Spun: Mobb Deep

Prodigy, Havoc, 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, Sha Money XL–the dream-team looks good on paper, but the music is a different story. Long-time Mobb Deep fans were wary of Havoc and Prodigy’s merger with the G-Unit camp, and for the most-part their worst fears have been realized. Blood Money takes Mobb Deep’s slow progression towards club-friendly music to a whole new level.

Mobb fans should probably think twice before pointing fingers at 50 Cent and G-Unit, though. The majority of the album’s sleepers were produced by Havoc himself, whose production has been in steady decline since 1996’s Hell on Earth. Even the more recent Mobb Deep albums have yielded at least a few gems by the rapper/producer, but the only solid Havoc-produced track on Blood Money is “Put Em In Their Place,” a track co-produced by Sha Money XL. Lyrically, Mobb Deep delivers the usual grit, but it just sounds played-out over the polished, synth-heavy production.

One of Blood Money’s best tracks is a bonus cut of “Have A Party” featuring 50 Cent and Nate Dogg, which originally appeared on the Get Rich or Die Tryin’ soundtrack. The album also borrows a slightly-remixed version of the beat from “Tick Tock” from Alchemist’s First Infantry, but Blood Money’s botched rendition is nothing like Nas and Prodigy’s street classic. The rare bangers–“Pearly Gates,” “Put Em In Their Place,” and “The Infamous”–are buried in a slew of forgettable tracks. Blood Money will have true Mobb fans yearning for the glory days when the music was based on gritty samples and raw lyrics, not poppy hooks and club appeal.

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