Prodigy :: H.N.I.C.
Label: Loud Records
Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon
As we are occasionally prone to do at RapReviews.com, I'm going
to drop the bullshit "third person" and give it to you straight.
First of all, I'm a Mobb Deep fan. Have been ever since my man
Bubu Demasio sent me a mixtape with the Large Professor remix
of "Peer Pressure." It was a joy and a blessing to see them
graduate from "Juvenile Hell" to "The Infamous" to "Hell on
Earth"; each album representing an older and wiser Havoc and
Prodigy with tighter rhymes and darker beats.
Along the way, two things happened. First of all I got tired
of getting random e-mail from people who websearched for Prodigy
and got my Mobb
Deep web page. They go bitching at me about how he's not
the REAL Prodigy because they're this techno/house group
who recorded "The Fat of the Land." Motherfucker, is it MY
fault they both have the same name? If you wanna talk real, I'd
take the rapping, thuggish Prodigy over the dancing, techno one.
Secondly, the rumors that P was leaving Mobb Deep to go solo
kept getting louder and more nasty; and when I heard the
(surprisingly) underwhelming "Murda Muzik" album I began to
wonder if the inevitable hip-hop group breakup was coming soon
to a Queensbridge project near you.
This album then should be good news on both fronts to long
suffering fans - Prodigy has dropped a 22 track long solo to
erase the doubts "Murda Muzik" created and Havoc is still
working with his man both behind the boards and on the rap.
If you weren't assured by Havoc's work on this solo the liner notes advertising their
feature length "Murda Muzik" movie should remove any doubt
they plan to make moves together now and for the foreseeable future.
Not that anybody should have had any doubts when they first heard
"Keep it Thoro" on DJ Clue's "Backstage" (included here) but now you know, Prodigy's
on some next shit.
Right from the dark and moody "Bars & Hooks" intro into
the "Genesis," you'll be feeling that real Mobb Deep shit, that
shit you can't fuck with. Prodigy is not pulling any shorts
here - he straight up explains where he's coming from:
".. but you got to understand how I feel
The pain and the hardship it took to build
Years of frustration, some got killed
Others fell vic' to the gates of steel
Most try to instill sanity, still
stuck on this rock where we don't belong
I wanna go home, not sing this song
but I'm forced to perform speech napalm"
Prodigy roots the heart and soul of his darkly spoken, moody
raps in the pain of the ghetto - which makes listening to a
good Mobb Deep album or a solo Prodigy album a slice of a
walk through hell. At the end of 66 minutes the
clouds break in the +Quiet Storm+ and Prodigy has shined
light on the darkness in his hood. Various guests help
him find the calm at the eye of the storm throughout:
Noreaga on "What U Rep", Big Noyd on "Infamous Minded"
(a remake of a 1986 BDP classic), Cormega on "Three" and
even B.G. of the Cash Money Millionares on "Y.B.E."
This might even be the best track of the album -
Prodigy produces a smoothly moving joint with piano
tinges, lays the rap down smooth, and B.G. sounds
incredibly tight on this East coast style underground hit.
Despite the declaration on "Diamond" of how big the
album will be (that's RIAA certification for ten
million sold), it won't matter whether this album sells
two hundred thousand, two million, or twenty mill'.
The important thing is that Prodigy made the solo
album his Mobb fans would have expected - a joint
with all of his rapping strengths and making very
few mistakes. Some might say the Ric Rude produced
"You Can Never Feel My Pain" is too smooth, but I'm
feeling it right from the first bars right up to
when he says "1974 motherfucker I was born with pain"
(that's the year I was born too). Some might say
Havoc's absence takes away from the Mobb-ness, but
on the contrilli it sounds like he got completely
down with it to let his man shine and get the
long overdue recognition P deserves. Besides that,
he's on "Wanna Be Thugs" and "Delt W/ the Bullshit"
(a positively eerie Havoc beat) in pure Mobb form.
Let's be real here - this album is probably not
for the people who aren't already Mobb Deep fans or
the people who think "Prodigy" is that techno group.
If you're down with Queensbridge, and the Mobb-phonics,
this is for you. And if you didn't already figure it
out by now, Prodigy IS the "Head Nigga In Charge."
Go cop that.
Music Vibes: 8 of 10
Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10
TOTAL Vibes: 8 of 10
Originally posted: November 14, 2000