We’re now getting into the quality, but more obscure cuts as RapReviews continues to countdown the full M.O.P. catalogue.
200. “Figadoh Remix”
Artist: Benzino feat. Busta Rhymes & M.O.P.
Album: The Benzino Remix Project (2002)
“I’ll spit eight bars then knock the fuck out the engineer before the song’s done” – Lil’ Fame
Fans may recall Benzino’s high-profile feud with Eminem in 2003 and even his club hit “Rock the Party”, but this remix of single Figadoh is a forgotten part of that era. When Benzino followed Diddy in releasing an album of JUST remixes. Aside from the ridiculous moment Benzino claims he is aiming for “Top 3”, this is a proper pavement stomper with that classic Busta/M.O.P. monster energy.
199. “Dearly Departed”
Artist: DJ Babu feat. M.O.P.
Album: Duck Season Vol. 3 (2008)
“I’m on the top of the deck like the ace of spades is” – Billy Danze
DJ Babu’s Duck Season series of mixtapes continued the lofty standards set by the Beat Junkies, and Volume 3 was no different. It lost some of the grit – anything Dilated in the mid-2000s was always expertly engineered and sounded CRISP – but the only reason this sits at 199 is “Dearly Departed” felt like jabs rather than a knockout blow, given the song title. Hearing Babu cutting up Billy and Fame is always exquisite though.
198. “Story of My Life”
Album: Marxmen Cinema (2004)
Modern M.O.P. beats often have that unique “punch” to them. You don’t necessarily nod your head, but your whole body bounces like you’re riding through a rocky warzone in a Jeep. “Story of My Life” definitely has THAT, but the uncredited hook on this ends up dominating M.O.P.’s brutal verses with wishy-washy, nondistinct singing. A missed opportunity, yet one that inevitably still knocks when you play in the system.
Album: Soul in the Hole OST (1997)
“That’s me, voted ‘Most Likely To Squeeze” – Billy Danze
Back when original songs were exclusive to a film soundtrack, or in the case of the Xzibit and Big Pun tracks, timed-exclusives before the album released a year later, “Ride” hits hard enough whilst also feeling like a perfect taster for their subsequent work in 1998. If anything, it fits the Brooklyn basketball documentary better than the rest of the soundtrack.
196. “Hip Hop Cops”
Artist: M.O.P. feat. Wyclef Jean
Album: St. Marxmen (2005)
“You’re gonna make me roll up to Dunk’n Donuts with an AR-15
And get extreme!” – Billy Danze
A favour for a favour, Wyclef’s other record with M.O.P. is this loosie from the St. Marxmen compilation that is a real Clarence Boddicker anthem. Taking the war to the cops directly by burning down their precinct, it’s a fiery burst of frustration and anger where Wyclef’s the calm voice of reason echoing the neverending narrative of heavy-handed police interfering and disrupting black communities in inner-city New York. Sometimes you just want to punch a dirty cop and while the beat isn’t the stuff of greatness, it’s still (unfortunately) topically relevant.
195. “New York Giants”
Artist: Big Pun feat. M.O.P.
Album: Yeeeaaahhh Baby (2000)
“Stand back before I get Big Pun to earth slam you” – Lil’ Fame
Big Pun, rightfully so, takes centre stage with a lyrical onslaught dressed up as another New York warcry. Fat Joe introducing the track over violins is the perfect way to walk you into a verbal massacre – Pun has never sounded so lethal. In fact, this whole track is an assault on the senses that stands out on a Big Pun album that never really lived up to the lofty standards of his debut.
Artist: Frankie Cutlass feat. Lost Boyz & M.O.P.
Album: Politics and Bullshit (1997)
If you feel you’ve heard this beat before, it’s because it was used by Foxy Brown and Blackstreet on their single “Get Me Home”, and that’s probably the better iteration of the Eugene Wilde sample. Teflon also appears on this, an odd pairing of laid back, soulful production and hardcore thug rap. It doesn’t really work as well as M.O.P.’s other appearance on the album (“Know Da Game”) which dials up the energy levels, but it’s still worth checking out.
193. “Dusk Til Dawn”
Artist: Connie Price & The Keystones feat. Jovi Rockwell, Blk Shakespeare & M.O.P.
Album: Lucas High (2019)
“I ain’t a trap rapper, I’m a CLAP rapper” – Lil’ Fame
Part of an underrated project released last year that acted as a tribute to jazz-funk pioneer Doug Lucas, M.O.P. joined an impressive array of 90s Hip-Hop artists in recreating that era of New York that relied heavily on great jazz and funk loops. It’s largely recycled bars but it sounds and feels quite different to much of the Brownsville duo’s usual fare.
Album: [unreleased] (2009)
“I’ll turn you to a Crash Test Dummy” – Lil’ Fame
I heard this on the DJ Deadeye mixtape “True to the Game Pt. 4” but it released back in 2009 according to HipHopDX. The actual verses that are jam-packed with “DO-YA”, “WHO-YA” adlibs are more satisfying than the oddly adlib-less hook so there’s a strange reverse feel to the song. It’s hard, but certainly understand why it wasn’t released on any official projects.
191. “The Marxmen”
Album: Marxmen Cinema (2004)
“Head up to Hot 97 with a can of gasoline like
BURN bitch BURN – you serve no purpose” – Billy Danze
Savagely attacking the radio stations and industry figures that refuse to support M.O.P., names are named on this angrily delivered track halfway through the “Marxmen Cinema” compilation. The beat continues to fade out but it doesn’t silence Billy or Fame who air out a lot of frustration in the midst of their struggles at Roc-a-Fella, at a time where commercial radio wasn’t supporting hardcore Hip Hop like it was a few years earlier.
190. “Makin’ Clap”
Artist: M.O.P. feat. Foxx
Album: Underground Warriorz mixtape (2007)
“Let me bust in your mouth, bitch swallow my pride” – Lil’ Fame
Foxx makes a rare appearance as a rapper on this obscure cut, an imposing record that feels more suited to a mixtape than an album. It might have Fame’s funniest line, where he quotes Jadakiss stating “gangsters don’t die, they get chubby and move to Miami” and simply admits “well, shit, I better move!“. The comedic timing Lil’ Fame has, much like Sean Price, is some of rap’s finest.
189. “Life is Good”
Artist: LFO feat. M.O.P.
Album: Life is Good (2001)
“Don’t talk down on your man unless you’re helping him up” – Lil’ Fame
Sure, it’s a high ranking for an LFO track given it’s light, fluffy pop-punk from an era of Blink 182 and Sum 41, but I’ve always had a soft spot for this kind of stuff. Even moreso than the Victoria Beckham track, this is a clash of styles that is a lot more cohesive as a song on its own. Billy and Fame aren’t just spouting about guns, they actually complement the theme, and come through with some uplifting ‘make the most of your life’ messages.
188. “Drama Lord”
Album: To the Death (1994)
Perhaps the oldest sounding song in their catalogue thanks to how fast Hip-Hop production was moving at the time (this sounds more like a 1992 track than a 1994 one, is what I’m trying to say) – it’s nonetheless a welcome slice of boom bap that benefits from a catchy hook and one of their less familiar catchphrases. Drama Lord is a great term, and summarises their style perfectly.
Album: Sparta (2011)
“If you fuck with mine *gun cocks*
I’ll leave you pussies stretched out like the octo-mom’s” – Lil’ Fame
Wordplay isn’t the first thing you associate with M.O.P. but the Big Pun references (“our Species are Endangered because we are Capitally Punished”), the play on ‘blast-for-me’/’blasphemy’ with the hook and the dope “I push a lot of iron, I don’t do it at the gym though” line make this a memorable effort from “Sparta”, which for me, is their most precise work. Billy’s flow particularly is some of his best work; it’s just the Snowgoons beat is pretty underwhelming.
Album: Firing Squad (1996)
“Fuck the frame, I’ll blow your ass out the picture” – Lil’ Fame
Nods to their debut album are throughout the start of “Anticipation”, drawing a line under their early work and announcing themselves to the rap world with assistance from a KRS-One vocal snippet.
185. “Men of Business”
Artist: Cuban Link feat. Noreaga, Lord Tariq, Kool G Rap & M.O.P.
Album: 24K (2000) – unreleased
“Blow your ass out like sixteen candles” – Lil’ Fame
Noreaga adds enough goofy charm to this menacing cipher that you can almost forgive the lack of Pun – Cuban Link (and even G Rap) offer Pun-like verses but as is tradition, M.O.P. close proceedings with some much needed energy and some flow switch-ups. Otherwise, it’s a solid enough collaboration from many reliable heavy-hitters.
184. “Raise Your Flag”
Artist: M.O.P. feat. Busta Rhymes
Album: The King of What I Do mixtape (2003), The Big Game 4 mixtape (2004)
“I’ll take that watered down rap shit and wring it out” – Billy Danze
An unreleased effort from Fame, Billy and Busta that did appear on both J-Love’s 2003 mixtape “The King of What I Do” and DJ Envy’s “The Big Game 4”, this is a solid record with a strong Busta hook, spoiled by the aforementioned DJs ranting over it. I’d love to hear many of these early 2000s mixtape exclusives released in their original form because they increasingly becoming harder to track down.
183. “Take a Minute”
Album: Ghetto Warfare (2006)
“They wonder why they don’t get enough M.O.P.?
Simple and plain – we don’t kiss ass” – Lil’ Fame
Utilising that trademark Roc-a-Fella style sped-up soul vocal snippet, “Take a Minute” doesn’t really sound like your usual M.O.P. track and it would be weird to imagine a full album of this kind of record. That doesn’t mean it’s not a great combination, just a little jarring, and one that works on “Ghetto Warfare” given it’s a compilation of shelved songs from that early 2000s period. Billy Danze’s verse in particular is very loud and dominates proceedings.
182. “Hard N****z”
Album: Sparta (2011)
“They say jealousy is a hell of a disease
So I’ma send a prayer to you dudes – get well soon!” – Lil’ Fame
Let down by a weak, disparate hook with punched-in recording that’s way too obvious, this is nonetheless an undeniable neck-shredder boasting rabid performances from Billy and Fame. Not really sure about that “hard like erections” line though.
181. “Rude Bastard”
Album: Foundation (2009)
“I’m hostile on a good day” – Billy Danze
The song title isn’t wrong given the hook is simply “Fuck you”, but this is one of the more laid back moments on the “Foundation” album (as laid back as an M.O.P. track can be). Billy Danze stating you need to be rewarded, by being slaughtered errs on the darkly macabric, and while the duo have never really done “horrorcore”, when they calmly wish death on their enemies over some classic Fizzy Womack throwback production, it’s just as disturbing.
180. “What Happened to the Streets?”
Artist: Planit Hank feat. Benny the Butcher & M.O.P.
Album: Night Before Purgatory (2019)
“I’m the realest motherfucker with Lil’ in his name” – Lil’ Fame
Over a stripped back, dread-driven Planit Hank beat, M.O.P. add some energy and purpose to Benny the Butcher’s calm, calculated but distracted verse. It’s fairly standard nostalgic rap questioning the credibility of the streets today, with a strong performance from Lil’ Fame rounding things out nicely.
179. “Murder Rate”
Album: Underground Warriorz mixtape (2007)
“I get it crackin’ like dry ass lips” – Papoose
Another exclusive from DJ Kenny D & DJ Maxxx, Fame is joined by Papoose for a barrage of suitably grim lyrical attacks. The hook is just “increase the murder rate“, almost designed to instil fear and it’s a reminder of how hard New York rap was in the mid-2000s. This beat GOES HARD. But the likes of Saigon and Papoose never really ran with that torch; not that this was going to be a hit for Pap or M.O.P., but with exclusives like this consigned to online mixtapes, it makes you wonder just how much music fans are potentially missing out on.
178. “Mad Hardcore”
Artist: Kaotic Style feat. Heltah Skeltah, M.O.P. & Cella Dwellaz
“I bust ’em open and smoke them like cigars” – Lil Fame
One of the earliest Sean Price appearances, this murky, face-slapping boom-bap collaboration is a glorified cypher session between some of the greatest duos in New York.
Artist: Mega Trife & Nonsense feat. M.O.P.
Album: Full Circle (2012)
“Bitch don’t watch me, watch them goddamn kids” – Lil’ Fame
Mega Trife has some real bad lines (“I ain’t a Flintstone but I can make your bed rock”) on this underground jam, but I’m a big fan of the production – presumably from Nonsense. Fame’s verse almost feels like a Sean Price one so it’s no surprise the two ended up working together a few years after this.
Album: Ghetto Warfare (2006)
“I’m off-balance, mentally challenged, but gifted!” – Billy Danze
Designed to be hollered from rooftops, “Fire” is an energetic trip through Brooklyn that completely ignores the usual “spittin’ fire” metaphor – Billy and Fame will roll through with flamethrowers and machine guns dispersing “FIYAAAAHHHHH”. The beat from DR Period isn’t his best work and the “FIYAAAAHHHH” is more “FIYEEERRRRRRRR” which is automatically less enjoyable to say. Fame’s verse though is wild, like Leatherface after ten double espressos.