Artist: Mobb DeepTitle: Free Agents: The Murda MixtapeRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Abdella
While careers in hip-hop come and go like a contrived reality show, one group is earning the rights to have their name mentioned in the definition of longevity. For over 10 years, Mobb Deep has continued to rep as one of New York’s premier underground groups. From hits like “Shook Ones Part II” to “Burn”, The Infamous has ingrained their demeanor and grit in the minds of the thug generation. In recent years, they have found themselves fighting off a furious (some say self-perpetuated) dis campaign while struggling to find their place in the commercial rap market. With their old label Loud records muted, Mobb Deep returns to the streets with Free Agents: The Murda
From the very first track a quote from Ice-T proclaims, “This is not supposed to Be Positive” and thus prepares delicate ears for the drama ahead. Thick, brooding drama is what listeners get as The Mobb and their cohorts prove that the industry should still be shook over the group’s potential. With the majority of the production by Havoc and Alchemist, the neck-snapping beats will keep chiropractors with a regular clientele flow. With obscure samples supported by heavy bass, the double disk mixtape is never short on quality production. On songs like “ Solidified”, The QB duo reminds us of their
plans to keep it movin’ with Prodigy spittin’, “ We veterans we got a decade of albums/ n##### done came and gone and we still poppin,” to cement the groups legacy. On “Paid in Full”, a semi-remake of the Eric B. and Rakim classic, they clarify that longevity and legacies don’t
always equate to dollars. P and Hav’s hunger groans can be heard a mile
away as they speak of their plight to strike the millions that the game has
to offer. Havoc offers a bit of insight into his trials, tribulations, and upcoming
solo project with The Illest with lines like “ While everybody was chillin/ I
was broke like a muthafucka loyal to my vision” unveiling the ingredients
to his success and life changing decisions.
There is a down side though. Free Agents offers a variety of lyrical content, which at times resembles a Queens Bridge talent show. Mobb Deep showcase the clique they roll with showcasing songs by Noyd, Cormega, Infamous Mobb, 1st Infantry and Poet, yet the album often lacks depth and substance despite the fiery beats. Between Prodigy’s coma like flow, overwhelming references to gun clappin’ and “Peelin faces back”, the subject matter become predictable.
All in all, true Mobb fans will dive head first into the murderous collection of b-sides, unreleased, and new songs. With 2 disks boasting a total of forty songs at the cost of a regular album, Mobb Deep has certainly fulfilled the consumer’s requirement of a worthwhile purchase. While not on the level of some previous Mobb albums, Free Agents is sure to generate enough lift to catapult the Queensbridge duo back to the upper ranks of the hardcore elite.