As many East Coast hip hop heads know, this past week carries special significance for the legendary hardcore duo Mobb Deep. Last Tuesday marked the 22nd anniversary of The Infamous, an archetype of grimy 1990’s New York hip hop. For our latest episode of “Open Space,” Prodigy of Mobb Deep stopped by MASS APPEAL to tell us exactly how important The Infamous really was; especially after Mobb Deep’s not-so-stellar debut album, Juvenile Hell.
“We ain’t going to get another chance after this,” Prodigy said, keeping it real as ever. “If we flop again it’s over. So we regrouped, went into the crib—mad 40s, mad weed—and started grinding, like really making beats.”
By focusing heavily on production, Prodigy and Havoc crafted the signature sound for which Mobb Deep is known. “The lifestyle that we were living, the lifestyle that we grew up in, the beats just naturally came out like some dark, sinister-sounding, shit,” Prodigy added. “The lyrics were easy after that because the beats pulled the lyrics out of me.”
Thankfully for Mobb Deep, this reinvention of their sound fared well, commercially and critically. The Infamous was certified Gold just two months after its release and remains one of the most revered albums in hip hop today.
Check the rest of our interview with Prodigy where he speaks on getting Mobb Deep’s demo into Q-Tip’s hands, the making of his 1999 single “Quiet Storm,” and how the bootlegging of their fourth album, Murda Muzik, actually helped it go platinum.