The Infamous Mobb Deep
(Infamous Records / RED)
It’s a minor miracle that New York’s hip-hop duo Mobb Deep are releasing records in 2014. Since 2006’s Blood Money, Havoc and Prodigy have endured jail, feuds (chiefly with each other) and a stint as cornerstones of 50 Cent’s G-Unit family. Now reconciled and on the comeback trail, this eighth studio set – not to be confused with their 1995 breakout album The Infamous – gazes towards the past and the future. New music fills the first disc; the second side features unreleased tunes from The Infamous studio sessions. Of the fresh material, an often stiflingly claustrophobic vibe is broken by Dirt, with widescreen beats allowed to breathe, and a ray of almost sunny positivity via Legendary. Disc two peaks early when the fellow Queens legend Nas and the Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah and Raekwon are invited into the booth for the grimy, back-in-the-day treat Eye for an Eye. While pairing classic with contemporary is risky, it’s an interesting demonstration of the development of Mobb Deep’s thuggish methodology. At two hours, though, the entire experience might test the patience of the uninitiated.