We’re nearly there guys! Check out the previous eight weeks of the M.O.P. retrospective if you’ve missed any:


75. “Shake Em Up”
Artist: M.O.P.
Album: Street Certified (2014)

“It’s the Industry Shakedown, n****s are in trouble
I’m the younger version of Bumpy Knuckles without the muscles” – Lil Fame

M.O.P. know they are respected artists because unless you’re The Game, you’re not namedropping Diddy, Nas, Wayne, Jay and Drake IN THE FREAKIN’ HOOK. They also confirm that they are aware of their role in the wider industry – when you want a grimy anthem to shake it up, you call on Billy and Fame. Not that Drake and M.O.P. have worked together, but it needs to happen at some point.

74. “Way Of The World”
Artist: M.O.P.
Album: Handle Ur Bizness EP (1998)

“Nobody gives a fuck if your mother cry
Or if your brother die – that’s the way of the world!” – Billy Danze

Tucked away on the 1998 EP “Handle Ur Bizness”, musically this track feels like their earlier work so makes sense why it wasn’t part of “First Family 4 Life”. But lyrically, it benefits from the growth of both Billy and Fame – their music was much more emotional by their third album and “Way of the World” is a depressing acceptance of how disposable life is, particularly as an African American in the USA. With their music being pirated, bootlegged and subsequently stolen, Fame shares his feelings towards those capitalizing on their success too.

73. “Lifestyles Ov A Ghetto Child”
Artist: M.O.P. feat. Teflon
Album: Firing Squad (1996)

“N**** they right behind us, I ain’t tryna get caught by the Law
[Oh shit they’re comin’ in the building!] Open up the door!” – Lil Fame & Billy Danze

Rough and ready, this album cut has aged remarkably well thanks to a classic beat that screams mid-90s New York. Produced by Jaz-O, it captures that murky Bucktown aura of Heltah Skeltah, yet the constant back-and-forth between Billy and Fame as they go through a police chase is one of the few times they narrate a story in that unique M.O.P. style.

72. “Fuck M.O.P.”
Artist: M.O.P.
Album: Ghetto Warfare (2006)

“And I’ma sell out, and bail out from hardcore tactics
And celebrate with hatin’ ass, thong-wearin’ bastards!
Don’t fuck with my integrity…” – Billy Danze

M.O.P. are fully aware that their style isn’t loved by everybody and this track is purely aimed at haters, asking them to scream “Fuck M.O.P.”. Ironically, fans will too, as it’s god-damn catchy! There’s a lot of vitriol directed at those in the industry “sucking each other off” – with a delightful sound effect accompanying it. Makes a change from guns I suppose.

71. “Salute Pt. 2”
Artist: M.O.P. feat. Gang Starr
Album: First Family 4 Life (1998)

“I won’t stress the blazin’
But I will think about what slug’s best for the occasion” – Billy Danze

Considering DJ Premier has gone on record stating M.O.P. are his favourite group to work with, it’s not surprising to see they have collaborated on the last three Gang Starr albums. Somehow, Guru’s monotone never gets drowned out which is testament to how versatile Primo’s beats are – they work whoever’s rapping. Theoretically a sequel to 1996’s “Salute”, Part II isn’t quite as in-your-face as the first track, sounding more like a Gang Starr album cut which of course, is not a bad thing at all.

70. “Blow The Horns”
Artist: M.O.P.
Album: Foundation (2009)

“N****s wonder how me and Fame remain strong
Five albums, six deals and we’re still on” – Billy Danze

Not since Pete Rock has an artist embraced horns in the way M.O.P. do, and it’s clear this single would have done well in the charts a few years earlier. Unfortunately, if a M.O.P. track was to chart in 2009 then it would have needed to be an R&B hook or a Lil Wayne feature. Neither of those are genuine options, thankfully, but “Blow the Horns” is one of M.O.P.’s most popular tracks from the latter part of the career, setting off live shows just right.

69. “BKNY”
Artist: M.O.P. feat.
Album: Ghetto Warfare (2006)

“Eat a dick, with onions” – Lil’ Fame

Heatmakerz (of Dipset fame) laced M.O.P. with this pounding attack on the senses, only easing up for the children assisting with their “This is BKNY” chant. A remnant of the Roc-a-Fella run and sounding more like a mixtape song, it’s got a stellar Lil’ Fame verse that’s wildly off-kilter.

68. “Home Sweet Home”
Artist: M.O.P.
Album: Warriorz (2000)

“If you know a n**** as wild as me,
You better bring a motherfuckin’ cavalry” – Billy Danze

The jazzy horns and plinking of piano keys are a great aesthetic for M.O.P.’s trip down memory lane. It may be citing the 1970s/1980s but captures the 1920s/1930s instead, which is to its benefit considering there is also “Old Timerz” on the “Warriorz” album. You can almost envision the video in black and white of Billy and Fame strolling through their neighbourhood with their pal Lord Have Mercy (of Flipmode Squad).

67. “What I Wanna Be”
Artist: M.O.P.
Album: Foundation (2009)

“Same n****s that’ll piss on you and tell you that it’s raining!
(He’ll be aight though)” – Lil’ Fame

It always irked me how the song is called “What I Wanna Be” despite it actually being “What I’m Gonna Be” if you go by the words being sung. Few artists can pull off something that’s technically soft, and make it feel tough, but M.O.P. manage to squeeze a ton of nice wordplay into what’s largely a generic tale of aspiration. The DJ Premier beat doesn’t hurt either.

66. “Legendary Street Team”
Artist: M.O.P. & Kool G Rap
Album: Lyricist Lounge Vol. 2 (2000)

“Catch you at a payphone, kickin’ it to moms
I’ll lift your Face-Off like Nicholas and John” – Lil’ Fame

The second Lyricist Lounge compilation largely consisted of familiar artists rapping to production from Hi-Tek, Rockwilder, The Alchemist and Erick Sermon (there’s even Premier, Dilla and Madlib on there!) but G Rap and M.O.P. were handed a DJ Mighty Mi (of High & Mighty “fame”) production that feels tailor-made for both artists. It’s largely straightforward but has some fun imagery: Billy Danze entering a nightclub with a M.O.P. banner whilst Fame’s gifts you a wheelchair chauffeur. They genuinely outdo G Rap on this one.

65. “Body On The Iron”
Artist: M.O.P.
Album: Sparta (2011)

“He’ll put a hole in your head like a dolphin” – Lil’ Fame

Fame doesn’t give two shits that his gun has “a body on it” – if anything it makes him more deadly because you know it kills. He doesn’t know who put the body on it, but Billy’s verse reveals how a harmless trip to the mall ends up with him putting a “body on the iron”. It’s not exactly Shakespeare levels of intricate storytelling, but on an album of heavy Snowgoons production, you’re after no-nonsense brutality and on that level, “Body on the Iron” more than delivers.

64. “The Life”
Artist: M.O.P.
Album: Marxmen Cinema (2004)

“I hate to fuck up the mood
But who’s the man thinkin’ they can stand in Danze’s shoes?” – Billy Danze

Further proof that DJ Premier works so well with Brownsville’s Finest, this lost gem from the “Marxmen Cinema” mixtape plays out like a remixed “Firing Squad”, but can see why it’s not sitting on any of their official albums. It’s an announcement, with the hook proudly stating “M.O.P….Back up in this motherfucker!” but sounds fresher than some of their more familiar songs simply because it’s one of their rarely heard moments.

63. “Riding Through”
Artist: M.O.P. feat. Redman
Album: Foundation (2009)

“You got all flossy and glossy
That’s where you lost me” – Billy Danze

Redman is the dream guest emcee – has he ever disappointed? This isn’t no cut and paste email verse, mind you, this feels like a classic Redman track that just happens to have M.O.P. on it. There’s even a neat backstory at the end on how Redman knew Lil’ Fame before their music careers took off, which this song effectively builds upon.

62. “Salute”
Artist: M.O.P.
Album: Firing Squad (1996)

“Fuck a memory! You’ll remember me for bustin’ my thang!” – Billy Danze

Now a familiar catchphrase for the duo, “Salute” is a relentless yet brief onslaught that doesn’t require a hook or scratches to ease listeners in. Appearing at the start of the second half of “Firing Squad”, it’s basically a mini-intro that throws the listener back in full force. One of Premier’s overlooked beats.

61. “Sam the Sleezbag Freestyle”
Artist: M.O.P.
Album: Sam The Sleezbag & DJ Mekalek’s #SleezbagMekalekTape (2016)

“It’s a new me y’all, back feelin’ new brand
I lost a hundreds pounds, feeling’ like a new man” – Lil’ Fame

One of the more modern entries on the list, the “#SleezbagMekalekTape” is a brilliant selection of underground talent putting their music in the shop window. Countless legends are also present, and M.O.P.’s appearance is a fun, if brief, glimpse of Billy and Fame over what can only be described as Marco Polo-like production. Much of their current guest appearances suffer from mediocre beats but this one knocks nicely with nods to modern life like Grand Theft Auto and P90X.

60. “The Mastas”
Artist: Freddie Foxxx feat. M.O.P.
Album: Industry Shakedown (2000)

“I’ll still split a n**** head like a cantaloupe
(BITCH!) And I’m dope” – Lil’ Fame

A live audience, sirens and DJ Premier kick off a dream collaboration for many, and it’s actually produced by Bumpy Knuckles himself. Bumpy, much like Inspectah Deck, is better behind the boards than many give him credit for, and this record slaps you over the head, only letting up with the “hookless hook”, if you will. It’s a vicious performance, particularly from Lil’ Fame, that manages to match Freddie Foxxx for flow. Don’t sleep on Fame’s flow is what I’m saying!

59. “Lights Out”
Artist: Gang Starr feat. M.O.P.
Album: One of the Best Yet (2019)

“A wise old man once said

For me, the best track from Gang Starr’s 2019 album that saw Preem build tracks from old Guru verses. Gifted Unlimited always had chemistry with Billy and Fame and this pounding reunion is a perfect celebration of that. Lil’ Fame drops one of the hardest verses of his career that completely caught me off-guard (“I don’t trust my own shadow”, “I got two thoughts in my brain: Fuck your life – on my right ain’t nothin’ left – on my left ain’t nothin’ right”). There’s endless creativity in M.O.P.’s ability to craft a hundred different ways of saying they’ll knock you unconscious – and it’s admirable.

58. “Firing Squad”
Artist: M.O.P. feat. Teflon
Album: Firing Squad (1996)

“I’ll put one in your wig and bounce
Leave the rest for the autopsy to figure out” – Lil’ Fame

The deflated piano loop is a key part of many classic M.O.P. tracks and this title track from 1996 is no different. Even the cries of “Firiiiing Squaaaad” are sucked of energy. Effectively the start of their breakthrough record, “Firing Squad” benefits from an outstanding (and rabid) performance from Billy Danze, a surprisingly strong Teflon verse (which name-drops Shogun Assassin), and Fame shamelessly creating quotables for many future rap songs.

57. “Call the Ambulance (Remix)”
Artist: Busta Rhymes feat. Rah Digga & M.O.P.
Album: n/a (2002)

“BROWNS….Ville muhfucka REAL muhfucka
It’s Dub Womack and his fucked up habits” – Lil’ Fame

The combination of Busta and M.O.P. is guaranteed to be special and this remix to one of Busta’s overlooked singles is a bit of a hidden gem. Adlib-heavy, it’s a fun alternative to the original that has Billy and Fame providing the assist for Rah Digga and Busta Rhymes with their energy levels the perfect addition to a song all about being rowdy and putting people on a stretcher. They don’t technically have verses – which itself makes this remix unique and well worth revisiting.

56. “Warriorz”
Artist: M.O.P.
Album: Warriorz (2000)

“I hope your insurance is (PAID UP!)
I’ll leave you lying on your back chillin’ (LAID UP!) – Billy Danze

“WARRIOR!!” This is that alarm clock music that’ll have you marching through your bedroom ready to fuck up a Monday morning. An early example of the sped-up “chipmunk” production (here utilised by Mahogany) it’s got a more confrontational, fist-fight feel than other gun-blazing entries in their catalogue. It’s the perfect name for a song that captures everything M.O.P. are about, particularly in 2000, when they were in their prime.

55. “B.I. vs. Friendship”
Artist: Gang Starr feat. M.O.P.
Album: Moment of Truth (1998)

“I don’t have what you call friends
Cause when it’s on then they gone in the end!” – Lil’ Fame

A track highlighting how close Gang Starr and M.O.P. have been over the years, that also touches on their business relationship. The song highlights the perfect escalation of energy, starting with Guru’s more economical verse, Fame firing off words and ending with Billy’s standout intensity. You know if you’re going into business with Billy, you’ll want to strike up some sort of friendship as loyalty is everything.

54. “When Death Becomes You”
Artist: M.O.P. feat. 50 Cent
Album: Get Rich or Die Tryin’ OST (2005)

“Slugs ain’t never out of season
All you’ve gotta do is give a motherfucker one reason” – Lil’ Fame

50’s hooks were often excellent and this is no different. The cinematic production, much like the Rocafella years, is perfect for M.O.P. as their style is so versatile, although the verses lack the back and forth of their best work. What this track does highlight, perhaps more than anything else in their catalogue, is the cold-hearted nature of both Billy and Fame where their life is made up of death. Note: don’t listen to the censored version as it’s largely muted.

53. “Sit ‘Em Back Slow”
Artist: AZ feat. M.O.P.
Album: The Format (2006)

“This ain’t a demo, you know my M.O.?
SIT ‘EM BACK SLOW” – Lil’ Fame

AZ essentially put an M.O.P. track at the start of his album, because it’s a freakin’ monster. Fame produced a couple of tracks on “The Format” but this confrontational collaboration somehow works with AZ’s more laid-back, precise flow. Thematically it’s all about potential business partners being put in their place, although Billy’s verse is more or less off-topic.

52. “Old Timerz”
Artist: M.O.P.
Album: Warriorz (2000)

“This is for the cats from way, way back
When every pair of sneakers had to have a hat to match” – Billy Danze

Brownsville’s finest reflect on their youth and the simpler times of the mid-1980s, experiencing the rise of hip hop firsthand from block parties to stadiums in a matter of years. They are nostalgic, with a suitable boom-bap beat that slaps and it’s jam-packed with brands from that era. The fact that the two viewed themselves as “Old Timerz” in 2000, when they couldn’t have been much past thirty shows both just how much rap focused on being young, but also just how much changed in that fifteen-year period (1985-2000).

51. “Bucktown USA (Remix)”
Artist: Smif-N-Wessun feat. M.O.P.
Album: 12″ (1998)

“Any day may be the end
See the Grim Reaper be creepin’ these streets in Timz” – Billy Danze

Three years after their classic album “Dah Shinin'”, Smif-N-Wessun returned under the guise of Cocoa Brovaz and this remix was almost a reminder to fans, with both groups having new albums out in 1998. More than simply adding a verse onto the original, M.O.P. overhaul the track and like most remixes, they make it an M.O.P. track. It packs more punch than the original “Bucktown”, possesses a cleaner beat and not knowing who’s about to jump in with a verse is refreshing in an era where every single was getting a hastily hashed together “remix”.