Mobb Deep is an American hip hop duo from Queens, New York, USA,
that consists of Havoc and Prodigy. The duo is "one of the most
critically acclaimed hard-core East Coast hip-hop groups."
The group is best known for its dark, hardcore delivery, as exemplified
by the single "Shook Ones Pt. II." Mobb Deep have become
one of the most successful rap duos in hip hop, having sold over
3 million records. The majority of their albums have been critically
acclaimed, in particular The Infamous, which is considered a classic.
They are partially credited for the resurgence of East Coast rap
in the early to mid-'90s.
Havoc and Prodigy were also judges for the 7th annual Independent
Music Awards to support independent artists' careers.
Havoc and Prodigy started rhyming in 1986, then later they both
attended the High School of Art and Design in New York City. Havoc
took the role of producer and secondary MC, while Prodigy assumed
the position of primary MC. Originally dubbing themselves the Poetical
Profits, the duo later changed its name to Mobb Deep in order to "reflect
their reputation on the streets.")) When Havoc
and Prodigy were 18, they released their debut album as Mobb Deep,
called Juvenile Hell, which was led by the single "Peer Pressure." The
album sold poorly and was 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. However, a few songs from Juvenile Hell did
gain some recognition, such as "Hit It from the Back," "Locked
in Spofford," and "Me and My Crew." Also in 1993,
Havoc had a guest appearance on the critically acclaimed Black Moon
album Enta Da Stage, on a song called "U Da Man."
 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. Mobb Deep portrayed the struggles of living
in New York City's Queensbridge Houses. Following its release, The
Infamous became one of the most influential albums of the East Coast
hardcore hip-hop genre. The duo's production stood out, as the beats
were often hard-hitting and direct—a testament to Havoc, who
produced the tracks almost exclusively throughout Mobb Deep's career.
Furthermore, the smash hit single "Shook Ones Pt. II" received
critical acclaim and was well-received within the hip-hop community.
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 the hardcore hip-hop scene, along with contemporary
East Coast rappers like The Notorious B.I.G., Wu-Tang Clan collective,
Jay-Z, and fellow Queensbridge associate Nas.
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. The CD,
meant to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic among African American
men, was heralded as "a masterpiece" by The Source magazine.
In 1998, the duo collaborated with reggae dancehall rapper Bounty
Killer on the track "Deadly Zone" for the soundtrack to
Blade. In 1999, they released the highly anticipated Murda Muzik
album. Despite extensive bootlegging (nearly 30 songs of unreleased
material leaked onto the Internet) and countless delays, the album
debuted at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and quickly received
platinum certification—further highlighted by the popular single "Quiet
Storm." Shortly afterward, Prodigy released his long-awaited
solo album H.N.I.C, in which the MC collaborated with other artists
(B.G. and N.O.R.E.) and producers (including The Alchemist, Rockwilder,
and Just Blaze).
Mobb Deep released Infamy 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 raw, minimalist, stripped-down beats
and toward more commercial fare with such songs as "Hey Luv
(Anything)." This transition fostered accusations of "selling
out"—upsetting many long-time fans who did not wish to
see them veer away from their original style.
Although these stylistic adjustments opened up Mobb Deep to a wider
audience, many critics and fans consider their style change as a
detriment to Mobb Deep's street image and record sales (most evident
when comparing the platinum-selling Murda Muzik to Infamy, which
struggled to attain gold-record status).
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, which was seen by
the general hip-hop audience as a weaker release, resulting in poor
sales and the group’s subsequent 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.
Main article: Mobb Deep discography
* Juvenile Hell (1993)
* The Infamous (1995)
* Hell on Earth (1996)
* Murda Muzik (1999)
* Infamy (2001)
* Amerikaz Nightmare (2004)
* Blood Money (2006)