Mobb Deep – The Infamous Samples

Mobb Deep – The Infamous Samples

Mobb Deep‘s  The Infamous turns 22 years old today.  This album is frequently in conversation of best hip hop album ever. I rank it as number 1, but that’s for another time.  Since 1995, we have recognized Prodigy’s clear and concise murder rhymes along with Havoc’s matching inexplicably NYC gritty tapestry. I could actually write a dissertation on how amazing this album is, but for the 22nd birthday, lets highlight some of the albums best samples.

1. Temperature’s Rising

The album was chock full of samples; both familiar  and obscure. Q-Tip produced the smooth “Temperature’s Rising.”  It starts off with some drums surrounded by mystery.  Then Hav spits


What up son, I heard they got you on the run

For a body, now its time to stash the guns.

And you know story time is next. Havoc and Prodigy showcased their valyrian steel rhymes, but the Patrice Rushen sample was a stark difference than the rest of the album. When you hear the Mobb’s rhymes about paranoia, getting rid of evidence and snitches; songstress Crystal Johnson singing on the hook just seems entirely appropriate.

Temperature’s Rising

Patrice Rushen – Where There Is Love

Related: Sampling 101 with Patrice Rushen and which Hip-Hop artist sampled it best?

2. Give Up The Goods

The same chill vibe was evident on the classic, “Give Up The Goods.”  This beat was so popular, seemingly every MC had a freestyle over this which landed on the legendary DJ Clue tapes throughout the 90’s. Fellow Queens brethren, Big Noyd arguably had the best verse on the tale which lets us know, the Mobb aint about to get a job, they are the ultimate stick up kids. Q-Tip decided to sample the wonderful Ester Phillips this time around. Even though Havoc’s laments:

Yo ain’t no time for fakin jacks, cause brothers that fake jacks get laid on they back

Crime never sounded so smooth.

Give Up the Goods

Esther Phillips – Thats All Right With Me

3. Right Back At You

Ghostface, Raekwon and Big Noyd jumped on the murderous “Right Back at You.” Havoc really showcased his production talents on this one. Instead of just looping an entire song, he thoroughly examined a Les McCann track. 1969’s “Benjamin” was the focus of this treat. Havoc heard a few seconds of the song he wanted to sample and the result was pure energy.   “Benjamin” is a great song that showcased the smooth piano skills of McCann, but pay attention to the first 10 seconds.

Right Back at You ft Ghostface Killah, Raekwon & Big Noyd

Les McCann – Benjamin

4. Drink Away the Pain

The Headhunters is without a doubt my pops favorite band. Maestro Herbie Hancock (another one of his favorites) put a group together called The Headhunters in the early 70’s.  This was strictly a jazz and funk combination plate.  Two of their earliest jams, “Watermelon Man,” and “Chameleon,” that appeared on their debut album have been sampled throughout hip hop history.

Their fourth album, Straight From the Gate had an upbeat tune called “I Remember I Made You Cry.” Once again, Q-Tip found himself digging the crates (and offered a verse this time) and decided to use this as a backdrop for the Mobb as they discussed their love for clothes and liquor. “Drink Away The Pain” is without a shadow of a doubt, one of their best songs.

Drink Away the Pain feat Q-Tip

The Headhunters – I Remember I Made You Cry

5. Survival of the Fittest

Jazz legends, Barry Harris jumped on the piano as Al Cohn made love to the tenor sax on 1976’s “Skylark.” Havoc once again decided not to loop an entire song, but used his ear and took a piece of the beginning and rearranged it. The result as one of the most sinister songs from their catalog as they discussed their Darwinist mindset.

There a war going on outside, no man is safe from

You can run, but cant hide forever

From these streets that we don’t took

Walking with your head down

Scared to look, you shook

Cause aint no such things as half way crooks.

Survival Of The Fittest

Barry Harris & Al Cohn – Skylark

6. Shook Ones – Part II

Mobb Deep’s magnum opus is no doubt track 15. First thing you hear is the hi hat and the snare, then you hear some weird occult wailing followed by

“To all the killer and the hundred dollar billers”.

The bass follows and the one of the most sinister beats ever invades your speaker. Havoc did some amazing production work with this sample. The way he flipped “Jessica” by Herbie Hancock showcased his superior skills, and goes down in history of one of the greatest samples in the entire genre.

O yea, the wailing you hear throughout the song is sampled from a song on LSD; Quincy Jones’s 1971 song,  “Kitten With a Bent Frame

Shook Ones Part II

Herbie Hancock – Jessica

Quincy Jones – Kitten With A Bent Frame

Trying to find flaws in Q-Tip and Havoc’s production on this album is like completing a 87.4 billion piece jigsaw puzzle blind.  When you google the word classic, Mobb Deep’s Infamous is the first thing that pops up!  The sounds of the Mobb sound as amazing today as it did back in high rise apartments in Eastern Connecticut State University.

Check Out: Infamous Mobb Deep vs Hell On Earth… 20 Years Later

Mobb Deep – The Infamous Samples

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