Mobb Deep:"Got Rich And Stopped Trying"
Mobb Deep is gone. Club Mobb is what you have now. And you can either take it or leave it.
To me the last classic, dark, moody, make-me-wanna-open-fire-on-a-group-of-innocent-schoolchildren Mobb Deep single was "Quiet Storm." Hav and P were sharp as ever on the boards and on the mic respectively......and then.......
I'm sorry.....but I've never seen ANY emcee past or present be as VISIBLY affected by a dis as Prodigy was by that Summer Jam screen. All of a sudden, the same emcee who gave us countless quotables for 3 albums sounded as flustered and unfocused as ever. Hell, most of the time he wasn't even RHYMING..... Thus, we saw the beginnings of what I call "Club Mobb, a group that had had their street cred tested so many times (see: unfavorable incidents with TruLife and Keith Murray), that they figured '**** it.....let's take *****s to the club' and the results ranged from dope ("Burn"), to dope-once-it-grows-on-you ("Got It Twisted"), to horrid ("Hey Luv" feat. 112).
So what exactly happened?
Most people don't realize that the magic of Prodigy (and Mobb for that matter), lied in Prodigy's first bars. Literally......Prodigy has some of the most classic and memorable first bars in hip hop history, and that made for their best singles. Don't believe me?
"I got 'chu stuck off the realness....." -Shook Ones
"The saga begins.....we go to war/ I draw first blood be the first to set it off...." -Hell On Earth
"I put my lifetime in between the paper lines...." -Quiet Storm
"I break bread, r i b s, hunnid dolla bills...." -Keep It Thoro
Now as you listen to Blood Money try to find that bar. Dig through that album and search for that one line.....that ONE bar from Prodigy that made you and your mans rap along in unison like "I used to be in love with this ***** named E&J/ don't **** with her no more now I **** with Tanqueray" from "Drink Away The Pain."
You can't find it, 'cause its not there.
For better or worse depending on how you look at it, Havoc is now the best MC in Club Mobb. I take my hat off to him. Dude sounds hungrier than ever. And although P still has his moments (his verse on "Capital P, Capital H" is dope), for most of the album he's the same rambling, non-rhyming, unfocused guy that he's been for the past few years. He really sounds clinically depressed. It's sad.
So aside from its obvious artistic shortcomings, what does G-Unit have to do with people's hate for Blood Money?
Like I told y'all so many times, even in regards to my OWN career.....in this game, PERCEPTION is reality.
And if people's general perception is that you cashed in 13 years of hard-earned respect for a Porsche...
AND you're rollin with the industry's hot new franchise boy (who DISSED you a year earlier, mind you)......
AND gave him total control of your album...
AND engaged in blatant cock-sniggling in interviews and on records by referring to him as Curtis Billion Dollar Budget Jackson.......
AND the only features on the record are G-Unit (no Noyd or any other QB *****s).......
Then what is the general consensus?
"Maaaaaan, them Mobb Deep *****s sold the **** out," that's what.
Now personally, I have no problem with an artist selling out, or cashing in (however you look at it)....but I understand the ramifications of it. And the fact remains that when you sell out: 1) it damn sure better be financially worth it so that you NEVER have to sell out again, and 2) your post sell-out records better be artistically ****ing BULLETPROOF. I mean, you better make the record of a lifetime or else there will be hell to pay.
And from the looks of things, Mobb may fail on both counts.
Cats are trashing the record left and right. Most die-hard Mobb fans have written them off by now. As dope as "Put 'Em In Their Place" is it ain't gon' get the 106 and TRL'ers, so those diamond numbers they were shooting for are looking more like Yayo's.
Not to place all the blame on 50, because truthfully, the songs he's featured on are among the best on the album. And I always thought "Outta Control" was dope, because it felt like a natural progression for Club Mobb.....it was the grown and sexy Club Mobb and it knocked. The same can't be said for "Give It To Me" and "Backstage Pass." They are club attempts that sound forced and honestly, are downright laughable.
I will always hold Hav and P near and dear to my heart, and they will always be viewed as hip-hop legends to me because of their first 3 albums (honorable mentions go to H.N.I.C and Free Agents tho). But I gotta call a spade a spade.
For longtime Mobb Deep fans, "Blood Money" pretty much confirmed our worst fears of what we thought a G-Unit/Mobb Deep partnership would bring forth:
Our boys done got rich and stopped trying.