Mobb Deep – “The Infamous” Album Anniversary

Mobb Deep – “The Infamous” Album Anniversary

Mobb Deep released their second studio album “The Infamous” on April 25th 1995.  The album was produced by Mobb Deep and Q-Tip.  The album is considered a Hip Hop classic by many in the rap community.  Mobb Deep’s first album “Juvenile Hell” failed to make a “splash” and the group was dropped by their label.  They then got picked up by Loud Records and the rest is history.

This album is full of hits and does not stop from the intro.  The first single “Shook Ones Part 2” was the perfect track to get people interested and ready for the release date.  The track is perfect sonically and lyrically and anyone and everyone knows the lyrics by memory forward and backwards.  Prodigy brings us some of the hardest lyrics without even cursing.

“your crew is featherweight
my gunshots’ll make you levitate
I’m only nineteen but my mind is old
and when the things get for real my warm heart turns cold
another nigga deceased, another story gets told
it ain’t nothin’ really
hey, yo dun spark the Phillie
so I can get my mind off these yellowbacked niggas
why they still alive I don’t know, go figure
meanwhile back in Queens the realness is foundation
if I die I couldn’t choose a better location
when the slugs penetrate you feel a burning sensation
getting closer to God in a tight situation
now, take these words home and think it through
or the next rhyme I write might be about you”

On “Survival of the Fittest” they use a dope piano riff sampled from The Barry Harris Trio “Skylark” to give it an eerie and sinister sound and add Prodigy’s and Havoc’s dark lyrics and you get this classic track!

“There’s a war goin on outside, no man is safe from
You could run but you can’t hide forever
from these, streets, that we done took
You walkin witcha head down scared to look
You shook, cause ain’t no such things as halfway crooks
They never around when the beef cooks in my part of town
It’s similar to Vietnam
Now we all grown up and old, and beyond the cop’s control
They better have the riot gear ready
Tryin to bag me and get rocked steady
by the mac one-double, I touch you
and leave you with not much to go home wit”

On “Temperature’s Rising” Q-Tip gives them a Tribe-esque beat accompanied with a Mobb Deep dark bass to inform the homie with the lyrics,

“Word up, son, I heard they got you on the run
for a body – now it’s time to stash the guns
They probably got the phones tapped so I won’t speak long
Gimme a hot second, and I’ma put you on
It’s all messed up somebody snitchin on the crew
And word is on the street is they got pictures of you
Homicide came to the crib last night, six deep
Axin on your whereabouts and where d’you sleep
They said they just wanna question you, but me and you know
that once they catch you, all they do is just arrest you
then arraign you, hang you, I don’t think so”

The one track that made me rewind and eventually put on repeat for several hours at a time is “Eye For An Eye” where Havoc, Prodigy, Nas and Raekwon all raise the bar in lyricism.  The beat is mesmerizing and the rhymes razor-sharp. But it’s the Queensbridge “Illmatic” MC that has the quotable of the album.

“A drug dealer’s dream
Stash CREAM keys on a triple beam
Five hundred SL green, ninety-five nickle gleam
Condominium, thug dressed like a gentleman
Tailor made ostrich, Chanel for my women friend
Murderin, numbers on your head while I’m burglarin
Shank is servin em, whassup to all my niggaz swervin in
New York metropolis, the Bridge brings apocalypse
Shoot at the clouds feels like, the holy beast is watchin us
Mad man my sanity is goin like an hourglass
Gun inside my bad hand I sliced tryin to bag grams
I got hoes that used to milk you
Niggaz who could’ve killed you
Is down with my ill crew of psychoes
Nas Escobar movin on your weak production
Pumpin corruption in the third world we just bustin”

“Drink Away The Pain” has Q-Tip again providing the beats and Mobb using liquor-themed wordplay to get their point across.  The other posse cut is a Wu-Tang Loud Records collaboration where Raekwon and Ghostface joing the Mobb and shoot the gift!

On “Give Up The Goods” they take a sample from “That’s All Right With Me” by Esther Phillips and make it gangsta yet funky enough to dance to.  Straight dopeness!

“Up North Trip” and “Trife Life” round up what has to be one of the greatest sophomore albums of all time.  Any of the tracks could be a single and just by listening to this album, you knew they were going to be around for a long time.  So repeat after me, or should I say the Mobb,

“Son, they shook…
’cause ain’t no such things as halfway crooks
scared to death, scared to look”

-Al E.

 

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