Mobb Deep delivered The Infamous in 1995, with guest appearances by Nas, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, and Q-Tip. The brooding 16-track effort came with Prodigy and Havoc’s sharp observations on street culture set to ominous beats, including “Shook Ones (Pt. II).” The album spent 18 weeks on the Billboard 200, peaking at No. 15 and 34 weeks on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts, peaking at No. 3. It was ultimately certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Its cultural impact can still be felt nearly 30 years later.
Most recently, jazz saxophonist/producer Benny Reid decided to pay the ultimate tribute to The Infamous with The Infamous Live alongside Havoc. With the help of Fat Beats Records, Reid was able to re-imagine 13 tracks from The Infamous, including “Shook Ones (Pt. II),” “Survival of the Fittest” and “Temperature’s Rising.”
“When the opportunity presented itself to re-imagine Mobb Deep’s The Infamous, I began with its crown jewel, ‘Shook Ones,'” Reid tells AllHipHop. “Immediately lost in the source material, my focus became translating lyric to melody and the sublime textures to harmony. With Havoc’s blessing, I embarked on a two-year journey, stretching the boundaries of my acoustic instruments and jazz background to instrumentally rebirth The Infamous Live.
“Rakim’s manager put me in touch after I shared my first arrangement—’Shook Ones (Extended Jazz Version).’ Havoc heard it and kinda flipped out and from there, he and I started working together.”
The Infamous Live is currently available via Bandcamp here. Check out a teaser below.