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Remembering Mobb Deep (1992-2012)

By Hardcore Critic
Hip Hop Vibe Staff Writer

Back in April, posts from Havoc’s Twitter account made it appear as if he and longtime partner, Prodigy, were at odds. For two decades, the rappers have formed the group Mobb Deep. However, there was apparent separation, even after Havoc denied making the posts.

Months later, Havoc revealed he did make the Twitter posts and released his first single, post Mobb Deep, “Separated (Real From the Fake).” Around the time the Twitter posts were made, Hip Hop Vibe put together an obituary for Mobb Deep. But, when it looked as if their death was premature, it was disregarded.

It has become apparent now, Havoc and Prodigy are no longer a team. Havoc has sat down for several interviews, distancing himself from numerous beefs, most notably the one with Jay-Z. However, before Havoc and Prodigy “separated,” the two were closer than brothers.

Instead of focusing on the end of Mobb Deep and their expected feud, Hip Hop Vibe will instead focus on the good times when the two were a united force. While Mobb Deep never reached the heights of Jay-Z and 50 Cent, the duo did have many street anthems and classic songs with Nas. There will be much discussion about the end of Mobb Deep and the aftermath of it, but today they will be remembered for the way they were.

Young Prodigy and Havoc burst onto the scene in 1992 with their single, “Peer Pressure,” which they released through 4th & Broadway. The song was released early in the fall of 1992, becoming a cult classic, though it was overlooked by Billboard. “Peer Pressure” did well and opened the door for Mobb Deep’s critically successful album, Juvenile Hell. Mobb Deep would team up with the legendary Large Professor for the remix of “Peer Pressure.”

Watch “Peer Pressure (Large Professor remix)” by Mobb Deep below:

Later in the 1990s, Mobb Deep would come into their own, signing with Loud Records. Upon signing with Loud, the duo began working on their sophomore album, The Infamous, which was released in 1995. During this time, Mobb Deep began receiving a bit of commerical respect and they were called upon by legendary rapper, LL Cool J. Mobb Deep appeared alongside Keith Murray, who they engaged in a feud with, Fat Joe, another rival, and Foxy Brown in the “I Shot Ya (remix).”

Watch “I Shot Ya (remix)” by LL Cool J ft. Keith Murray, Fat Joe, Mobb Deep, and Foxy Brown below:

Mobb Deep would gain more attention, however, for their song, “Shook Ones, Pt. II,” which has gone on to become one of the most-notable songs in hip hop. During this period of time, the young duo, fresh out of their teen years, found themselves embroiled in the rapidly growing feud between the East and West Coast. The feud was headlined by Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G., but Mobb Deep is notable for being the only East Coast act to actually diss Tupac by name.

During this time, Mobb Deep also began their longtime alliance with Nas, who was also caught up in the exchange with Tupac Shakur. Before the feud, ironically, Nas received comparisons to Tupac, as his lyrics were initially centered around social issues. Due to both Nas and Mobb Deep being from Queens, they worked together on numerous projects and would be involved in more high profile feuds together. Mobb Deep suddenly found themselves among the most-discussed rappers in the game.

Watch “Shook Ones, Pt. II” by Mobb Deep below:

Only one year after releasing their critically-acclaimed sophomore album, The Infamous, Mobb Deep returned with Hell on Earth, which served as a sequel to their previous effort. The album contained several well-received singles, along with controversial tracks, such as “Drop a Gem on ‘Em,” which was a response to Tupac Shakur’s “Hit ‘Em Up,” released after he died. “God Pt. III” and the title track were among the singles released from the album, all of which were cult classics.

Released late in 1996, Mobb Deep carried their momentum over into 1997, in which many of their singles would be released. At this point, hip hop was searching for new leaders, as Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. had died. In New York City, many were choosing either Jay-Z or Nas to emerge triumphant. Jay-Z, of Brooklyn, began taking shots at both Nas and Mobb Deep of Queens. A subliminal war of words would ensue for several years.

Listen to “Drop a Gem on ‘Em” by Mobb Deep below:

Watch “God, Pt. III” by Mobb Deep below:

Following the release of Hell on Earth, Mobb Deep took a break from releasing albums. They worked with Mariah Carey, being featured on the remix of her single, “The Roof.” Mobb Deep also collaborated with fellow New York City legendary duo, Capone-N-Noreaga, on the song, “L.A., L.A.,” a diss track aimed at various West Coast hip hop artists. Still one of the biggest part of the feud between the East and West Coast, Mobb Deep continued to live up to their name, “infamous.”

Method Man also called upon Mobb Deep, as he featured them alongside Inspectah Deck on his single, “Play IV Keeps.” Though the duo had taken a break from putting out new music, they worked with a number of artists. As their hiatus came to an end, Mobb Deep also got back in the studio with Nas and the subliminal war with Jay-Z heated up. On his Nastradamus album, Nas continued his war of words with Jay-Z and featured Mobb Deep on the track, “Family,” however, Mobb Deep had new music on the way.

Watch “The Roof (remix)” by Mariah Carey ft. Mobb Deep below:

Listen to “Play IV Keeps” by Method Man ft. Inspectah Deck and Mobb Deep below:

Listen to “Family” by Nas ft. Mobb Deep below:

In the final year of the 20th Century, Mobb Deep returned with their third studio album, Murda Muzik. Mobb Deep returned with a bang, as their single, “Quiet Storm,” immediately became an anthem. The duo invited Lil’ Kim onto the remix of the song, which she used as an outlet to target Foxy Brown. Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown had once been friends, but their own subliminal beef led to the two becoming rivals and Lil’ Kim dedicating her verse on “Quiet Storm (remix)” by Mobb Deep.

Lil’ Kim was also featured in the big-budget music video, which was directed by Hype Williams. “Quiet Storm” remix went on to become one of the biggest urban hits during the summer of 1999. While Murda Muzik did not become the critical success of the gold-selling Hell on Earth, the album became their most-successful album to date, going platinum. Mobb Deep held their tradition up and featured Nas on their single, “It’s Mine,” which was released in 2000.

Watch “Quiet Storm (remix)” by Mobb Deep ft. Lil’ Kim below:

Watch “It’s Mine” by Mobb Deep ft. Nas below

It would be another two years before Mobb Deep released another new album. Taking a brief hiatus, Mobb Deep remained relevant through their collaborations, once again. During their hiatus, Jay-Z finally mentioned both Mobb Deep and Nas by name, which birthed the high profile feud between Jay-Z and Nas. The alliance between Mobb Deep and Nas was stronger than ever, as they appeared on Stillmatic, on the track, “Destroy & Rebuild.”

Mobb Deep returned in late 2001 with their critically-acclaimed album, Infamy. On the album, Mobb Deep experimented and got out of their comfort zone. The first single off the album, “Hey Luv,” featured then-Bad Boy Records’ R&B group, 112. Infamy would become another commercial success for Mobb Deep. While the album did not certify platinum, Infamy did reach gold, selling 800,000 copies to date.

Watch “Hey Luv” by Mobb Deep ft. 112 below:

Infamy would prove to be the final Mobb Deep album released on Loud Records, as the label’s roster was dumped into Jive Records, as Mobb Deep entered a three-year hiatus. During their time off, Mobb Deep released a mixtape, Free Agents: The Murda Mixtape, which featured the single, “Double Shots.” Mobb Deep also began working on their sixth studio album, Amerikaz Nightmare, which featured the hit single, “Got it Twisted.” The album was their first since their debut to not feature Nas.

Watch “Got it Twisted” by Mobb Deep below:

Working with Nas proved to be a thing of the past in the following summer. In 2005, 50 Cent continued his slaughtering of the rap game, making enemies with Fat Joe, Jadakiss, Nas, and even his own crew member, Game. During this period of time, 50 Cent also dissed Mobb Deep, referencing Jay-Z as the winner of their feud. Ironically, Mobb Deep would sign with G-Unit Records later that year, days after hanging out with Game, upon joining the team, they were featured on 50 Cent’s hit single, “Outta Control (remix).”

Watch “Outta Control (remix)” by 50 Cent ft. Mobb Deep below:

Once Mobb Deep became a part of G-Unit Records, they began working on their first album with the crew, Blood Money. While Prodigy said the deal with 50 Cent was good business, many fans were turned off by the deal. One of the biggest parts of the deal included Mobb Deep having to go against Nas. However, this was not very difficult, as Prodigy revealed he was upset with Nas for ending the feud with Jay-Z, as Mobb Deep had not resolved their issues.

Mobb Deep, during this period of time, only worked with members of G-Unit, collaborating with Young Buck, who is now no longer a part of the crew, for “Project Niggas.” Two singles came from Mobb Deep’s first and only G-Unit album, “Give It to Me,” featuring Young Buck and “Creep” with 50 Cent. Both singles were met with a lukewarm response and the album was met with the same lukewarm reaction.

Watch “Give It to Me” by Mobb Deep ft. Young Buck below:

Watch “Creep” by Mobb Deep ft. 50 Cent below:

While Mobb Deep would only release one album under G-Unit Records, they would remain with the company for three years, becoming 50 Cent’s biggest supporters. However, Mobb Deep would do more talking than working during this period of time. Havoc found most of his work coming as a producer and Prodigy only made headlines in 2007 when he began feuding with Saigon. In 2009, the duo was effectively ended, as Prodigy was sent to prison and Interscope Records forced 50 Cent to drop them from G-Unit.

Last year, Prodigy was released from prison and he returned with his book, My Infamous Life, which was full of stories about some of the biggest rappers in the game. Several of these rappers, including Ja Rule, N.O.R.E., and Cadillac Tah called Prodigy out, saying his stores about them were false. While Ja Rule and N.O.R.E. were calm about the situation, Cadillac Tah took offense and posted a Facebook rant about Prodigy.

In 2011, Mobb Deep did release their comeback mixtape, Black Cocaine, which was met with positive reviews. Out from under the wing of G-Unit, Havoc and Prodigy also made amends with Nas, getting back in the studio with him like old times. The trio reunited for a song called “Dog Shit.” Mobb Deep then revealed they had a new album in the works, their eighth studio album, which was to be self-titled. But, given their current circumstances, Mobb Deep fans should not hold their breath waiting for the project to release.

Listen to “Dog Shit” by Mobb Deep ft. Nas below:

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