Infamous Mobb - Blood Thicker Than Water Vol. 1   
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written by Low Key    
There is no duplicating Queens Bridge Hip Hop. While the 5 boroughs of NYC all have their own style, there is no mistaking that distinct Q.B. sound. From Marley Marl and MC Shan to Nas and Mobb Deep, the tradition and legacy of Queens Bridge has continued to grow. Now a new lineup of street veterans, such as Cormega, Littles and the Infamous Mobb, are coming to the forefront to rep Q.B. for the new millennium.

While the Infamous Mobb debuted back in '99 on Mobb Deep's classic LP "Hell On Earth", the trio has managed to keep a low profile over the years. It was only until they released their debut album "Special Edition" that the Hip Hop world started to take notice. With their highly underrated debut album, the Infamous Mobb broke away from the mystery surrounding them. They stepped out of Havoc & Prodigy's shadows and became a notable group in their own right. With classic production from Alchemist and Havoc, "Special Edition" was a true Q.B. street album in every sense of the word. Gritty hardcore joints such as "Special Edition", "Killa Queens" featuring Prodigy & Big Noyd, "We Will Survive" & "We Don't Give A Fuck" featuring Havoc, made the album one of 2002's most slept on. Now after a two year hiatus, Ty Nitty, Gambino & Godfather are back again to give you more of that reality rap only they can provide.

As with any sophomore release, the questions that comes into play is, can the Infamous Mobb duplicate the success of their debut? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is yes and no. For starters IM3 continue to give you the only thing they know, reality rap. At no times does the Infamous Mobb try and play games with their second LP "Blood Thicker Than Water". If you heard their material on "Special Edition", then you can expect the same exact type of concepts and dealings on "Blood Thicker Than Water". The big difference between the two LP's however is the production. Simply put, the production on "Special Edition" was classic. It was a throwback to the grimy heydays of Mobb Deep. The album might have featured the best beats on a Q.B. album since the one they first appeared on, "Hell On Earth". However, this time around Alchemist only lends one track, instead of executive producing the album like the first time around. Taking the place of Alchemist for "Blood Thicker Than Water" is a bunch of unknown producers such as Masberg, Nucleus, Steve Sola & Grim Team. There are a couple of revered underground names on the album as well, such as Joey Chavez, Sebb & Ric Rude. But for the most part "Blood Thicker Than Water" is left in the hands of relative rookies.

This leads to the mixture of good and bad production efforts on the album. Lyrically or conceptually IM3 are going to stay the same at all times. Thugged out tales of their gritty Q.B. environment consume most of their verses, but each emcee posses a unique voice and dark personality that enables each listener to really get lost in IM3's world. However, this is only pulled off successfully when the production is equally as dark and haunting. Producer Masberg offers the best attempts on the album, as tracks such as "Greenback", "Empty Out" featuring Prodigy & "Worldwide" are superb efforts. With a mixture of Alchemist's eerie piano loops and Havoc's hard hitting basslines, Masberg gives the Infamous Mobb the perfect backdrop to work off of. Prodigy even wakes up for his performance on the murderous sounds of "Empty Out", "Nigga I ain't cut from cloth, I'm cut from strands of DNA that will have Bush shitting in his pants. P and H prove we can do this for years, you got littlest niggas just finding out who we is". Other attempts such as "The Future", "Watch Your Step" and "Black Hand" also feature good production, especially "Black Hand" which will send chills down your spine upon first listen. The only Alchemist produced track "Gunz Up" is of course nothing short of fire, as ALC laces IM3 with his usual formula of vocal samples and piano loops.

While the tracks previously mentioned could have easily blended with the material on "Special Edition", the same cannot be said for efforts like "Lifestyle", "More Hoes Than Hefner", "Got That Iron" and the title track "Blood Thicker Than Water". Production efforts from Sebb, Ric Rude, Ax The Bull & Steve Sola fail to provide that distinct IM3 sound. Sebb's choppy and awkward production effort of "Lifestyle" fails to give the trio a stable ground to work off of, as the Infamous Mobb never really mesh well together over the lackluster track. The 70's influenced pimp sounds of "More Hoes Than Hefner" is once again all too misplaced with the groups rugged persona, as the song is one of the few contrived efforts from the group on the album. "Got That Iron" is another dull effort, as Chinky's stale and lifeless hook drags the song down immensely.

The Infamous Mobb have a certain formula that fans have grown to love over the years. With "Blood Thicker Than Water" the group sticks to their guns and delivers an album that only their true fans will appreciate. But in comparison to their debut "Special Edition", "Blood Thick Than Water" fails to stand up. With only one Alchemist track and no Havoc either, the trio is left with relative rookies handling the production load. Unfortunately, many of these up and comers fail to deliver that vintage sound Alchemist provided on their debut. Nevertheless, "Blood Thicker Than Water" is still a solid sophomore release that proves the legacy of Q.B. is in good hands.

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