Those of you who have visited our 'New ish' pages in the last 9 months will have seen that we had a new Mobb Deep track up nearly every week so I expected to have heard 90% of this album by now. To my surprise there was still a lot of unheard tracks on here, the main reason we had so many tracks is that they recorded over 60 songs since '96 for this album so some didn't make it. 'Murda muzik' has finally arrived, so its time to see if the infamous still have what it takes.
I'm not gonna come off as if Mobb Deep are on some uplifting spiritual shit in this review because in truth the infamous are miserable, depressing to the point that they draw you into their world and encapsulate you in their way of thinking. This to some people is un-appealing, and I don't blame em, no one wants to be down but the words they speak are real, but not only do they tell you what's depressing but also they tell you why. I suppose if you look at it that way you should listen with understanding instead of empathy, distance
yourself and enjoy the music they have on offer.
For album number 4 they stick to the same formula they have had since they were reborn and hit Gold with 'The infamous'. This is good but also bad, I mean checking through an album for something different shouldn't be happening but I couldn't help but look for that next shit within the tracks on this album. They still got that trademark havoc production with clean crisp beats sheltering the spooky dust filled samples. It's still a verse from each, maybe one from Noyd and a chanted hook. This is what held 'hell on earth' back from being such a classic as 'the infamous' was, that and the fact the number of outside guests is kept to a minimum, noyd don't really count as he is just an extension of havoc and prodigy. Add to this the variation of producers is nil, havoc does the whole thing. This is the albums main flaw, as it really is what made the first and mainly the second album receive heavy rotation in all our play lists.
At first listen to the album a lot of the tracks sound the same but with any form of familiarity the more you listen to it you begin to distinguish between them. 'Quiet Storm' stands out as the infamous are on a different tip, Prodigy's lyricism has sharpened along with Havocs production on the 'white lines' loop, and hits as one of the first highlights on the album. 'Mobb comin thru' displays the sound that they have shown on many other
tracks before but you can't help love that bangin bass heavy beat. 'Guns money and pussy' is hardly politically correct in its title but who cares this is the duo at their best, subject matter is summed up in the title and it more than holds your attention for the near 5 minutes it plays for.
Now if you know who my favorite emcees are you'll know Kool G Rap is one of em, and any cameo he does these days just grabs my attention. On 'The realest' havoc has chosen a low bass plucking beat that serves as only a minimal guide to the track as G rap comes thru with a verse that more than deserved him a hip hop quotable. As Hugz pointed out in his review of this track, listen closely and you'll hear him spit lines like "Bullets ain't
racial, they only hate you," which just leaves you wanting more of a verse. Havoc takes a tip from the original thug and spits a verse that leads on obviously still under the influence of g rap while Prodigy also blazes the third verse as a pupil. 'How ya want it' features fellow queensbridge native, Cormega who once again displays a great hook up with the duo, while its nothing outta this world it is evidence enough that the 3 can really create some ill murda muzik. 'Where ya heart at' is some real serious shit as Havoc drops a verse to his dearly departed , "I be buggin' thinkin' how you doing up there / probably watching over me calling out my foul/ fuck with mad chicks but I take care of my child/ I miss that ass tell god I said pardon me/ if he real he'll forgive me," simple but heartfelt. The beat also comes off as more melodic than the usual loops and acts as more of a dramatic soundtrack to the lyrics.
One of my favorite tracks on here is 'Nobody likes me', with a title like that you'd expect some real moody production and words but its almost bouncy and upbeat, the formula is still there but flows and beats are a lot more optimistic. 'Alright then' remains on that same vibe, adding to the closing moments of the album leaving you with less of a black cloud hanging over your head, maybe its intentional. As things draw to a close we get the surprise hook up (not really as every NY album has to have a down south hook up these
days) with Eightball. This track completely switches the Mobb mentality in terms of production and attitude, they almost emulate the feel of eightball with flow and content. This isn't a great moment of the album as the track itself isn't great, but it shows that when they are willing to try new things we get a varied sound to the album.
The album could have made a higher grade if it included some of the other better tracks we have heard that would have made the tracks more distinguishable instead of some of the low points like 'how gonna be a hoe' and the previously released 'feel my gat blow' which I've just got bored of by now. It deserves the seven though, because it can't be ignored the production rockets above average plus havoc and prodigy display both lyrical understanding and maturity here. For album number 4, Mobb Deep don't reach the heights of the previous 2 albums but they have to be commended because they haven't compromised one bit. They still the same as they ever was, not aiming for that commercial sound, stay real and true to themselves, making that thug music and that's why they will always have a place in our CD collections.