When Mobb Deep burst on the scene in 1995 with “The Infamous” they released some of the grimiest music ever in hip hop history. Since then in the 11 years, a lot has changed. Since then the grimy edge has been washed away with their record sales too with their last record not even reaching gold. Before they would only trust a selected view to help create their dark grimy vision and as time increased so did their circle of the chosen few. Even though everyone could see this with every release, but this hit the fans the hardest when they sign to 50 “Mr. Mainstream” Cent’s label G-unit records.
The album gets off with a head start with “Smoke it”. I feel the horns reflect as a sign of success over their last release. It’s quickly finished and we hear their newest single “Put em in their place”, the first single still holds some of their griminess with their computer based beat with the simple horns pattern and synth to create an atmosphere, but the biggest problem is, who is this aimed at? It’s too grimy to be in the head of the mainstream fans and it’s too pop to be for the underground. This equals the Mobb Deep to isolate both their audiences.
As you could imagine, the other G-unit members are plastered all over the track listing. This is to pull in a bigger audience, a different audience. While this does bring in more it also isolates some of their hardcore older fans. The first song with a G-unit member is “Stole Money” where Lloyd Banks joins the Mobb Deep lads over again a very simple beat from a few organ hits but seems to work.
After this, a flood of featuring slots is let in, with the other G-Unit members featuring on an embarrassing amount of 9 out of the 16 tracks. “Creep” where 50 Cent joins them, which BTW has already taken the title of the most annoying beat of the year in my view. The Beat is so simple yet so annoying, all the producer has done is gone up and down in a scale of keys to create it. Though “Give it to me” featuring the great Young buck is a much of an improvement with it’s Arab feel which would seem to be a great song for the club. The main problem is buck wasting his normally brilliant skill on this. The next guest I wish I could say that for the next guest but when it totally the opposite. Tony Yayo is the name he goes by and his whole career is a trainwreck. It’s a shame as this song had potential, with it’s trademark Mobb Deep grimy sound sampled cleverly from the Knight Rider theme song. One song which holds both good lyrics and beat is “Pearly Gates” ft 50 Cent, this a personal highlight for me has it is actually song with substance. The beat is a bouncy, yet quite soulful one with them talking about God and their lives. Plus this is all completed by a catchy hook from no other then 50 Cent. 50 who always delivers addictive hooks supplies them with one more. He joins them on “The Infamous” supplying them a very weak hook for them over a old school type of beat with it’s cowbell sounds and a very addictive bassline. He also joins them on the soulful “It’s Alright” perfectly finished with Mary J Blige.
50 also appears on the bonus tracks which can be found on other releases, the already mainstream hit “Outta Control (Remix)” which can also be found on The Massacre DVD reissue and “Have a party” feat another master of hooks, Nate Dogg which can be found of the Get rich or die trying OST.
Apart from the songs already mentioned and the other songs which there isn’t a G-Unit member in sight there’s only a measly 5 other tracks. Saying that with the G-Unit name over this release you can expect a few club tracks and there’s one more. The track has a bouncy beat with a popular mainstream sounding synth while they talk about girls and their advantages to their “Backstage Pass” which is handily the name of the track. This also has a quick appearance of 50. The popular sounding synth I described before also is used on “Capital P, Capital H” which makes this album sound quite repetitive. 2 of the 3 which I haven’t mentioned are also highlights to this album. “Daydreamin’” has a dark eerie feeling which is created by the rising strings and its Indian chimes. This track isn’t just good because of the beat but lyrics are quite good too with them describing everything they wanted but couldn’t get which a lot of us has felt like before. All this plus with a good hook. What more could you ask for? “In Love with The Moula” also has both good beat and good lyrics. While it is a used concept of them comparing money to a women but they do it cleverly while being backed by light pianos and strings.
In all this gets a 2 out of 5 maybe a 2.5
Everyone has seen the downfall toThe Infamous but now this must really be the death of them. The boatload of featuring slots from the G-Unit members is an obvious decision made by 50 and their marketing team. The sound and topics of this is their most risky shots for mainstream and by this like I’ve said before in this review it’s isolating their old fanbase and I don’t see it drawing the G-Unit fanbase that much either. Lyricism has always been weaker then most for them but has really gone downhill even for them. The beats have too with them having to ask more people to bail them out.
Recommendation: Don’t buy this. If you’re a fan of Mobb Deep and/or G-Unit give it a download and base your opinion on that instead of going straight out and buying this. In my opinion buy something worth while like Ghostface “Fishscale”, Vakill “Worst Fears Confirmed”, Dilated Peoples “20/20” or Gnarls Barkley “St. Elsewhere”. These have been 2006 best releases from the USA especially as not many good ones have been churned out.