Mobb Deep in 2013
New York, United States
|Years active||1992–2012, 2013–present|
Mobb Deep is an American hip hop duo from Queensbridge, Queens, New York, United States that consists of Havoc and Prodigy. The duo is "one of the most critically acclaimed hardcore East Coast Hip-Hop groups." The group is best known for its dark, hardcore delivery as exemplified by their hit track "Shook Ones (Part II)." Mobb Deep has become one of the most successful rap duos in hip hop, having sold over three million records.
Havoc and Prodigy first met each other at the High School of Art and Design in New York City. Originally dubbing themselves the Poetical Prophets, the duo later changed its name to Mobb Deep to "reflect their reputation on the streets." Before the group's career beginnings, a fifteen-year-old Prodigy was featured on the classic movie soundtrack to Boyz n the Hood on Hi-Five's track "Too Young". In 1993, when Havoc and Prodigy were nineteen, they released their debut album, Juvenile Hell which was promoted by the single "Peer Pressure." The album sold poorly and eventually met with harsh reviews that dismissed the duo as just another hardcore group with little to distinguish it from the rest of the hip-hop world, despite production by DJ Premier and Large Professor. In 1993 Havoc made a guest appearance on the critically acclaimed Black Moon album Enta Da Stage on a song titled "U Da Man." In 1994 the duo released a single titled "Shook Ones Part 1".
Rise to success
The group saw its first major success with their second album, The Infamous, released in 1995. Mobb Deep catapulted to the top of the hardcore hip-hop scene through Havoc and Prodigy's straightforward narration of street life. In this album, Mobb Deep portrayed the struggles of living in New York City's Queensbridge Houses where Havoc grew up. Following the release of The Infamous, Mobb Deep became some of the most prolific artists of the East Coast. The production of this album was very dark and sample-based thanks to Havoc, who produced the beats from this point forward. Furthermore, the hit single "Shook Ones Pt. II", a remix to the hit Shook Ones, received critical acclaim.
Mobb Deep's third album, Hell on Earth was released in 1996 debuting at number six on the Billboard Album Chart; the album continued the duo's portrayal of harsh street life while further pushing them to the forefront of Hip Hop scene along with contemporary East Coast Rappers like The Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, Wu-Tang Clan, and fellow Queensbridge rapper Nas. Nas as well as Method Man and Raekwon of the Wu Tang Clan appear on 'Hell on Earth'.
In 1996, they appeared on the Red Hot Organization's compilation CD, America is Dying Slowly alongside Biz Markie, Wu-Tang Clan and Fat Joe among many other prominent Hip Hop artists. This compilation was solely meant to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic among African American men and this compilation was heralded as "a masterpiece" by The Source Magazine, a Hip Hop publication. 1997 Mobb Deep was featured on Frankie Cutlass "Politics & Bullsh*t" album track title "Know Da Game" which also features Kool G Rap. In 1998, the duo collaborated with reggae dancehall artist Bounty Killer on the track "Deadly Zone" for the soundtrack to Blade. In 1999, they released the highly anticipated Murda Muzik album which, despite extensive bootlegging, had the majority of its songs unintentionally leaked. This resulted in delays in the official album release. When the album was officially released, it eventually debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 and quickly received Platinum Certification and was further promoted by the popular single "Quiet Storm." Shortly afterward, Prodigy released his long-awaited solo album H.N.I.C in which he collaborated with fellow artists like (B.G., N.O.R.E.) and producers (including The Alchemist, Rockwilder and Just Blaze).
East Coast vs. West Coast feud
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 Tupac Shakur's final days of incarceration. Members of Tupac's group, Outlawz, allegedly attended a Mobb Deep concert; they then visited with Tupac over public rumoring that the duo had snubbed them at the concert. Tupac dissed Mobb Deep on multiple tracks, including: "Hit 'Em Up" and "When We Ride on Our Enemies" in which Tupac makes light of Prodigy's sickle-cell disease. Additional Tupac diss tracks include: "Bomb First (My Second Reply)" where Tupac said "You're barely breathin'" and "Against All Odds," both of which were released on Tupac'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."
2000 to 2010
Mobb Deep released Infamy while in 2001 the song "Burn" (featuring Vita) was perceived as a response to Jay-Z's diss song "Takeover" on The Blueprint, as was "Crawlin'," in which Prodigy's two verses both mention Jay-Z. The album marked a major stylistic change in which the duo moved away from a raw, minimalist, stripped-down beat toward a commercial friendly in terms with such songs as "Hey Luv (Anything)." This transition fostered accusations of "selling out." In 2003, the group split with Loud Records and released Free Agents: The Murda Mix Tape, in which Havoc and Prodigy proclaimed themselves "free agents" and addressed the group's split with its old label and its search for a new label. Jive Records signed the duo later in the year through a deal with the group’s own imprint. Mobb Deep then released Amerikaz Nightmare in 2004. The record sold poorly and lead to the group’s departure from the label. Today, as a result of various mergers, all of Mobb Deep's studio albums from 1995 to 2004 are owned by Sony Music Entertainment.
In June 2005, Prodigy and Havoc announced they had signed with 50 Cent's label G-Unit Records. 50 Cent had a connection to Mobb Deep as he grew up in Queens and Havoc had provided production on projects by G-Unit, Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo. Mobb Deep released their eighth album, Blood Money in 2006. It features G-Unit members 50 Cent, Kav Thee Sav, Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo and Young Buck as well as Mary J. Blige and Nate Dogg. In 2006, Mobb Deep became the first American hip-hop duo to perform in India, via VH1's Hip Hop Hustle. In late 2009, Mobb Deep were released from their contract with the G-Unit label.
2011 to present: Break-up, reunion and The Infamous Mobb Deep
On April 4, 2011, a possible new Mobb Deep single named "Dog Shit," this song features rapper Nas. This is the first official song by Mobb Deep since Prodigy's release from jail. It was produced by Havoc and Alchemist.
On July 27, 2012, Havoc told AllHipHop in interview that the group is on an indefinite hiatus. According to HipHopDX, Havoc and Prodigy had fallen out after Havoc blasted Prodigy on Twitter, and eventually, a sound clip leaked of him taking numerous shots at his former Mobb Deep partner during their concert at SXSW. At first, Havoc claimed that he was hacked. However, he then confirmed it was him because he felt that Twitter was not a place to resolve a beef. He also stated that he had a diss track aimed at Prodigy in the making, "Same Shit Different Day". The song later turned out to be "Separated (Real from the Fake)," which appeared on Havoc's solo album 13.
However, in January 2013 Prodigy said that he is sure he would record with Havoc in the future. Mobb Deep appeared on Papoose's debut album The Nacirema Dream on the track "Aim, Shoot". They later reunited and performed for Paid Dues on March 30, 2013 and an international 20th anniversary tour starting in May 2013. On March 22, 2013 they officially reunited for an interview and explained that music is the most important thing in their lives and that they had been friends for too long to break up the friendship.
Around the May 2013 release of Havoc's third studio album, 13 Havoc announced that him and Prodigy had been in the studio for over a month working on the duo's eighth studio album which was already "halfway done." He also stated that he will be doing the entire production on the album.
On April 1, 2014, the group released their eighth studio album, The Infamous Mobb Deep, a double album which included one CD with original new music and one with unreleased tracks from sessions for the The Infamous.
- Juvenile Hell (1993)
- The Infamous (1995)
- Hell on Earth (1996)
- Murda Muzik (1999)
- Infamy (2001)
- Amerikaz Nightmare (2004)
- Blood Money (2006)
- The Infamous Mobb Deep (2014)
- Allmusic biography
- Edwards, Paul, 2009, How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC, Chicago Review Press, p. 323.
- Shapiro, Peter, 2005, The Rough Guide To Hip-Hop, 2nd Edition, Penguin, p. 258-259.
- Shapiro, Peter, 2005, The Rough Guide To Hip-Hop, 2nd Edition, Penguin, p. 259.
- Allmusic review
- Paid Dues Festival lineup
- Mobb Deep: Information from Answers.com Answers.com, Retrieved on August 14, 2011
- Mobb Deep MTV, Accessed 24 July 2007
- Mobb Deep and Jive Records split MTV, Accessed 24 July 2007
- Horowitz, Steven J. (2012-07-27). "Havoc Says Mobb Deep Is On An "Indefinite Hiatus," Confirms He Blasted Prodigy On Twitter". HipHop DX. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
- Burgess, Omar (2013-01-10). "Prodigy Says He's Sure There Will Be Another Mobb Deep Album | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales". HipHop DX. Retrieved 2013-11-04.
- Horowitz, Steven J. (2013-02-06). "Mobb Deep To Perform At Paid Dues Festival 2013, Embark On 20th Anniversary Tour | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales". HipHop DX. Retrieved 2013-11-04.
- Cooper, Roman (2013-03-23). "Mobb Deep Officially Reunites, Ready To Move On From Past Beefs & Record New Music | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales". HipHop DX. Retrieved 2013-11-04.
- Meara, Paul (2013-05-12). "Havoc Says That Prodigy Isn't Gay & Speaks On New Mobb Deep Album | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales". HipHop DX. Retrieved 2013-11-04.
- Interview with Prodigy - Prodigy Interview of 2006, Hip Hop Publication
- Prodigy Interview of 2007, Hip Hop Publication