Prodigy - H.N.I.C.      
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written by illegit    
Mobb Deep is indeed infamous. Their sound is unmistakable. Although their content is consistent with that of all NY thugs-slash-gangsters, they created a sound that was completely original, and carried that sound throughout all of their releases, which started to become re-dun-dant. As Prodigy branches off and takes a shot at solo success, the question is whether he will innovate, or simply continue to chisel an all too clear image of Mobb Deep on our minds. A look at the production credits might lead one to believe the former, as Havoc is only enlisted for 2, while the rest of the album is handled by a slew of producers (including Alchemist, Rockwilder, and Prodigy himself). However, when you actually listen to the tracks, it’s still the same ol’ Mobb Deep.

Even though Prodigy got a bunch of different producers, the Mobb sound is always there. Sometimes it produces excellent results, and other times it gets extremely monotonous, especially on the lyrical side. As expected, nearly every single song is about how tough Prodigy is, or about being a thug, or about guns, or whatever other clichéd thug topic you can imagine. There is one noticeable departure from the rule, however, as Prodigy delves into his struggles with sickle cell on “You Can Never Feel My Pain”. And though the content is a fresh breath of air in a thug-infested album, the beat isn’t great and neither is the delivery of Prodigy.

“Rock Dat Shit”, and the self-produced “Genesis” start the album off on the right foot, with bangin beats, and relatively high-quality performances from Prodigy. “Veteran’s Memorial” is another standout track in which P gives respects to fallen brethren, over a dope beat that has that classic Mobb Deep sound. “HNIC” is produced by Havoc, and he comes off with the beat on here. This is classic Mobb Deep material.

While these tracks all work well, tracks like “Infamous Minded”, “YBE”, “Dealt with the Bullshit”, and “Trials of Love” definitely don’t. The beats take a step down, and Prodigy gathers a gang of his Infamous buddies to make appearances, pulling the quality of the already questionable tracks even lower.

The production is consistently good on this album. Every producer lends their own different twist to that same Mobb sound, that we either love or hate by now. However, Prodigy has long begun to bore me as an emcee. His slow-paced, lethargic delivery, and his lack of flow and rhymes have run their course. Not to mention the lyrics which are about as tired as can be. The fact that most of these songs sound exactly like songs that Mobb Deep have been making for years also takes away from the listening value of this album, because I’d just as soon listen to some of Mobb’s earlier stuff than a lot of this. If you love Mobb Deep, and everything that they’ve done, then you’ll love this, no question. If you’re just looking for some mighty nice beats, this should also please you. if you’re looking for a well-rounded, overall rap product, then you should most definitely look elsewhere.

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