“Cause ain’t no such thing as halfway crooks.”

Few people could have imagined the influence Mobb Deep would have when “Juvenile Hell” was released in 1993. It spawned one notable single in “Peer Pressure” and received middling to mediocre review scores. They were widely compared to Da Youngsta’s and Kris Kross, and often not in a flattering way. “Kiddie rap is a trend that’s crap” was the prevailing sentiment. Nobody wanted more pre-teen or young teen hip-hop songs from Mobb Deep or anybody else.

Two years later they SHOOK the world. When Havoc and Prodigy returned on “The Infamous” their voices were deeper and their beats were darker – MUCH darker. It was made even more remarkable given that the album was self-produced, as the world had yet to realize that they were multifaceted hip-hop talents that weren’t just another bad creation of the music industry. Their success was such a landmark that like Wu-Tang Clan before them, they etched a permanent change into the hip-hop landscape, particularly for the East coast and N.Y.C.

“He ain’t a crook son, he just a shook one.”

’95 is one of my favorite years in hip-hop though and not just because of Queensbridge. It was a year chock full of landmark hip-hop classics: 2Pac’s “Me Against the World,” GZA’s “Liquid Swords,” Tha Alkaholiks’ “Coast II Coast,” Pharcyde’s “Labcabincalifornia,” Bone Thugs’ “E. 1999 Eternal,” I could go on and on. It was an amazing and unforgettable year for hip-hop the likes of which we have seldom seen. Every single video in this “Fab 15” gives me an ear-to-ear Kool-Aid smile.

1.) Mobb Deep – “Shook Ones Pt. II”

2.) 2Pac – “Dear Mama”

3.) KRS-One – “Rappaz R. N. Dainja”

4.) Tha Alkaholiks – “DAAAM!”

5.) Luniz – “I Got 5 On It”

6.) Pharcyde – “Runnin'”

7.) Goodie Mob – “Soul Food”

8.) GZA – “Shadowboxin’/4th Chamber”

9.) Kool G. Rap & Nas – “Fast Life”

10.) Ol’ Dirty Bastard – “Brooklyn Zoo”

11.) Bone Thugs-N-Harmony – “1st of Tha Month”

12.) Raekwon f/ Ghostface, Method Man – “Ice Cream”

13.) Crooklyn Dodgers – “Return of the Crooklyn Dodgers”

14.) Dr. Dre – “Keep Their Heads Ringin'”

15.) The B.U.M.S. – “Elevation (Free My Mind)”