December 5, 2007

Mobb Deep - Infamy (December 11, 2001)



We are in a rather large living room, decorated sparsely with furniture, ashtrays, a giant television near the front wall, and a large tacky velvet print of Al Pacino as Scarface mounted near the entrance. We watch as PRODIGY, a young rapper in his late twenties/early thirties, sits on the floor of the room, playing with a toy train set. His eyes widen with glee as the train makes safe passage through a plastic tunnel, but we can detect a look of sadness in those eyes. We can see several discarded toys laying around the area, including an Etch-A-Sketch, some Legos, and tiny plastic toy soldiers, in addition to an opened package wrapped in now-torn craft paper, a remnant of the day's mail.

I'm home!

The front door OPENS and we see HAVOC, another young rapper in his late twenties/early thirties, enter the room. (His entrance is accompanied by raucous applause on the soundtrack.) He is carrying a black briefcase and is dressed as a sharp businessman, albeit with a blue bandanna tied around his forehead. He removes his heavy coat and lays it on the sofa. The smile on his face quickly melts into concern as he sees his friend playing on the floor.

Oh, no! Oh, dear! What happened, dun? Are you alright?

(softly crying)
Nuh-nuh-nothing. (sniffle)

HAVOC scans the room and notices the opened package on the floor. He reaches for it, but PRODIGY grabs it first, and refuses to let go. With a scowl from HAVOC, PRODIGY relents, and we watch as the package is torn open. HAVOC pulls the contents out of the box: a pink tutu, intended for a ballerina no more than nine years old, and a card. HAVOC stares at this odd gift with disdain as he opens the card with his free hand. We see that PRODIGY is turned away. Inside the card, we read the following: "Best Wishes! Shawn C. Carter". HAVOC looks up, in hopes of catching PRODIGY's eye, but the other rapper is choosing instead to move his train to the next station.

P...this...this is nothing to be ashamed of, okay?

Yes it is, dun!

Listen to me. That was a long time ago, at lease three years.
Things change!

But...the tutu...and what about Summer Jam...

Forget about Summer Jam! Those pictures don't mean
anything! That mean old Shawn Carter is just...a bully,
nothing more!

A b-b-bully?

Exactly, dun. And the best way for us to handle a bully
is to buck up and ignore him, and get back in the studio
to record album number five.

Album five? Nah, dun, I got my thing going with these trains.
I'm about to add a new route...

(ignoring Prodigy)
Yes, album number five. You see, sometimes it's best to bury
yourself in work in order to forget your troubles. And it's more
productive than playing with your trains or cultivating your
nasty cocaine habit.

I don't know, dun. I don't think I'm up for an album right now.
I used up all my good rhymes on my solo!

Those were your good rhymes? Anyway, that's no problem!
You can just string together patches of lyrics from other songs,
and nobody will notice! Trust me, everything will be okay.

O-okay. But what about you? What about the beats?

Take a look at these.

HAVOC OPENS the briefcase, which we can see is filled with unlabeled CD-Rs, along with a small ZipLoc bag bursting with weed, a lighter, and a single 5th Avenue candy bar.

These are all of the beats that I couldn't give away! We can
use these, and if we need others, I'm sure our boy Al knows
some people that can knock something out in like three

PRODIGY that candy bar for me?

Of course, dun! You know I'm always looking out for you.

HAVOC hands the candy bar to PRODIGY. He notices the discarded Etch-A-Sketch on the floor around him.

Shawn got you so worked up that you brought out the
Etch-A-Sketch, huh? Why aren't you playing with that?

I was, but it got shook, and my drawing ran away.

HAVOC and PRODIGY share a knowing laugh, along with the canned studio audience on the soundtrack. Suddenly, we hear a doorbell RING.

What's that?

Relax, dun. I took the liberty of ordering in tonight.
Now don't forget to work on those verses, since we still
owe the label an album!

(visibly much happier)

Instead, PRODIGY goes back to playing with the train set, while we follow HAVOC to the door. He opens it fully, and we see NOYD, a pizza delivery guy of similar age to the two rappers, shivering in the cold.

Yeah, you guys order the QB special, um, with extra beef?

We hear laughter on the soundtrack, while HAVOC maintains a "Who, me?" look on his face.

That's me! Hey, I thought I ordered some bottled waters with this.

Yeah, but, um, sorry, we're out. The plant in Queensbridge,
where we get our supply, shut down a few months ago.

Nuts! Now what are we going to do?

As HAVOC PAYS NOYD for the pizzas, we hear a smattering of applause, and credits appear while closing music plays as we...


Blah. Seriously?

I seem to remember this song being one of the singles from Infamy, probably because of the vocal on the hook, but it's not any good.

Truly pathetic.

Not completely terrible, but for people who were praying for "Shook Ones Pt. III", you would be better served falling out of a moving vehicle on the interstate.

Still not impressed. Hav and P may have lost a fan with this one.

Such a fantastic hook. And by fantastic, I mean "shitty". This is, of course, the requisite weed-carrier track, although as I've mentioned in past posts, I actually don't mind Mobb Deep's baggage handlers, so overall this is simply "okay".

Interesting choice of beat, Havoc: this sounds like something from an early-80's crooked cop film. Too bad the song sucks. (I will give Havoc credit for trying something different, though, especially since Prodigy seemed to skip this studio session entirely.)

The second single, also known as "the radio-friendly single Mobb Deep was forced to record in order to move units since their label had no faith in them otherwise". Turns out that the label was right. It's ironic that this song is actually one of the better ones on the disc. This song would mark the last time I would hear Mobb Deep on non-New York radio, at least until they popped up on Curtis Jackson's remix to his "Outta Control". Since this song was a minor hit (I remember female radio personalities around my way declaring this song as a favorite), it's pretty hilarious to note that the fans of "Hey Luv (Anything)" that purchased Infamy would be presented with shit like "Kill That N---a", which will be played at bat mitzfahs until the world collapses.

I remember Hova getting his panties in a bunch about Vida participating in the video for this banger, since Vida was with the Murder Inc. crew (with which Jay had, inexplicably, aligned himself, probably because they were on the same label and it was easier), threatening, I don't know, legal action, or to possibly throw a turkey at Irv Gotti, if she appeared in the video with his sworn enemies Mobb Deep, so poof! she disappears, although her voice is clearly heard on the hook. Yes, I just wrote that this song is a banger, but unlike most good rap songs, this one came with a terrible price. Prodigy's lyrical abilities have all but permanently vanished, as evidenced by his verse. He starts off with "You'se a bitch ass n---a, I'll have you killed" (is that truly gangsta, to threaten to have someone killed without doing the work yourself?); by the time he ends with the trite "Fuck all you n----s, fuck all them faggots", you will literally want to cry, and then punch a fucking hole in your speakers for enabling you to hear such a horrific contribution to hip hop. Never has a rapper fallen from grace with such totality. Fuck, even Eminem still occasionally shines. P, we don't deserve this kind of treatment. Note, however, that this song is still a fucking banger.

It hurts me, it cuts to the fucking bone, to know that Prodigy isn't even trying with the whole of Infamy. Shawn Carter really affected your work that much? It was one verse in a four-verse track, P!

In the context of the verse, I understand the reasoning why, but P, comparing yourself to Ray Benzino, for any reason, is usually career suicide.


Nice Ghost Dog reference, P! But can we please impose a moratorium in creepy laughter incorporated into the instrumental, please?? Seriously, Scott Storch, this shit isn't funny.

Finally, P actually says something not-indirectly about Jay-Z! However, this dis will only make you appreciate "The Takeover" more.

Still not impressed by Littles, but his verse here is actually pretty good.

Of all the people that probably shouldn't appear on any more rap songs singing the hook, Ron Isley would be near the top of my list. However, he created "Between The Sheets", so I can't ever really be mad at him.

The following song is listed as a bonus track:

This song, surprisingly, features the best lyrics of the entire fucking album. Hav and P shine on their version of Nas's "One Love". Why was this a bonus track, exactly?

FINAL THOUGHTS: Infamy, the fifth album from the infamous Mobb Deep (and their fourth and final release for the almighty Loud Records), is terrible. It's so bad, you'll want to toss your (hopefully purchased, if my write-ups have meant anything for my two readers at this point) copies of The Infamous and Hell On Earth into the food processor, simply because those two seminal classics tempted you with promise. Infamy seems to be a remnant from Hav and P's blue period, when all of their output came bundled with an inferiority complex. Havoc, seemingly sensing that Prodigy was overdosing on a beef with Jigga that he would inevitably be destroyed by (and I'm sure Nasir Jones's comments didn't help either), tries with all his might to pick up the lyrical slack. However, it should be noted that it usually takes more than one album for someone who is best known as a producer to advance his or her writing skills. This album would be playing on an endless loop in the third circle of Hell.

BUY OR BURN? Fuck no, don't buy this shit! Mobb Deep collectors (like myself, unfortunately) probably already have this in their collections, but are probably wondering why. Everyone else, find the tracks listed below online, and if you ever see Infamy on the street, be sure to quickly cross over to the other side.

BEST TRACKS: "The Learning (Burn)"; "Nothing Like Home"; "Hey Luv (Anything)"


Mobb Deep - Juvenile Hell
Mobb Deep - The Infamous
Mobb Deep - Hell On Earth
Mobb Deep - Murda Musik
Prodigy of Mobb Deep - H.N.I.C.
Big Noyd - Episodes Of A Hustla


  1. Oh man, that intro is priceless.
    Those Mobb characters sure seem to like saying "dun", huh?

  2. Fucking brilliant intro dude. I just wished they had kissed.However, best line ever?...
    "which will be played at bat mitzfahs until the world collapses"
    That makes me swoon. Nice to see you doing some work, slacker! I talk shit now right!?

  3. Yo, this was amazing, especially the script. My favorite part:

    I was, but it got shook, and my drawing ran away.

    HAVOC and PRODIGY share a knowing laugh..."

    LOL! He ain't a crook, son!

    Great review too, horrible album (I liked Hey Luv, the first, and damn near only, Mobb song I ever heard on West Coast radio.)

  4. entertaining review, especially the part about sean carter and the tutu, haha. i'm just starting to become a big fan of rap and your reviews are always a nice reference to use whenever i want to listen to a new album

  5. I actually liked "My Gats Spittin'", but I think that may have been because all the other songs around it were so horrible.

    This album put the nail in the coffin for yet another 90's rap group that went from putting out pure brilliance to pure shit.

    It's hard to believe this album was even recorded on the same planet, and by the same people, who recorded The Infamous.

  6. Lay Low JonesDecember 06, 2007

    You're a hater, dude. Yeah, "Infamy" is far from the best Mobb Deep album, but I've been reading your blog for a few months & I've finally had enough. Sure, the hate is entertaining, but there's a point when I have to wonder why you listen to music at all. In your opinion, everything sux. "Pray For Me" w/Lil Mo is one of the better joints on the album & you give it a Blah? But then you say "My Gat's Spitting" (featuring IM3, who are barely listenable on their best day, by the way) is "Okay"? Please Homie, get a new pair of earbuds, cause you're way off. I enjoy the hate sometimes, but it seems like that's all you do.

  7. Clearly you didn't read the 'Supreme Clientele' post. Also, most of the posts near the beginning of the blog's lifespan are overwhelmingly positive, but nobody comments on THOSE...

  8. You're a hater, dude. Yeah, "Infamy" is far from the best Mobb Deep album, but I've been reading your blog for a few months & I've finally had enough.

    Actually, I find the reviews to be pretty balanced.

    It just happens to be that most albums put out after '97 are more likely to be pure shit, while albums that came out '96 or are older have a higher likely of being decent.

    Infamy was pure shit. And I was a Mobb supporter.

    I used to get into fights regularly with people trying to say that Dogg Food(Dogg Pound) or Double or Nothing(Erick Sermon)were better albums than The Infamous.

    People got mad at me when they came over because that shit was in the rotation steady for three years.

    It's not being negative, it's being honest.

    This album had a negative impact on music, and therefore gets a negative review.

  9. ahhahaha this is one was hilarious! I love you!

  10. I remember waiting for this album and being excited after hearing "Burn". However, as I listened to the track I patiently awaited for Prodigy since he was the last verse, I thought it was going to be great. My head was nodding, but my ears weren't very pleased with the lyrics. I really tried to like this album. It felt like Prodigy was just talking bullshit. No substance. It felt as if he was talking tough to sound hard. Bunch of vague Hova references throughout the album, just make the diss song and get on with it. During this whole album you're waiting for it to get going and never really gets off the ground. It's only been downhill since this one.

  11. I actually liked this album...Murda Musik? Not so much.


  12. AnonymousJuly 08, 2009

    you should really try to sell the script, its pure genius

  13. Classic review; your criticism is spot on and the script at the beginning just sets the overall tone for what's to come, plus it's funny as hell. You did a really great job here Max. A really great job.

  14. Ahahaha, Max, that's some humorous shit in the intro.

  15. this man is a genius, the script at the beggining is fiyah. HAVOC
    Oh, no! Oh, dear! What happened, dun? Are you alright?

    (softly crying)
    Nuh-nuh-nothing. (sniffle)

  16. I can't imagine how P being able to explain himself to Havoc, the Alchemist, Infamous Mobb, Cormega and even his 19 year old son today as to why he wrote that bullshit verse on 'The Learning (burn)'

  17. Ok, to be honest, Infamy wasn't that bad. Kill that Nigga, well I liked it, Get Away, Burn, Nothing Like Home, Get At Me, Handcuffs and Hey Luv were good. prodigy's verse in Burn was shit tho. Live Foul, I Won't Fall and Kill or Be Killed was shit cos of Ron Isley. So Long was good too

  18. Prodigy's lyrics here are just pathetic. Why did no one stop him? Murda Muzik had some good songs, but this album... is an absolute travesty. Shame that. Some of the beats are ok.

  19. AnonymousJuly 11, 2014

    I'll tell you what I think.

    I think you're a damn fool for even entertaining the idea that this album has ONE good song on it.