Staff pick: Mobb Deep’s anger undiminished by time

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From the May 1, 2014 edition

Prodigy, one half of decades-spanning, New York hip-hop duo Mobb Deep, has said in multiple interviews that his earliest forays into music were driven by a deep-seated anger fueled by his childhood struggles with sickle cell anemia — symptoms that have continued to burden the rapper well into adulthood (a scheduled late-April phone interview had to be canceled when the illness flared up).

It’s a rage apparently undiminished by time. On this year’s The Infamous Mobb Deep, an album whose title nods to the crew’s 1995 classic The Infamous, the MC still sounds like he’s channeling his inner-Lewis Black, filling his seething verses with mentions of spilling his enemy’s hot blood all over the cold, cold pavement.

Longtime cohort Havok is again along for the ride after a very public 2012 falling out, but the chemistry between the two sounds irreparably damaged, preventing the music from reaching those lofty mid-’90s heights. This should be of little concern to concertgoers, though. The release of the duo’s new album was accompanied by a reissue of The Infamous, and the two should spend a fair amount of the evening time-traveling to those better days.