July 15, 2007

Mobb Deep - Murda Muzik (August 17, 1999)

Queensbridge rappers in residence/fair housing advocates Havoc and Prodigy, better known by their birth names of Mobb and Deep, were coming off of two classic albums, and were ready to give the streets more of the same. However, just like Nas's I Am, the bootleggers were out in full force to fuck everything up.

Murda Muzik, their fourth full-length (and their third for the used-to-be-mighty Loud records), had the shit bootlegged out of it. The ironic part is that the bootlegged version actually garnered some pretty decent reviews. However, why would anyone purchase a legitimate copy of your album when they can pay three bucks for a CD-R from the guy on the corner? Havoc and Prodigy, sensing a way to make more of a profit, rushed several new tracks onto the official pressing, making the official Murda Muzik different enough to justify fans spending even more money.

The key word in that last sentence is rushed.

The Infamous duo have resorted to using a rap album intro. This is not a good sign.

This beat is not what you would expect from the guys who brought you The Infamous and Hell On Earth. This is a horrible way to introduce your album.

For those of you who were lucky enough to hear the original bootlegged version of Murda Muzik, this song was originally called "Deer Park". This is closer to what I was expecting. Cormega is decent, but Havoc steals the show. Oh, and Prodigy is on here, too.

It's almost as if Havoc used up all of his good beats on the last two albums, and used his MTV Music Generator to whip up some awful shit. And Prodigy's lyrics on this album are just fucking lazy. It's obvious that P reached his lyrical peak with Hell On Earth. Too bad there's like seventy more Mobb Deep albums in their goddamn catalog.

From the Nicolas Cage film of the same name.

One of the "rushed" tracks. I find it hard to believe that the Mobb would want to work with Junior M.A.F.I.A. cohorts Lil' Cease and Lil' Kim (you'll see her later) under normal circumstances. But then again, Havoc worked with Foxy Brown on her debut, so what do I know.

As a writer, I get pretty ticked off when words are blatantly misspelled with no cause or explanation. (You may conclude that hip hop isn't really the best fit for me then, but you'd be dead wrong.) Anyway, this song isn't even worth a mention otherwise, so I decided to complain about the spelling error in order to fill space. And now I'm done.

I can understand the complaints about this album. How many different ways can you rhyme about life in QB, hustling, killing, and sleeping around occasionally? Apparently, not many. Artistic growth has escaped the Mobb as of Murda Muzik.

This is an awkward collaboration between Houston (by way of Memphis) and New York. The beat is from (what it seems from the liner notes) an in-house Suave House producer, which was the label 8-Ball (and partner MJG) was signed to at the time. As such, 8-Ball sounds much more comfortable here than either Havoc or the newly lyrically handicapped Prodigy. And in the liner notes his name is listed as 8-Ball; I thought it was 'Eightball'?

Witness the slow, painful death of Prodigy's lyrical prowess on this track. This song is arguably the only opportunity P gets to paint his vivid pictures, so I'm led to believe he recorded this during the Hell On Earth sessions. Havoc's masterful sampling of "White Lines" proves that you can actually use elements of a song when creating a new composition, as opposed to the Puff Daddy/Trackmasters schools of sampling.

I understand that expectations were probably through the roof upon this album's release, but the inconsistency in the Mobb catalog is going to make me punch a hole through a wall in frustration. And yes, I get the sentiment of the song, but it's been done before, and it's been done better.

Wow, this was fucking pointless.

Sure, Hav and P sound out of place over an awful double-time bounce beat, but I feel sorry for the Chef. I picture that he had previously agreed to appear on the revamped Murda Muzik and was shocked to hear the beat when he arrived at the studio, but since the check had already cleared...

The fruitful relationship between Mobb Deep and production maestro The Alchemist officially started on this album. This beat is the best one presented on the entire fucking album. The lyrics, of course, suck, but the Mobb weed carriers are featured guests, so you shouldn't expect much.

I'm tired of writing that the beats are weak and the lyrics are uninspired. So, if I write "...", just assume the worst.

Kool G Rap gets all of my accolades here. As for Hav and P's lyrics and Al's beat: ...

Hav and P give us a song that sounds like they want to party. A precursor to their eventual crossover attempts, both with and without Curtis Jackson? Perhaps. Not horrible, but shouldn't these guys be out robbing people instead of dancing at the club?

The theme from Scarface is all over this song. Seems like Havoc didn't learn from his own sample lessons (see "Quiet Storm"). I think this song was the second single; while it's hilarious to hear Nasir Jones interpolate Brandy and Monica's "The Boy Is Mine", it's also really fucking sad.

Incredibly unnecessary remix. At least they gave us new lyrics, but there's no topping the original version. By "original", I, of course, mean "White Lines". Or even fucking Liquid Liquid's "Cavern". If anyone actually gets that reference, please leave a comment below.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Murda Muzik is another one of those albums that the artists were forced to deviate from their original vision, all because some bootleggers (on the Interweb and otherwise) wanted to make a quick buck. Well, I've heard the original version, and I gotta tell you: it's so much better than this shit. The tracks are sequenced better, flow a lot more smoothly, and it even features one of my all-time favorite Mobb Deep non-album tracks, "Thrill Me", featuring Big Noyd. The retail version is fucking weak. Havoc, possibly in an effort to diversify his sound, ended up polishing the beats to the point that they fucking sparkle when light reflects off of them. As for P? I didn't know that it was possible for one man to fall from grace in the short timespan between albums, but here's proof, all on a plastic disc.

BUY OR BURN? You don't want to buy this. Burn it if you must, but then you'll realize that the Mobb have now been relegated to the category of "Artists Who Have Maybe One Or Two Good Songs On Their Albums, But That's All".

BEST TRACKS: "Quiet Storm" (original, not the remix); "Adrenaline"; "What's Ya Poison"

(Agree/disagree with the above review? Leave some comments below! Otherwise, I'll just assume that all two of my readers agree with everything I write!)




  1. the most felonious vocalist in the wide world of showbusinessJuly 19, 2007

    This was definitely a step down for the official queensbridge murderers, lyrically and production wise. I still enjoy What's Ya Poison and Quiet Storm. I also enjoy P's verses on Allustrious as they are of Hell on Earth quality to me. Nas also had me thinking that he was back to using the faster flow that he featured on most of Illmatic. Instead he teamed up with Ginuwine and R.Kelly to tarnish the monument I had built to his greatness. Does anyone have a track listing to the bootlegged version of this album? I remember I took the train into the city on a Friday to cop it but the official version had already been bootlegged and I could no longer find the one with the blue cover. Oh yeah, Mega crushed everyone on his verse. But that's to be expected.

  2. this review is BULLSHIT. murda muzik is one of the mob's best albums, just under hell on earth. you are an awful, biased interviewer. any mobb fan LOVES this album so that leads me to believe you are not a mobb fan and therefore cannot relate at all to this kind of music. this is raw, real rap and when it was in it's prime too.

    COP MURDA MUZIK. this music is real, raw hip hop. something lacking in recent days.

  3. I think you got the tracks confused- Thug Music's beat is, in your terms, "...", whereas The Realest is one of the best on the album.

    Its okay, mistakes happen.

  4. You forgot to mention that on "It's Mine", Nas brags that Halle Berry blew a kiss at him at the Barbara Streisand concert!
    Holy shit, Nas.

  5. 8-ball and mjg are from memphis not houston..bra

  6. You're right, but the label is based out of Houston. I clarified this in the post anyway.

    Thanks for reading!

  7. you should write 8ball and mjg comin out hard, on top of the world, and on the outside looking in. and you should write Z-ro the crooked the souths and the worlds most under rated lyricist

  8. AnonymousJuly 28, 2010

    You wouldn't happen to still have of the bootleg, would you, Max? And if so, could you please share that discovery with the blog?

  9. Max hit the nail right on the head with this one. Murda Muzik was the beginning of the end for Mobb Deep.

    "I'm Going Out" was my favorite track on this album, and both "Thug Muzik" and "Adrenaline" were damn good. Other than that, I thought Murda Muzik was nothing better than average.

  10. Sorry Max this is one of favorite mobb albums. The realest is also a banger. Rae rides cant fuck with us sick.

  11. Any chance you could post the track listing for the original bootleg Please and thanks

    1. No. Not right now, anyway...

    2. takeashitformeAugust 02, 2013

      How bout now?

    3. 01. Quiet Storm
      02. Allustrious
      03. Mobb Comin' Thru (Ft. Big Noyd)
      04. Guns, Money, Pussy (Adrenaline)
      05. The Realest (Ft. Kool G Rap)
      06. Fuck That Bitch (Ft. Big Noyd)
      07. Feel My Gat Blow
      08. Where Ya Heart At?
      09. How You Want It? (What's Ya Poison) (Ft. Cormega)
      10. Murda Muzik
      11. Streets Raised Me [OG Mix] (Ft. Big Noyd & Chinky)
      12. Pile Raps
      13. Nobody Likes Me
      14. Hoe Gonna Be A Hoe
      15. U.S.A. (Aiight Then)
      16. Where Ya From (Ft. 8-Ball)
      17. Thug Muzik

    4. Nah Anonymous, that is the Promo Version
      THIS is the BOOTLEG version:

      1. Murda Muzik
      2. Deer Park Feat Cormega (titled What's Your Poison on retail)
      3. Feel My Gat Blow
      4. Hoes Gonna Be A Hoe
      5. Thrill Me
      6. Alllustrious
      7. Where You From Feat Eightball
      8. White Lines (version on retail)
      9. Where Ya Heart At?
      10. You Fuckin' Wit Feat Big Noyd (also known as 3 From NYC with the al green sample)
      11. Thug Muzik
      12. The Realest Shit Feat Kool G Rap
      13. This One
      14. That True Shit (titled Streets Raised Me on retail)

      Aint that right Max?

      Source: http://www.wutang-corp.com/forum/showthread.php?t=60399

    5. That seems to match the bootleg version I've seen.

  12. I agree with some things but its kinda better than what review says.the realest and let a ho be a ho beats are crazy

  13. Max you are buggin the fuck out bruh, this shit goes hard! Fuck you talking about the mobb dropped in quality after hell on earth... it was after THIS album. I suggest you listen to this again, the beats are crazy, and prodigy's rhymes are still here, you can feel his pain on several tracks on this album, Quiet Storm, Adrenaline etc. What you mean to say is Infamy onwards they completely lost it, and although this album aint as good as hell on earth or the infamous (c'mon though, not many are), this shit murda muzik is still a very, very good album.

    Also, if Jay-Z tried to go at Prodigy back in '96 Prodigy would have smacked Jay across his face, hope he's Feeling it (pun!). And yes, I'm talking about reasonable doubt Jay-Z. If you take the the peaks lyrically of both Jigga and Prodigy, Prodigy would win. Fuck all that conversation-style flow. Jigga just got gassed because he caught Prodigy on a bad day.

  14. AnonymousJuly 11, 2014

    My dude.
    Spread Love & Deer Park are the exact opposite. P mops the fucking floor with Havoc.

  15. AnonymousJuly 11, 2014

    On the real, Cormega DOMINATED Deer Park. Followed very distantly by Produgy. Havoc is a fucking waste of space.

  16. Dude. I think you're a bit butthurt. This album, by no means a buy, has some of the best Mobb songs in the group's history. Especially when it comes to P's lyrics. His showing on The Realest is vintage Prodigy.

  17. Your review is bullshit! Majority of it was based on complaining how supposedly "bad" this album was instead of pointing out the flaws & the good. In my opinion, Murda Muzik is just as good, if not better than Hell On Earth & The Infamous

  18. This is a pretty awful fucking review, take this shit DOWN

  19. I know you've said that your old reviews aren't really great, but I have to admit, this is the worst out of them all (no offense; no point in complaining about really old content); if any album would be worth a re-review (or a Reader Review), it's this one. Murda Muzik is not on the same level as the Infamous or Hell on Earth, but it still has a lot of classics. How can you hate on an album that had "What's Ya Poison", "Where Ya From", and "Quiet Storm"? Not to mention some other pretty solid songs on here as well. "It's Mine", "The Realest", "Thug Muzik", and even "Murda Muzik" and "U.S.A. (Aiight Then)" are pretty decent.

    1. The reviews are more sparsely written, but I still stand behind my general opinion. Yeah, Murda Muzik is much better than what would follow, but I still don't love it like I do its two predecessors. I think it has significant flow problems. That said, it's been my plan for quite a while to write about the bootleg, so we'll see how that goes.

    2. I will be looking forward to the bootleg review when you do decide to review it, as I also feel this review is way off. Streets Raised Me is awesome. Cormega definitely stole the show on What's Ya Poison, don't know what made you believe that Havoc walks away with the song as lyrically he barely contributes anything to that song. I have a soft spot for Where Ya Heart At and Quiet Storm is the best beat on the album (as well as the best song), instead of the Thug Muzik, which is also a great song on it's own. The Realest is also a great song where Prodigy becomes one of the only rappers who is able to hold his own against Kool G Rap. I feel like in this review you threw Murda Muzik in the same bag as Infamy, because of the fact that it doesn't hold up against The Infamous and Hell On Earth. I mean, this is better than Juvenile Hell and you DID recommend that a buy...
      Anyway, if you do still own the bootleg version (as there are a few tracks on there that I can't find with good quality online), it would be appreciated if you could send that my way. Hoping the Mobb aren't still pissed at fans bumping the bootleg to this day.

    3. I have a bad feeling that some of you two are expecting my opinion to be entirely different for the bootleg than it was for the retail version. It's not like Hav and P scrapped the entire album and recorded all-new songs, folks.

      I can't write about the bootleg before I find my copy of it, though, so I don't have anything to send, but if I locate a link online, I'll let you know in the meantime.

  20. if you consider yourself a Mobb Deep fan, how can you hate this album so much? While i do have the Bootleg version and the beats and lyrics of the scrapped tracks are the best of the bunch, its still a decent album . It seems like you thought being a hater was comedic or something. If you don't like "It's Mine" or "The realest" your NY hip hop fan credentials should be questioned.

  21. Max is spot on with his review of this record. For the most part Murda Muzik is a trash album, like much of what was being released at the time. The original version was better, but too bad it was bootlegged. No songs stand out to me. Most of the tracks are horrible such as THUG MUZIK, STREETS RAISED ME (can't stand Chinky btw), USA, SPREAD LOVE, CAN'T FUCK WIT, LET A HO, IT'S MINE etc.. Havoc was not himself lyrically or production wise and P was just ok on a few tracks (QUIET STORM was P's best performance on this album). If you think this album is a classic then you have low standards. Peace.