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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released April 25, 1995 | RCA Records Label

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One of the cornerstones of the New York hardcore movement, The Infamous is Mobb Deep's masterpiece, a relentlessly bleak song cycle that's been hailed by hardcore rap fans as one of the most realistic gangsta albums ever recorded. Given Mobb Deep's youthful age and art-school background, it's highly unlikely that The Infamous is drawn strictly from real-life experience, yet it's utterly convincing, because it has all the foreboding atmosphere and thematic sweep of an epic crime drama. That's partly because of the cinematic vision behind the duo's detailed narratives, but it's also a tribute to how well the raw, grimy production evokes the world that Mobb Deep is depicting. The group produced the vast majority of the album itself, with help on a few tracks from the Abstract (better known as Q-Tip), and establishes a spare, throbbing, no-frills style indebted to the Wu-Tang Clan. This is hard, underground hip-hop that demands to be met on its own terms, with few melodic hooks to draw the listener in. Similarly, there's little pleasure or relief offered in the picture of the streets Mobb Deep paints here: They inhabit a war zone where crime and paranoia hang constantly in the air. Gangs are bound together by a code of fierce loyalty, relying wholly on one another for survival in a hopeless environment. Hostile forces -- cops, rivals, neighborhood snitches -- are potentially everywhere, and one slip around the wrong person can mean prison or death. There's hardly any mention of women, and the violence is grim, serious business, never hedonistic. Pretty much everything on the album contributes to this picture, but standouts among the consistency include "Survival of the Fittest," "Eye for a Eye," "Temperature's Rising," "Cradle to the Grave," and the classic "Shook Ones, Pt. 2." The product of an uncommon artistic vision, The Infamous stands as an all-time gangsta/hardcore classic. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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R&B/Soul - Released November 20, 2000 | LOUD Records

Mobb Deep became a street-level sensation with its second album, The Infamous, and the duo saw no reason to tamper with its signature style on the follow-up, Hell on Earth. The first words on the record announce "You know how we did on the Infamous album, right? All right, well, we gon' do it again," and that's exactly what they do. Hell on Earth refines the Mobb Deep formula, amplifying much of what made The Infamous a success. The bleak street narratives are even more violent and extreme, and the production is even grittier and creepier. It's still indebted to -- but more dramatic than -- the RZA's work with the Wu-Tang Clan: eerie strings and bits of piano, underpinned by deep, echoing beats. Although the overall flavor is pretty much the same as before, it's a bit more sophisticated and cinematic. For those reasons, some Mobb fans actually prefer Hell on Earth over The Infamous, although it's missing some of the thematic unity and clearly emphasized details that made the world of The Infamous so cohesive. Hell on Earth also lacks some of the freshness, but even if Mobb Deep is repeating itself, it's doing so very effectively. The album is superbly moody and haunting, with the swirling horror-film atmospherics of "G.O.D., Pt. III" and the hypnotic "Hell on Earth (Front Lines)" standing out in particular. "Drop a Gem on 'Em" is another highlight, an answer song in the 2Pac beef that happened to appear not long before the rapper's murder. Special guests Method Man, Raekwon, and fellow Queensbridge native Nas all put in worthy appearances. Even if it isn't quite the landmark that The Infamous was, Hell on Earth is nearly its equal in many other respects. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released April 24, 2020 | RCA - Legacy

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R&B/Soul - Released August 3, 1999 | LOUD Records

After a three-year hiatus and numerous release date pushbacks, Mobb Deep got on their job once again with the punishing release of Murda Muzik. The duo, well-known for their lethal realism both in their infinitely dark yet moving beats and their stark and ruthless crime-rhyme lyrics, continued their grim odyssey with this, their fourth effort. Released amid so much watered-down product, Murda Muzik is an arguable masterpiece in the Puffy and Master P era. Mobb Deep once described their music as the sound of hypnotic thug life. An accurate description, for their music is more than just guns and herb smoking, it taps into the collective sense of fear and horror, the evil in men's hearts, and the struggle for good in the gardens of waste. Mobb music can make you cry, can make you scared, can amplify your inner rage; its depth allows for the gamut of emotional reactions. On this album, primary producer Havoc reached a high level of mastery in his production efforts, a truly signature style of deep bass grooves, piercing organs, ice-cold snare pops, melodic samples, and haunting orchestral snippets. Each song creates its own mood, whether it be a call to stop the violence on "Spread Love" or a call for full-throttle livin' on "I'm Goin' Out." Guest appearances by Raekwon, Lil' Kim, Lil' Cease, Cormega, Kool G. Rap, Eightball, and Infamous Mobb add texture to already bangin' tracks. The album overall can best be described as pure ear- and mind-twisting pleasure and pain. The album will affect you, get under your skin, make you rash up, and then salve you. Murda Muzik is a complete album and a renewal of the truly hardcore movement. © M.F. DiBella /TiVo
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R&B/Soul - Released December 11, 2001 | LOUD - Columbia

Long considered New York's most rugged and hardcore rap group of the '90s to ever make it big, Mobb Deep finally soften up a bit on Infamy. The album is a turning point for Prodigy and Havoc -- and a timely one indeed. Shortly before Infamy hit the streets, Jay-Z had blasted Mobb Deep -- as well as Nas -- on "Takeover," berating Prodigy in particular for being fake. Nas fired back on his Stillmatic album with the cutting song "Ether"; Mobb Deep didn't. Instead, the Queensbridge duo went about their business and released Infamy, their most accessible album yet -- the sort of album many fans never would have expected. Granted, Mobb Deep still rep the street life here, as songs such as "Kill That Nigga," "My Gats Spitting," and "Hurt Niggas" no doubt illustrate. However, songs such as "Pray for Me," "Hey Luv (Anything)," and "There I Go Again" sent quite a different message; the first features Lil' Mo, the second 112, and the third Ron Isley -- each there to smooth out Mobb Deep's rough sound. And it works, particularly in the case of the thug ballad "Hey Luv (Anything)," which garnered the most exposure the duo had yet experienced and introduced Mobb Deep to a broader audience. © Jason Birchmeier /TiVo
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R&B/Soul - Released October 20, 2003 | Jive

"Hustle for so long my hands numb/But then I feel that paper hit my palm." True that, for the Mobb are back, lyrically driven and struggling to get back where they belong. If you could jump back in time to before the millennium flipped, when The Infamous was the platter that mattered, you'd swear Mobb Deep were going to last forever. Things haven't been well for the Mobb since the calendar turned 2000, but with Amerikaz Nightmare, things are getting better. Old-school and skeletal raw like G-Unit never happened, Amerikaz Nightmare is a dark album, one you wouldn't want to meet in an alley and one that can make Thomas Dolby sound sinister. Producer Alchemist lifts a bit of "She Blinded Me With Science" for "Got It Twisted," an oddball and trudging return single for the duo. The Twista remix adds nothing but Twista, and if radio can't handle the track's grit, two much better choices are made available. Lil Jon thugs up "Real Gangstaz" like he's never heard of Usher, and Kanye West runs his usual tricks through a brittle filter, making the violins scratchier for the tough "Throw Your Hands (In the Air)." Prodigy's lyrical skills are always an asset, but he's overshadowed by Havoc, who not only shines on the mic but also keeps growing as a producer. The CD-stuck, clicking beats on "Flood the Block," the jittery touches he lays on "Shorty Wop," the bit of the Eight Minutes' obscure chestnut "Time for a Change" he lifts for "Neva Change" are all smart touches Havoc graces the album with, evening out the Mobb's stern, direct, and dark lyrics with some striking showiness. They've sounded stuck and overconfident before, but this old-school-styled, true hip-hop album finds the Mobb hungry again. © David Jeffries /TiVo
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2006 | G-Unit Records

Blood Money provides G-Unit with the opportunity to attach themselves to the legacy of Mobb Deep, and it gives Mobb Deep the chance to connect with a younger set of rap fans. Both groups take full advantage. The G-Unit stamp is all over the album, from the packaging to the mostly self-contained content -- 50 Cent drops in on five tracks, while Young Buck, Tony Yayo, and Lloyd Banks also guest. The album alternately sounds like a proper Mobb Deep album and a Mobb Deep album hosted (and occasionally overrun) by G-Unit, and neither camp is close to operating at full strength. The best example of the alliance's negative effect on the headliners is "Give It to Me," a rote "Candy Shop" knockoff in which Prodigy only fuels the argument that he has slipped as a lyricist: "I'm tired of finger-f*cking this phone/Phone calls bore me, you got me horny." Though Havoc (six tracks), Alchemist ("The Infamous"), and Sha Money XL and Ky Miller ("Put Em in Their Place") come up with some productions worthy of Mobb Deep's old standard, they're easy to lose in multiple stretches of plodding low-wattage tracks. The flashes of brilliance that were once routinely delivered by Havoc and Prodigy are few and fleeting here. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released May 20, 2019 | Firefly

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2006 | G-Unit Records

Blood Money provides G-Unit with the opportunity to attach themselves to the legacy of Mobb Deep, and it gives Mobb Deep the chance to connect with a younger set of rap fans. Both groups take full advantage. The G-Unit stamp is all over the album, from the packaging to the mostly self-contained content -- 50 Cent drops in on five tracks, while Young Buck, Tony Yayo, and Lloyd Banks also guest. The album alternately sounds like a proper Mobb Deep album and a Mobb Deep album hosted (and occasionally overrun) by G-Unit, and neither camp is close to operating at full strength. The best example of the alliance's negative effect on the headliners is "Give It to Me," a rote "Candy Shop" knockoff in which Prodigy only fuels the argument that he has slipped as a lyricist: "I'm tired of finger-f*cking this phone/Phone calls bore me, you got me horny." Though Havoc (six tracks), Alchemist ("The Infamous"), and Sha Money XL and Ky Miller ("Put Em in Their Place") come up with some productions worthy of Mobb Deep's old standard, they're easy to lose in multiple stretches of plodding low-wattage tracks. The flashes of brilliance that were once routinely delivered by Havoc and Prodigy are few and fleeting here. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released September 27, 1996 | LOUD - Legacy

Providing a fairly even-handed representation of each album pre-Blood Money, this 17-track anthology is more like a sampler than a proper "best of." Three tracks are taken from both The Infamous and Hell on Earth -- Mobb Deep's pair of must-own mid-'90s classics -- as well as lesser works like Infamy and Amerikaz Nightmare. Other albums, including Prodigy's H.N.I.C., are represented once or twice, and a pair of previously unreleased cuts -- middling G-Unit-era productions from Havoc -- are added to bait the hardcore fans. Those same fans could argue about the track selection until the end of time (a true best-of might be as much as 70 percent reliant on the first two albums), but the disc is a fine way to get yourself acquainted with one of the most excellent East Coast hardcore duos, and it'll only reinforce the compulsory nature of The Infamous and Hell on Earth. [Eight years after this 2006 set came out, Legacy released Playlist: The Very Best of Mobb Deep, which consisted of the same tracks.] © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released July 16, 2018 | Firefly

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released December 11, 2001 | LOUD - Columbia

Long considered New York's most rugged and hardcore rap group of the '90s to ever make it big, Mobb Deep finally soften up a bit on Infamy. The album is a turning point for Prodigy and Havoc -- and a timely one indeed. Shortly before Infamy hit the streets, Jay-Z had blasted Mobb Deep -- as well as Nas -- on "Takeover," berating Prodigy in particular for being fake. Nas fired back on his Stillmatic album with the cutting song "Ether"; Mobb Deep didn't. Instead, the Queensbridge duo went about their business and released Infamy, their most accessible album yet -- the sort of album many fans never would have expected. Granted, Mobb Deep still rep the street life here, as songs such as "Kill That Nigga," "My Gats Spitting," and "Hurt Niggas" no doubt illustrate. However, songs such as "Pray for Me," "Hey Luv (Anything)," and "There I Go Again" sent quite a different message; the first features Lil' Mo, the second 112, and the third Ron Isley -- each there to smooth out Mobb Deep's rough sound. And it works, particularly in the case of the thug ballad "Hey Luv (Anything)," which garnered the most exposure the duo had yet experienced and introduced Mobb Deep to a broader audience. © Jason Birchmeier /TiVo
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released August 26, 2015 | Mobb Deep LLC

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R&B - Released January 1, 1993 | 4th & Broadway

On their debut, Havoc and Prodigy tell the listener in all sorts of overconfident manners that there are few people out there who can mess with Mobb Deep. In fact, they do so in 14 different ways on Juvenile Hell. Mostly produced by Mobb Deep themselves, this album is rawness at an unrelenting pace, with an undeniable, relentless, and often irrational energy. The intro cut sets the mood as a warning, set to a "Queens brand" production. The tempo is kind of fast, but the bassline rolls to easily facilitate a strong head nod. The sampled horn stabs help to remind you that, after all, it's still music. Over this beat Prodigy cautions: "It's called Juvenile Hell; you won't survive long." In the first few songs, Mobb acquaints the listener with the life of a "frustrated and confused young juvenile" living in Queens. Juvenile Hell is hardcore, but not void of musical pr creative effort and accomplishment; it's really cool, serious, and 100 percent hip-hop. Highlights include "Flavor for the Non Believes," "Peer Pressure," "Stomp Em Out" (featuring Big Noyd), and "Hold Down the Fort." When Juvenile Hell was initially released, it didn't do so well in the stores. Perhaps it was the excess of threats and proclamations making up Juvenile Hell that kept buyers away in 1993, or maybe it was the label's inability to market this virulent project correctly. In any event, it's an album worthy of historical note. © Qa'id Jacobs /TiVo
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released May 17, 2015 | Mobb Deep LLC

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released April 17, 2020 | RCA Records Label

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released October 14, 2005 | Famous Records, Corp.

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released June 18, 2018 | Atlantic Records