As far as hip hop duos from New York go, Mobb Deep are up there. As we rank all the Mobb Deep studio albums, we will look at the eight albums that the rap duo released. Hailing from Queensbridge New York, Mobb Deep are considered to be among the pioneers of East Coast hip hop in the mid 1990s. With over three million album sales, Mobb Deep were popular for their dark lyrics, hardcore delivery and unique flow. The duo was composed of Prodigy who died in 2017 due to complications related to sickle cell anemia, and Havoc who is currently working on a new Mobb Deep album. Here is a ranking of all Mobb Deep albums from worst to best.
8. Juvenile Hell (1993)
Before the duo was known as Mobb Deep, they were initially called the Poetical Prophets and after dropping the mixtape Flavor for the Nonbelievers, they linked up with DJ Premier and Large Professor to help with production of the album, Juvenile Hell. The album had two promotional singles, “Peer Pressure” and “Hit from the Back” which peaked at #18 on the US Rap Chart despite its sexual theme. At the time of its release, Prodigy and Havoc were still teenagers and it was clear that the duo were yet to find their sound and voice. However, the album showed glimpses of what we were to expect from the duo.
7. Infamy (2001)
Most Mobb Deep fans were expecting an album similar to The Infamous (1995) or Hell on Earth (1996) but sadly, this album was nothing close to that. Although it did contain a few tracks that contained the dark grimy sound that we have so often associated with Mobb Deep, the overall sound had silky R&B grooves. For many Mobb Deep fans, this album was a turning point from their hardcore sound that many people loved, to a more mainstream sound that would capture sales. The shift towards more mainstream appeal makes this album average at best and although there are some nice tracks in there, there is evidence of filler tracks. The album opens with the track “Pray For Me” which is well produced and complemented with great background singing.
6. Blood Money (2006)
We always knew Havoc was a talented producer but in this album, his mic skills are exceptional, leading to increased questions on Prodigy’s credibility. The album was produced by G-Unit and Interscope and featured guest appearances from, 50 Cent, Mary J Blige, and Nate Dogg. 50 Cent and his G-Unit crew of Lloyd Banks and the rest appear in most songs throughout the album and you might think it is a G-Unit album. The album received mixed reviews from fans who noted the duo’s lyrical turn and invasion of the album by the G-Unit mob. The album debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200 and sold 106,000 copies in its first week.
5. Amerikaz Nightmare (2004)
When this album dropped back in 2004, most Mobb Deep fans gave it a lot of hate but looking back more than 16 years later, Amerikaz Nightmare was a pretty decent album. The album’s production was not as excellent as expected, and various aspects seem repeated. The album featured guest appearances from R. Kelly, 50 Cent, Jadakiss and Nelly. Although not like the classic Mobb Deep albums, some songs in this album were thoroughly done and had some positives to take home, such as the beats and amazing flow.
4. The Infamous Mobb Deep (2014)
Released in 2014, The Infamous Mobb Deep was a double album mainly consisting of unreleased tracks from back in 1995. The album had been slated for an earlier release, but due to a feud between Havoc and Prodigy, the album was delayed and was subsequently released in 2014. The album was a breath of fresh air for Mobb Deep fans since the duo addressed weaknesses that had caused their decline. If you are a true Mobb Deep fan, this album is a must-have in your collection. Laced with artistic consciousness and great guest stars, this album had all elements of a classic Mobb Deep album.
3. Murda Muzik (1999)
Right from the first to the last song, Mobb Deep’s 1999 album, Murda Muzik hardly missed a step. With over 1 million copies sold in the US, the platinum-certified album is Mobb Deep’s most commercially successful album. The standout song on the album is “Quiet Storm,” which contains one of the best music videos in rap history. The album featured Nas, Cormega, Big Noyd and Chinky, all of whom increased the album’s overall quality. For many, Murda Muzik was the last real hip classic album in an era dominated by New York emcees.
2. Hell on Earth (1996)
This album dropped in 1996 amidst escalating beef between the East Coast and West Coast rappers. The album’s promotional single, “Drop a Gem on ‘em,” doubled as a diss track aimed at Tupac, helping the album debut at #6 on the US Billboard 200. The album received positive reviews from critics, and although it never had a hit single, it is deemed to be a classic and held in high regard as The Infamous (1995). At a time when the likes of Jay-Z, Nas and Notorious B.I.G. were at their peak, the Prodigy’s performance stood out, and he was considered among the best lyricists in rap.
1. The Infamous (1995)
The Infamous is arguably Mobb Deep’s greatest album, and therefore it rightly takes the number one spot on our ranking. The album was largely produced by Havoc alongside Q-Tip and featured guest appearances from Nas, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah. The album featured dark lyrics and memorable melodies with lyrics talking about various aspects of the New York inner-city neighborhoods, such as crime. The album was a critical and commercial success and is popular for the track “Shook Ones (Part II),” which is the most successful track on the album. The album debuted at #15 on the US Billboard 200 and has been certified platinum by the RIAA.