I realize that, so far, I have only reviewed albums that I liked, so I figured I would post a review of an album that I pretty much thought was, um, underwhelming, to put it politely. The victim? Blood Money, by Mobb Deep (and for those of you who are a little slow, Mobb Deep is a two-man group consisting of Prodigy and Havoc).
Let me begin by making something clear: I love Mobb Deep. Well, the old Mobb Deep. I actually think The Infamous is the best album of all-time, and Hell On Earth was a sure-fire classic, as well. Once the group dropped Murda Muzik, though, was when the selling out began. Murda Muzik wasn't awful, but you could just sense the commencement of Mobb Deep's eventual downfall throughout the project. Then, they came out with Infamy, and the destruction of Mobb Deep was in full force.
Blood Money was the last album the group made together, partly due to the fact that, shortly after, Prodigy went to prison. It was also their first album under G-Unit Records, and while many fans will attribute that to being the main reason why Mobb Deep fell off, it happened long before that (people will look for any little excuse to hate on 50 Cent).
So, without further ado, let's look at Blood Money, an album by a group that I refuse to even believe is Mobb Deep.
1. Smoke It
Okay; I'll actually concede that this beat, which was produced by Sha Money XL, isn't too bad. As a matter of fact, it's pretty good, but as soon as Havoc (who was always my favorite Mobb Deep member) starts rapping, you will start longing for the "Survival Of The Fittest" days when the Mobb was actually the Mobb.
2. Put 'Em In Their Place
This was the album's second single, and I just have to ask...why? The beat, done by Ky Miller and Sha Money XL, is less than pedestrian, and Prodigy thoroughly embarrasses himself on the record, spitting: "Gotta tank for a car, ice for an arm." Umm...what?
3. Stole Something
This is the first Havoc production on the album, so, naturally, I was looking forward to it. This is, after all, the same guy who produced nearly all of The Infamous and Hell on Earth, right? Wrong. This beat sounds like something I could make in 10 minutes right now on FL Studio, and Prodigy makes a fool of himself, once again: "Back on the East Coast I bury, now I'm partyin' with Halle Berry." Yeah well, that's great and all, but do we really care? My boy Lloyd Banks is featured here, and while he sounds grimier than Mobb Deep ever could at this point of their careers, his verse isn't anything spectacular.
Alright; this is pretty good. Havoc is on the boards again here, and the beat fits the name of the song; it really does creep. 50 Cent is featured, and he rips his verse; not necessarily in the sense of lyrics, but the way he flows over it is just sick. This is one of the album's better cuts.
5. Speakin' So Freely
Another Havoc beat, but this one is closer in sound to "Stole Something" than "Creep," meaning it isn't very good. Good kicks, but that's about it.
6. Backstage Pass
Ugh. There's bad, and then there's bad. This is the latter. It was produced by some guy named K Lassik Beats. That sounds like a name some 15-year old would come up with in their basement.
7. Give It To Me
This is kind of like a cheap knockoff of 50 Cent's "Candy Shop." That said, the Middle-Eastern-flavored beat here is actually pretty catchy. The lyrics are absolute garbage though. Young Buck makes an appearance and drops a verse.
8. Click Click
The fourth of five Havoc beats on the album. Too bad only two of them are halfway decent. This isn't one of them. Tony Yayo guest stars, by the way.
9. Pearly Gates
Now this is by far the best song on the album, primarily because of Exile's beat. I mean, this beat is absolutely crazy. Crazy. This makes me wonder why more big-name rappers don't ask Exile to produce records for them, because he is an animal. Anyway, as far as the lyrics go, Havoc rips this, and 50 Cent drops by and drops a great verse, too. Of course, though, Prodigy had to mess this up by coming through with one of the most controversial verses you'll ever hear. He decides to unleash his lyrical wrath on God and Jesus, blaming them for "leavin' us out to dry in straight poverty." He says he wants to beat Jesus like in The Passion of the Christ, and then shoot him to top it off. Okay, Prodigy; we get it; you're angry. Just shut up while you're ahead before you hurt yourself. Up until his stupid verse, this cut bangs.
10. Capital P Capital H
This beat was produced by Product & Whitton. Never heard of them? Me neither. Maybe that's why it sounds so terrible.
This track is actually solid. The beat, produced by Chad Beatz (what's with producers and putting some form of the word "beat" in their stage name? Don't they realize how tacky that is?), is pretty grimy, and Havoc actually drops some decent lines: "When I get that million bucks, will I remain the same, or will I have to get at niggas 'cause they sayin' I changed?" One of Blood Money's better songs. Not that that's some sort of big accomplishment or anything.
12. The Infamous
Did The Alchemist seriously produce this trash? Ugh. I am also starting to think this is 50 Cent's album, as he makes his third of six guest appearances. Don't get me wrong; I like 50, but six features? Isn't that overkill?
13. In Love With The Moulah
Even though the concept (which I'm sure you can decipher for yourself) is incredibly flimsy, the nice beat (those kicks are especially sick) produced by J.R. Rotem makes this track listenable.
14. It's Alright
This is the final Havoc production, and it's pretty nice. It has a real soulful feel to it, and 50 Cent and Mary J. Blige make appearances, although 50's cameo is rather brief. Wow. Do I seriously somewhat like back-to-back songs on this album?
15. Have a Party
This track was also on the soundtrack to 50 Cent's movie, Get Rich or Die Tryin', and it doesn't sound any better now than it did then. For some reason, Mobb Deep decided to make this cut Blood Money's first single, this even though it was already a single off 50's movie soundtrack a year earlier. Nate Dogg does the hook, but he can't save this record, which possesses a horrible and extremely generic beat.
16. Outta Control (Remix)
So Mobb Deep decided to take two songs that 50 Cent already released in 2005 (this was a bonus track on The Massacre) and make them the last two records on Blood Money? Smart. Real smart. Anyway, this Dr. Dre-produced cut isn't that bad. The piano-driven beat is pretty effective, as are the claps throughout.
I really want to know what in the world Mobb Deep was thinking when they put this out. Did they seriously think this was going to satisfy the same fans who bumped "Shook Ones Pt. II" back in the day? I mean, even 50 Cent had to know that this was a bad idea. The dark, grimy production that Havoc made so famous back in the 90s is completely gone, and it just doesn't seem right to see him only getting five production credits on a 16-track Mobb Deep project.
Perhaps the most disturbing part about Blood Money is that it may not even be the worst album Mobb Deep has put out, as Infamy gives this a run for its money. Amerikaz Nightmare, which was the album that preceded Blood Money, wasn't much better, either.
I honestly have never seen a bigger spiral downward from a rap artist or rap group than I have witnessed with Mobb Deep. They have gone from being one of the most respected duos to ever grace hip-hop to one of the genre's biggest laughing stocks.
That said, I will always have fond memories of The Infamous and Hell On Earth Mobb Deep, and, in my mind, I will always consider them to be the true Mobb. As far as the group now, I will pacify myself by forever thinking, who are these cheap impostors that put on Prodigy and Havoc costumes?
Ugh. Now I have to pick the top five tracks. This is going to give me a migraine.
TOP FIVE TRACKS
1. Pearly Gates (sans Prodigy's verse)
3. In Love With The Moulah
5. It's Alright
I don't have time for this.