Raekwon, Lil Kim, Kool G Rap and Lil Cease, who said his feature with Prodigy encouraged him to be himself and he feels proud because that's his best and the first verse he wrote for himself since BIG died.

Havoc had a few dope solo projects including "13" and "The Kush", but the best to me was released in 2016 with "The Silent Partner" project which he and Alchemist handled the production. Havoc shows some of his best lyricism on this project. Standout joints from that project include: 

*The Gun Holds A Drum ft. Prodigy
*Buck 50's & Bullet Wounds ft. Meth
*Hear Me Now ft. Cormega

Prodigy put out several projects, the most notable of them are his H.N.I.C. trilogy. Part 1 is the one I loved the most. Stand out tracks from this one include:

*What U Rep ft. N.O.R.E.
*Wanna Be Thugs ft. Havoc
*Three ft. Cormega

Through the years from the mid 90s all the way till 2014, Mobb Deep or rather Prodigy has had his fair share of feuds with those like Pac, Snoop and other west coast artists as well as Keith Murray, NORE, Jay-Z, Nas, Saigon, and even Havoc himself, but after getting out of prison, P had a different outlook on things and saw how miniscule the issues were so he was able to squash and reconcile with the majority of them. This brings me to another favorite of mine from the duo which is the 2014 version of "The Infamous" which is 17 new tracks with 14 unreleased recordings from the original 1995 album. Almost every new track is a banger with production from Havoc, Alchemist, Illmind, Salaam Remi and lyrical help from L.O.X., Snoop, Busta. Even more, they finally were back with Nas on "Get It Forever" like they never lost a beat.
Mobb Deep is responsible for some of the dopest collabs we've ever heard. Each album is laced with at least 3 or 4. Havoc is my 2nd favorite producer next to RZA. Prodigy is one of the illest with the hardcore bars next to Styles P. They're my favorite duo and a top 3 rap group ever. Legends for sure.

I have to say in closing that while everyone is saying there's this massive conscious wave in music, P has always rapped and spoke on the Illuminati and things of that nature. In recent years, he's done many interviews on popular outlets about these topics and a slow shift started in his music. He recently released "The Hegelian Dialectic (The Book of Revelation)" in which Prodigy speaks on race, poisoned food and water, crime amongst us blacks, being proud of our blackness, us being mislead, government tyranny, how we can grow, leaving the means for his family to eat for future generations and so much more. There's just so much to digest. Prodigy grew spiritually, mentally, morally and left a great album full of insight to stay with us on this earth before his ascension from it. R.I.P to Prodigy.

Outro By @TrueGodImmortal
-Mobb Deep is such a legendary group and they possess one of the best one-two punches in the history of hip hop with The Infamous and Hell On Earth. Those two are albums are classics, and even their third album Murda Muzik is great. Truthfully, Mobb has a solid discography and though they have a few missteps, as a duo, they have a resume that could compete with just about any duo ever. They've had some controversial moments in their career, beefing with Keith Murray, Jay-Z, 2Pac, and infamously going G-Unit, which wasn't as bad as many fans made it out to be. For me, I was personally waiting to hear what their next move was when Prodigy passed away, but one has to imagine there was a new Mobb album in the works as they were on tour regularly. Before Prodigy passed, he would release an album that caught me by surprise.

While I loved his H.N.I.C. series, I never felt as if that was his strongest solo work. Truthfully, the first H.N.I.C. is probably his most concise solo work, but my favorite solo projects from him come in the form of albums he released with Alchemist. Return Of The Mac and Albert Einstein are two quality projects that showed Prodigy was more aware than ever, and his final solo project "The Hegelian Dialectic" is his most aware project ever. The themes within this album are current and important and it's great that this was an album heard shortly before his passing. It's said that Prodigy has 2 more installments of this to come and I'll be listening to hear those for sure. Prodigy was always smart and paid attention to the things that matter in this society while maintaining his street presence, and that's why Mobb worked so well to me. They had a great contrast, with Havoc playing the background and doing his thing, and Prodigy being the more loud and outspoken one, but when it came to the music, they were on equal footing. Prodigy was a premier lyricist in 1995-1999 and very few MCs could be on his level, just like there aren't many producers who can create the productions that Havoc has or comfortably stick with darker production through their career without getting complacent. It's tough writing this as a long time hip hop fan, but make no mistake about it, Mobb Deep are legends and their legacy will live on forever. Long live Prodigy. RIP.



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