Infamous Mobb have always been in Mobb Deep’s shadow but they are truly becoming an independent entitiy with their new sohpmore LP. The trio, consisting of Ty Nitty, Godfather Pt.3, and Twin Gambino, bring dirty, hardcore, no holds barred reality hip-hop to the masses. They come from the gutter and they are as hungry as ever. While they began just making appearances on Mobb Deep songs, some listeners had a hard time distinguishing which emcee is which. Their debut album “Special Edition” (on Landspeed) had superior production by Alchemist and a “who’s who of Queens” guest list. Hostyle of Screwball, Havoc and Prodigy, Noyd, and many others helped to make “Special Edition” a great album. It was on this album that each emcee made a name for themselves. Twin Gambino had that raspy and scratchy voice while Godfather Pt. 3 had that low, mellow, smoky voice. Fast forward to 2004, Infamous Mobb return with a new album “Blood Thicker Than Water Vol. 1” on their own label, IM3 Records. The CD includes a very long and in-depth DVD that gives an honest and detailed view of the ghetto life in Queens. While the actual CD has basically unknowns doing the production and only a small number of guest collaborations, IM3 has released a solid product. Even though they are backed by Mobb Deep (and even share some of the name), IM3 are coming into their own.
Since the production on this LP does not instantly grab the listener like it did on “Special Edition”, the hooks, flows, guest spots, and lyrics keeps things moving. The Masberg produced “Empty Out (Reload)” (featuring Prodigy) is one of the most energetic and illest songs on the LP. There is nothing corny or soft about this music at all. Prodigy also rocks the mic with an excellent verse. On the hook, G.O.D. Pt. 3 and Twin go back and forth rhyming about shooting people. G.O.D. Pt. 3’s smooth voice complements Twin’s scratchy smoked out voice, giving the hook a unique balance. Masberg’s production works well and fits the theme perfectly, making “Empty Out” one of the best songs on the album. “U Know The Ratio” (produced by Sebb) is an excellent track with a scratched chorus. Although it does not hold the same power as “B.I.G. T.W.I.N.S.” from their debut LP, it works extremely well. “Who We Ride For” (produced by Joey Chavez) is another good track where G.O.D. Pt. 3 and Twin go back and forth on the hook. The theme is also hardcore. Twin lists some of the things he lives for and then asks, “Imagine what I’d die for?”. Noyd has an excellent solo track called “Tonite” (produced by Ric Rude). IM3 is not even on the song! Still, it is very well done. Many Queens emcees have a love and appreciation for the hip-hop culture of the past. “Take It Back” (produced by Ric Rude) is the IM3 version of Cormega’s “The Legacy”, where they recap their younger days and the early days of hip-hop. Nucleus (from Battle Axe Records) produces “Watch Your Step” with decent results. Masberg produces the opening “Greenback” and “Worldwide” which both work well. Other decent songs include “The Future” featuring UN (produced by Ric Rude), “Lifestyle” (produced by Sebb), and “Black Hand” featuring Flame (produced by Grim Team).
“Blood Thicker Than Water” has a couple of filler tracks. One of the most disappointing tracks is the Alchemist produced “Gunz Up” featuring Chinky. While the beat is decent, it sounds somewhat like a throwaway Alchemist beat. The verses are all good but Chinky’s sung hook about “throwing your guns up” just does not work. Another blatant filler track is “More Hoes Than Hefner” (produced by Sebb).
The inclusion of the 2-hour long DVD makes the product worth the price itself. The movie, which features videos, interviews, studio time, and much downtime in QB. There is also a separate Prodigy interview and a separate Alchemist interview too. Filmmaker Jordan Tower displays how gritty and mind-blowing life in Queens is. Twin Gambino is extremely honest and shows an involving vulnerability as he claims “I can’t even read, man! I can’t even read them contracts I’m signing!”. He also tells about true shootouts and even the sad death of his twin brother. Ty Nitty also tells a fascinating tale about getting shot at too. Some QB guy named Traxx Murdah does a humorous Jay-Z diss in a freestyle performance. Even the music videos are gritty and low budget. Not only is there a video for “Who We Ride For” but a video for “Queens” featuring Noyd, which is from “Special Edition”. This is true hardcore, ghetto realism at its finest. It is one of the best (and longest) DVDs that comes with an album.
Infamous Mobb’s sophomore LP, “Blood Thicker Than Water”, is hot in some aspects and only lukewarm in others. The solid production was a major player in the success of their debut album “Special Edition” but production does not take the wheel on “Blood Thicker Than Water”. Many fans of Alchemist and the production on “Special Edition” will be disappointed with this LP. As emcees, the group has matured. Sure, do not expect big words, tongue twisting flows, or insane breath control. IM3 give an honest emotion to their songs and their flow is much tighter especially, when they go back and forth in the hooks. The DVD makes it worth the purchase because of the honest portrayal of Queensbridge reality. It is important that fans should not expect a Mobb Deep album. While “Blood Thicker Than Water” may have been better if there were more Prodigy or Havoc collaborations, you have to respect them because IM3 have tightened up their skills. Overall, fans of Infamous Mobb and the hardcore, gritty Queens hip-hop scene should appreciate Infamous Mobb’s “Blood Thicker Than Water”.