No Country for Old (Rap) Men: Should We Care About Mobb Deep Breaking Up?
Robbie of Unkut reflects on how we should be feeling about the Havoc and Prodigy beef... and if there’s any real beef at all4-Oct-2012
The Infamous and Hell On Earth stand strong as two of the finest testaments to New York Gun Talk Rap ever released – the former showcasing richly textured, atmospheric beats, while the latter delivered a stripped-down, stark economy of sound. Juvenile Hell was a great record too, but it’s on those two Loud Records releases that Havoc and Prodigy really hit their stride. Murda Muzik (the original bootleg version at least) and P’s H.N.I.C. solo set both provided more of the raw, but as the demand for raw, street-orientated rap began to wane, the diminutive duo struggled to remain relevant in the Rocafella/G-Unit era in the 00’s, culminating in Prodigy acquiring the ‘Ballerina P’ handle courtesy of Jay-Z’s public humiliation at Summer Jam.
It wasn’t until Bandana P dropped the musically superior H.N.I.C. 2 and Product of the 80s’ in 2008 that I started paying attention again, although by this point he had already become a caricature of the venomous wordsmith who had blacked-out on Apostle’s Warning 12 years earlier. When he returned from the bing last spring, his vocal performance was even less inspired, to the point where all of his new material is virtually unlistenable save for some dope Sid Roams and Alchemist beats. The less said about Havoc’s solo work the better, as both his beats and raps have become so uninspired that I’d rather chew on broken glass that have to sit through The Kush again. The Black Cocaine EP did contain the superb Get It Forever, but you could have replaced the Mobb with pretty much anyone and that song would have still won thanks to ALC and Nas.
Since then, the once infamous duo have been reduced to one-sided Twitter beef (which is ‘fem’, to quote Sadat X) and Hav’s Separated (Real from the Fake) diss track, which contains weak-sauce shots such as, “Falsetto like you belong in a pair of stilettos/you drinkin’ a woman’s drink I’m on that Hennesy level’. Not exactly Ether, Pt. II, is it? Regardless of whether or not this is another publicity stunt (resulting in the ‘beef’ getting ‘squashed’ before a new Mobb album drops in a month), or if Prodigy really is about to announce that he’s moving to Canada to shack-up in a log cabin with his former cellmate Big Phil, it’s fair to say that both of these veterans are well past their prime. Might I suggest that Autobiography P stick to writing books such as his hugely entertaining My Infamous Life, and perhaps Havoc can utilise his extensive experience in the music game to mentor the next generation of QB MC’s before the Infamous legacy is tarnished any further.
Keep up with Robbie from Unkut’s weekly ‘No Country for Old (Rap) Men’ here.