June 9, 2007

Mobb Deep - Juvenile Hell (April 13, 1993)

I know, I know. "What the fuck? You keep promising a review of The Massacre, you fucking liar!" As I wrote before, I have to be in a particular state of mind to write about certain albums, because I feel that every album should be judged by its own merit, but at the same time, listening to music I don't like tends to ruin my mood, and I'm not having that, yet. It's coming, though.

In the meantime I thought I'd bring out a remotely affiliated duo, Mobb Deep. Before they committed career seppuku by signing with Curtis Jackson, Havoc and Prodigy were your average teenage duo from Queensbridge who rapped about gangsta shit and the bitches they fucked. The difference between Mobb Deep and your average thugged-out misogynistic rapper is the skill level; Mobb Deep was actually pretty good.

Was.

Most people remember Mobb Deep's breakthrough single on Loud Records, "Shook Ones, Pt. II", as well they should, because it is an undisputed classic. Their album The Infamous is often brought up in conversation between people who have nothing else better to do than to discuss the best hip hop albums from the East Coast.

Which is fine and all, but Juvenile Hell is their actual debut.

Released on 4th and Broadway Records, Mobb Deep dropped their first album (along with their original name, Poetical Prophets) to general disinterest. Which shouldn't be a shock; the album is filled with violent and sexist lyrics; therefore, they sounded like every single other rapper ever. A couple of songs generated a bit of a spark, but for the most part, nobody cared.

I guess their live shows were pretty decent, though, since they were soon signed to Loud Records, and the rest is, well, something that we will touch on when I review their second album. (Side note: later on in 1993, Havoc was a featured player on Black Moon's seminal debut Enta Da Stage. Yeah, I know, I was just as shocked as you are.)

1. INTRO
Groan...

2. ME & MY CREW
Seventeen-year-old Havoc sounded a bit like Prodigy, so it was hard for me to distinguish their verses at first. Havoc rides this beat like a ten-year old riding a motorcycle with no handlebars and a .08% blood alcohol content: that is, not very well.

3. LOCKED IN SPOFFORD
Not horrible. Havoc fares much better here. Fans of Havoc's production on The Infamous forward will be terribly discouraged with this album, by the way.

4. PEER PRESSURE
Prodigy's lyrical prowess obviously isn't at the Infamous level yet, but he's not bad.

5. SKIT #!
...

6. HOLD DOWN THE FORT
Supposedly produced by both Havoc and Prodigy. Look past the unnecessary skit-like discussion during the chorus, and this song is actually pretty fucking good.

7. BITCH ASS N---A
From the Nicolas Cage film of the same name. (Haven't seen that in a while, huh?)

8. HIT IT FROM THE BACK
For a song about how to render aid when someone is choking, completely devoid of any medical advice.

9. SKIT #2
No comment.

10. STOMP 'EM OUT (FEAT BIG NOYD)
Big Noyd's actual debut. He's not bad, but "Give Up The Goods (Just Step)" is a better introduction for a guy better known from the Domino's Pizza commercials.

11. SKIT #3
What the fuck? Three skits in seven tracks? Who sequenced this thing?

12. PEER PRESSURE (THE LARGE PROFESSOR REMIX)
Sounds exactly as it reads. What do you mean, you've never heard of Large Professor? Sigh...

13. PROJECT HALLWAYS
Whoever predicted that Havoc would eventually outshine Prodigy on the mic, hit me with a comment below; I'm looking for some lucky lottery numbers.

14. FLAVOR FOR THE NON-BELIEVERS
Available in fruit punch, orange, and nacho cheese.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Juvenile Hell is a surprisingly decent debut album. It's best you don't go into it expecting much, since the beats mostly suck and the rhymes had yet to be honed, but fans of The Infamous will be pleased. Fans of Blood Money, though, should be dragged out into the streets and beaten with MC Hammer LP's until fully embarrassed.

BUY OR BURN? If you can find it for fifty cents (ooh, a pun!), I'd pick this one up, but otherwise I'd just burn it, simply because it's easier that way.

BEST TRACKS: "Hold Down The Fort"; "Hit It From The Back"

(Don't agree with the above review? Leave a comment below! Don't be shy!)

-Max

RELATED POSTS:
Big Noyd - Episodes Of A Hustla

10 comments:

  1. AnonymousJune 09, 2007

    I really enjoyed your review of Kingdom Come as well...

    ReplyDelete
  2. from reading this i thought maybe i'll dl it to see if i agree, then a thought came........if this is thier debut and only worth burning surely it aint worth the bandwidth, what i mean is, how many artist's Debut's have been thier greatest achievements?

    In hip hop i'd say about 9/10..

    so imma just stick to The Imfamous and pretend that album is thier debut...lol

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think Juvenile Hell is a very good album. It's fresh, cool and also dark. I really like the cover and the two MCs, even if they're really better in The Infamous, aren't bad at all. A really cool beginning album for two teenagers. Still, I can't judge the lyrics because I didn't read'em (I'm French). :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I remember this album being pretty wack. I'm surprised you missed Primo production credit on Peer Pressure(the best song on the album). I love the blog, I've just discovered it so I'm trying to catch up on the reviews.

    ReplyDelete
  5. what do you mean when you say ''from the nicholas cage film of the same name''?

    ReplyDelete
  6. According to Prodigy's autobiography, Havoc wrote Prodigy's verse on Peer Pressure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AnonymousJuly 01, 2015

      His FIRST verse. The second one's all Prodigy.

      Delete
  7. AnonymousJuly 11, 2015

    I know this review was written over 8 years ago but sputnikmusic fucking JACKED your review, man

    http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/15147/Mobb-Deep-Juvenile-Hell/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I appreciate it.

      Delete