Mobb Deep – The Infamous

Morning RC’ers,

Got a little Hip Hop for you today from the 1995 scene.  Affiliated with the East Coast scene these dudes are from NYC and they’ll let you know about it.

Mobb Deep – The Infamous

Listen to it Here – http://grooveshark.com/#!/playlist/Mobb+Deep+The+Infamous/69664273

Read About The Album Here – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Infamous

One Year Ago today: How’s this for a contrast?  We were listening to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors.

Fun Facts:  Mobb Deep was part of the infamous East Coast vs West Coast Hip Hop rivalry that was fueled and increasingly promoted by the private media. The beef started when Snoop Dogg and the West Coast group, Tha Dogg Pound released “New York, New York” which Mobb Deep, along with Capone-N-Noreaga and Tragedy Khadafi responded with the song “L.A L.A” (This song can be found on Capone-N-Noreaga’s debut album The War Report). This song was released during rapper 2Pac’s final days of incarceration. Members of 2Pac’s group, Outlawz, allegedly attended a Mobb Deep concert; they then visited with 2Pac over public rumoring that the duo had snubbed them at the concert. 2Pac dissed Mobb Deep on multiple tracks, including: “Hit ‘Em Up” and “When We Ride on Our Enemies” in which 2Pac makes light of Prodigy’s sickle-cell disease. Additional 2Pac diss tracks include: “Bomb First (My Second Reply)” and “Against All Odds”, both of which were released on 2Pac’s posthumous studio album, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. Mobb Deep retaliated on their 1996 release of Hell on Earth, which contains a diss track entitled “Drop A Gem On ‘Em.”

Mike:

Preconceived Notions:  I’m pretty ignorant of these dudes, it seems as though they might have been important to East Coast Rap at one time….but as you may have observed by now, I’m no expert in that field.

After Listening: I’m going to try really hard to take in the time period and cultural sector this music resonates into account during this review, in the hopes of staving off a full scale assassination of this album.  That said – These were my 1st thoughts when I got to the Infamous Prelude track – “this is the dumbest, most dated, generic, braggadocios spoken intro I have ever heard. Nonsense…future generations will be ashamed that anyone ever listened to this.”  Thankfully, the album got better…I mean, not much better (how many times can you use the word “wet” on a record- these guys seem bent on finding that out)…but better.  The beats and the production are actually pretty good most of the time – I felt the flow, and the album didn’t feel as long as its 66 minute play time would have you believe. I can hear some jazz throughout-as opposed to hip hop influenced more by soul.  Lyrically, it’s a different matter however, look – I get it- this is the genre, but honestly unless you’re incredible 15 tracks about killing, being more of a badass than your neighbor, avoiding the cops and getting with women is going to burn most people out. And I didn’t really notice a difference in the deliveries between the 2 guys either-which isn’t a good thing.  I felt like while it was true the production was better than average, the overall tone of the album was a generic time piece of mid 90’s rap.

Overall 2.323  I feel like if I pick apart individual tracks all it will do is make me more angry, and lower my score which would mostly be a stylistic slam –which I am reluctant to do b/c I was not in that part of the cultural context when this was released.  NWA sounds good to me still because there’s a distinct style, and as I said they make “fun” records to me almost as parody albums in my point of view, but certainly albums with a lot of implicit humor in them.  This album is nothing like that, it was made to be a hardcore record at a time when hip hop was taking itself way too seriously- and artist after artist came out as clone war soldiers.  I don’t know enough about Mobb Deep to know whether they were a leader or a follower – all I know is what’s on this record- and what’s here feels like an honest attempt, but dated none the less – and lyrically at best just a fancier way to say what is by now, the same old things.  Fans of this genre will no doubt enjoy this, but for me it’s just another record I could’ve done without.

Seth:

Mobb Deep – The Infamous

The first line of the album is “Ya know what I’m sayin’?”

Yes, I do. You own firearms. And have a lot of funds obtained through the commission of felonies. And you may be from Queens. I knew what you’d be saying before you said it and it’s not new, interesting, or clever, so just don’t bother. Also, EVERYBODY will call a dude in glass slippers “Cinderella”. If he’s wearing a deerstalker hat, he’s “Sherlock”. It’s hardly worth mentioning.

What is worth mentioning is how boring and repetitive the backing tracks are on this nonsense. That is, when there is a backing track and we aren’t simply served a generic threatening rant sans musical accompaniment.  It certainly saved a few clearing fees for the samples.

Rating 1.0
Prelisten Guess: 2.9

Chris:

I loved Mobb Deep’s album “Murder Music”, didnt like this one at all.

If this album was only three songs it would be much better. Its too monotonous in both music and lyrics.

Josh:

Mobb Deep – The Infamous: 3.5 stars

Precon: Thuggish 90’s hip hop. Stuff like this seemed dumb to me back then, creating an aversion that would stunt my hip hop growth for years to come, but I don’t mind giving it a shot now. I’ve definitely never heard this album, not sure if I’d even recognize a song by them.

Favorite Track: Give Up the Goods
Least Favorite: can’t decide

This is good stuff. Not much to say, gotta listen to it some more. Prodigy’s a natural mc, the beats are good but not amazing, the running time is a little long but there’s not much fat in terms of dumb skits or subpar tracks that should have been cut, so the density makes it seem longer than it is. The only real criticism I have is that it might lack a little pizzazz. Not a huge deal though, especially if you like good rapping, which there is plenty of.

Marissa:

Mobb Deep- The Infamous

Preconceived Notions: Never heard of this particular artist (just checked Wikipedia and apparently they’re a duo), but my first thought about this album in general is “Thursday, what did I ever do to you?”  Apparently they were also knee-deep in the whole East-West coast rivalry.  This would NOT have been a choice of mine.  Did I just read that there was a retaliation issued by Mobb Deep on 2Pac AFTER he was dead?  Well, that makes sense.

After Listening: I cannot seem to get away from my thought that hip hop might be even more reliant on image than pop music.  Mobb Deep have done a great job of painting themselves as the epitome of what people would think of as early-mid nineties gangster rap.  I don’t have it in me to type that as “gangsta”.  95% of the songs are about guns, killing each other, reputation, beef (not the Wendy’s kind) and what boils down to turf war.  It’s so entrenched in its nineties essence that I find it really difficult to take any of it seriously, or at the very least relevant.  I also find it difficult to take seriously from two guys who met at the High School of Art & Design, which sounds quite a bit like where Fame took place.  I’ve read a lot about “bare beats” and that’s certainly what’s employed here.  I suppose that would have set them apart at the time, but now, it’s just monotonous.  As over-the-top as I found “Straight Outta Compton” I guess if I had to, I’d take Dre as a producer over Havoc.  The whole album just feels grey to me, lacking any kind of shading, and relentless in its urban drudgery.  Maybe if the subject matter was something different, or at least more diverse; maybe if the beats were something closer to lush or at least more encompassing, but as it stands, the random preludes just seem like posturing and what’s left is an album that seems less eventful than I hoped for.  I’d rather just be listening to Albert’s mom sing “Then He Kissed Me”.

Favorite track: Up North Trip

Overall: 2.5

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Record Club began in the cold, dank, snowmageddon scene that was New England of January 2011. We’re probably no different than you. We all work in cubicles, some in smaller, less private cubicles than others; that just means we have to be even sneakier about how we listen to our music. But we have to listen to our music, mostly as a way of saving our own personal sanity. Sometimes our opinions lead us to debates that may or may not be published in their entirety on this site, but I can promise you’ll at least get a glimpse of the way our minds work. The main goal is to find new music we like or find old music that we didn’t know we liked. Sometimes we succeed, sometimes it’s a total and complete disaster. After our ears have rejoiced or stopped bleeding we try something else. This is our pattern, every Tuesday and Thursday. Sometimes, when the club isn’t officially in session, just to keep everyone on their toes, we throw in a theme day. We’re beginning to run low on our original list, so please, if you have albums that you’d like us to review or themes that you’d like to see our playlist of, feel free to contribute. After all, we’re all in this together once we punch the time clock. So if you’re busy (or just plain bored) lurking in your cubicle as you read this join in. After all, life wasn’t meant to be lived staring at a computer screen. I guarantee you, it’s at least more fun when you plug the headphones in.


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