June 9, 2015

For The Max-Approved Mixtape: Big Noyd - "All Pro"




Artist: Big Noyd featuring Infamous Mobb and Prodigy
Title: "All Pro"
Producer: Havoc
Album: Episodes Of A Hustla (1996)

I want to say it was 1995.  After Mobb Deep's sophomore album, The Infamous, hit store shelves and reinvented the duo's sound forevermore, collecting all of the critical acclaim and record sales in the process, Tommy Boy Records began to run ads for a project called Episodes Of A Hustla from an artist named Big Noyd.  The campaign hit full steam once one-sheet promos appeared in the bigger hip hop magazines of the day (The Source and Vibe, mostly, but there were others), as the label tried to capitalize on Noyd's successful cameos on his brethren's masterpiece.

Then Rapper Noyd got locked up in the clink during the recording process.  Hoping to minimize their financial losses, Tommy Boy quietly pulled their ads and released Episodes Of A Hustla as an EP in 1996.  The only reason I figured out this EP was even a part of this plane of existence was because of a throwaway comment I remember reading in some magazine, at which point I immediately absconded to the local Best Buy to find the motherfucker.  Failing that, I checked at a Musicland (which is what the chain was called before Sam Goody took over, at least in my neck of the woods), and, finally, that Blockbuster Music that I always seem to come back to in my stories, which helped me fulfill my destiny of being one of probably six fucking people at the time that actually wanted to buy an EP from one of Mobb Deep's friends.

Episodes Of A Hustla is fucking great, by the way.  Spread the word: I've been trying to do that for the past eight years on the blog.  The EP features a fruitful marriage of beats with rhyme: even though Rapper Noyd, who took his name from one of the biggest enemies of pizza history, isn't the greatest writer, back in the mid-1990s, when this shit was recorded, his excitable, boastful flow was pretty goddamn amazing (see: Mobb Deep's "Give Up The Goods (Just Step)", which still contains one of the finest cameos in the annals of our chosen genre), and when paired with Havoc's beats, everything became that much more entertaining.  Crime tales and boasts 'n bullshit took on a new life when energized with Hav's sinister instrumentals, especially the Hav that was in between the two greatest peaks of his career, The Infamous and Hell On Earth.

"All Pro" finds Havoc at his most experimental, turning in a catchy-as-fuck (and, dare I say, goofy) beat that sounds absolutely nothing like what you would have expected from the team that brought you two "Shook Ones Part II".  It's quirky, it's melodic, and it probably isn't for everybody, but I found it to be dope as shit, and it was the first track I gravitated to on the EP.  It doesn't hurt that it features guest verses from two-thirds of the Infamous Mobb, the merry band of weed carriers that also spun off from the mothership, and a performance from Havoc's partner-in-rhyme Prodigy, who flows effortlessly, as he was wont to do back in the nineties.  But it's Rapper Noyd who absorbs the music's idiosyncrasies, shouting out his extended family (every last member, too: Karate Joe is mentioned at one point), whose specialty is "vulturin'", by the way, and building upon the promise that "Give Up The Goods (Just Step)" teased at.  

Of course, Noyd's career essentially peaked after this shit, but it's intriguing to wonder what could have been, had he had the opportunity to record a full-length album for Tommy Boy, who most definitely had a bigger promotional department than any of the indie labels Noyd found himself bouncing around post-incarceration.  Oh well; at least Hav and P kept their boy busy, for the most part.

Do you agree or disagree with this selection?  Discuss below.

-Max

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14 comments:

  1. I remember being a full fledge fan of Mobb Deep back then that I purchased this album. This was my favorite track; as well as "I Don't Wanna Love Again" (odd choice, I know but the build up in the first minute of the song always gets me). This is definitely a slept on album.


    Too bad I can't say the same for "Only The Strong" (another Mobb Deep affiliated album I purchased but hey)

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    1. It's not that odd a choice: the beat on "I Don't Wanna Love Again" is hypnotic as hell.

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    2. very true! it's just an odd choice that an album full of thuggery I selected the most mellow song.

      I'm kinda shocked you haven't selected "Hoodlum" as one of your mixtape tracks though

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  2. AnonymousJune 10, 2015

    Oh, bad fucking choice, Max. While I do agree that Havoc's beats are fucking slept on on this album, THIS beat is fucking horseshit. The song you SHOULD'VE chosen was the fucking title track. Good album, nonetheless, and your review was what led me to it, so thanks, anyway.

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  3. i gotta be honest here, i have yet to give Noyd a chance as a single artist but i do enjoy most of his appearances on Mobb albums. After reading this though and listening to "all pro" (which is really nice btw) i think i'll start asap.

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  4. AnonymousJune 10, 2015

    Your blog put me onto this album.. and a lot of hip hop. Gracias Maxamillion. This song is some classic Havoc shit. Havoc's best beats are on par with the all-time producer greats in hip hop..

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  5. AnonymousJune 11, 2015

    Yeah, not that much a fan of All Pro. I'd have chosen the title track.

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    Replies
    1. AnonymousJune 12, 2015

      Me too. "Episodes" has always been my favorite track on here (with recognize & realize just behind). I still listen to it.

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    2. The title track is great too. Nobody's saying it isn't. But I always go back to "All Pro", most likely because of how unlike Havoc it sounded for the mid-1990s.

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    3. AnonymousJune 12, 2015

      I really don't get what's so special about it, though. To each his own, b.

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  6. Episodes of a Hustla is one of the greatest EPs of all time and Big Noyd is one of the greatest weed carriers of all time. I LOCE every single track on here except for Usual Suspect (original version) and I even love the skits on this album. Havoc's beats are obviously key here, kinda makes me wish Havoc should've never stopped making Hell on Earth-esque beats like these ones on this album. Even Foxy Brown got a dope Havoc instrumental. The title track is my favourite off the album and according to the comments section in the Big Noyd review it samples Tina Turner's 'What's Love got to do with It' but I can't hear it. Prodigy's chorus is GOLDEN compared to his hooks on the Black Cocaine EP.

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  7. Anyone remember Mobb Niggaz by the Infamous Mobb? If not, please check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbwWfkchZsc

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  8. AnonymousJune 15, 2015

    I say, I think this playlist needs more vintage Wu for it truly to be 'Max-approved'. Mighty healthy anyone?

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