The Infamous Mobb Deep will never change. Ultimately that is why we have always loved them, but at the same token, why their sound has never progressed. With the group's seventh release, "Amerikaz Nightmare", Havoc and Prodigy are still the same gun totting rebels from the infamous Queens Bridge housing projects, and they are certain to let you know about it.
While the Mobb has never been a group concerned with breaking down the barriers of originality, they have always offered some variety to their gritty street tales. Whether it was the lose of a loved one (Where Ya Heart At), a vivid story (Nighttime Vultures), or scandalous woman (More Trife Life), the Mobb always found ways to be creative. However, on "Amerikaz Nightmare", Hav and P struggle to find any creative balance between their generic gun slinging anthems. In fact, most of the album is consumed with the same redundant verses, instead of offering some change of pace tracks like they have in the past.
The tiresome shoot 'em up sounds of "Dump" featuring Nate Dogg is a bland attempt at a west coast track. "Real Gangstaz" is another forced attempt, as the Mobb hooks up with Lil Jon for a predictable effort. The gimmicky production sounds of "Real Niggaz", is a horrible attempt at a commercial hit, as Red Spyda's bouncy production is all too misplaced with the Mobb's gritty demeanor. The same can be said for "Shorty Wop", which is ruined by an uncharacteristic synthesizer production effort from Havoc, as well as a case of the lame hooks disease. Havoc also stumbles on "Flood The Block", as he tries to speed things up but is unsuccessful as P's sleepy flow is all too misplaced.
Even though Havoc's production on "Amerikaz Nightmare" is highly inconsistent, he is able to recapture that vintage Mobb sound for a couple of efforts. "Neva Change" finds Havoc at his best, with blaring horns and a hard-hitting bassline. The title track "Amerikaz Nightmare" is just as impressive, as P and Hav go all out over the track's gritty guitars. "We Up" and "One Of Ours Pt. 2" featuring Jadakiss, are more noteworthy efforts due to solid production and direction.
While "Amerikaz Nightmare" is filled with hit or miss efforts from Hav & P, The Alchemist is the only individual on the album that brings some consistency and stability. ALC is responsible for the album's best attempts, as he easily outshines Havoc on the production side. The album's lead single, "Got It Twisted", has been a huge commercial hit for the Mobb, no matter its hardcore sound. Alchemist flips Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me With Science", into a haunting Q.B. classic. Similarly, Alchemist is able to work magic on "Win Or Lose", which samples the Jean Plum song "Here I Go Again". The track's soulful vibe is easily one of the better Mobb Deep tracks to be released in the past couple of years. However, the same can also be said for "When You Hear The", which is about as close as you are going to get to hearing the old Mobb Deep. ALC once again amazes with his vicious production effort, which takes a page out of the classic motion picture Scarface.
While "Amerikaz Nightmare" has its share of highlights, it remains disappointing in the end. Mobb Deep hit their pinnacle with "Murda Muzik", and ever since then its been a downward spiral. Prodigy is no longer the lyrical beast he once was, while Havoc continues to remain inconsistent with his production. With seven albums worth of the same material, the Mobb finally ran out of ideas on "Amerikaz Nightmare".