Lock the front door and make sure the kids are tucked away into bed. With raps galore speaking of more guns than the local Wal-Mart store, Prodigy and Havoc (Mobb Deep) have, quite literally, made a living off of killing and a killing off of a living – and so it is only fitting that they be deemed “Amerikaz Nightmare.”
Their seventh studio release, “Amerikaz Nightmare” sees the Queensbridge twosome back to many of the same tricks that they have utilized since their “Infamous” days. Gunfire, violence, kidnappings, and bulletproof vests aside, neither Hav, nor P expand their expertise much on “Nightmare,” and yet the result turns out just as enjoyable in 2004 as it did back in 1995.
From the eerily dark chords of title track “Amerikaz Nightmare” to the Thomas Dolby-sampled Alchemist production “Got It Twisted,” the Mobb boys force-feed the microphone with the same, repetitive gun chatter over and over again, but fortunately do so against the backdrop of befitting, head-nodding production. The slick, infectious samples of “Win or Lose” (another Alchemist production) and the realness of the Red Spyda-produced “Real Ni---z” add to the Mobb Deep mystique with righteously catchy hooks padded by the accompanying bars of the ever-improved Havoc and the thugged-out Prodigy.
The QB duo stakes its claim to fame over the production of two of rap’s current “it” producers though, as Hav and P prove that producers adjust to them, not the other way around. The energized Lil’ Jon banger “Real Gangstaz” will damn-near incite riots as the ATL/QB connection is not to be taken lightly by club-goers. And the Kanye West production “Throw Your Hands (In the Air)” is not the College Dropout’s typical effort as the Cold Crush Brothers sample and gun-raps make for quite a ride through a Mobbed-up club scene.
While other tracks suffer from simply running through the narrow scope of Mobb Deep’s vision, with “On the Run,” “Get Me” (featuring QB counterparts Littles and Noyd), and “Flood the Block” most notably failing, few songs venture far from what the Mobb has created in the past. And while other tracks like the cymbal-laced Havoc production “Shorty Wop” could have oddly benefited from more of a rock-influenced beat, Hav does his best to keep “Amerikaz Nightmare” sleeping soundly and on course when the group keeps the production in-house.
“Who got a similar catalogue? And still sound brand new like we just started,” Prodigy raps on over the climaxing beat of “When U Hear The,” stating something that fans and critics alike may wonder about the consistent but tedious modern-day Mobb Deep. Just when they get tired of all the guns and bullets buzzing through the QB landscape, Mobb Deep creates “Amerikaz Nightmare” – an album that will be very hard for hip-hop to sleep on.