Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Sep 16th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Into Deep

mus mobbEast Coast rap trailblazers Mobb Deep return to claim their legacy 

Not all hip-hop fans will recognize the name Mobb Deep, but chances are they’ve heard the pioneering New York duo’s beats sampled or lyrics quoted.

At the very least, they’ve heard the influence this collaboration of Prodigy and Havoc have had since their 1995 release, The Infamous, delivered a sound unlike anything that had been heard in rap music.

This month, more than two decades since the pair first began working together, Mobb Deep have reissued the record that put them on the map, along with an album of new material and 10 unreleased tracks from the original Infamous sessions. They’re in the midst of a 32-city nationwide tour in support of the album, which will bring them to the Catalyst Friday, April 18.

As one of the key progenitors of the East Coast hard core hip-hop sound, the duo from Queens have influenced a generation of rappers and producers with their stone-cold tales of life in the largest housing project in North America, the Queensbridge Houses. Along with contemporaries such as the Notorious B.I.G. and Nas, Mobb Deep told stories America had not yet heard—those of the everyday struggle of life in the NYC projects.

While West Coast gangster rappers like Snoop Dogg and N.W.A. were rhyming over bright and bouncy beats, with squawking bass and whistling synthesizer tones, East Coast hardcore rap was gravitating toward sparse, cold production—choppy, lo-fi piano loops, dry bass and dusty drums.

The accompaniment paired well with the deadpan and matter-of-fact telling of the stickups, drug deals, violence and mayhem, which Prodigy says were just a part of daily life in Queensbridge. The result was a sound and lyrical style that wasn’t just aggressive—it was haunting.

“The way we was livin’, and the way we were going through our life—it obviously came through in our music,” Prodigy says, telling GT that he and fellow MC Havoc were simply reporting what they were seeing. He thinks people responded to it because it was raw, powerful, real, and, for the most part, unheard of. “What we brought to the table was something new—it wasn’t really out there before ... Queensbridge is like a whole ‘nother planet. There was so much concentrated energy and creativity. It was wild growing up. People wasn’t used to hearing that. People didn’t know there were people actually living like that.”

Though the two have publicly feuded in recent years, Prodigy and Havoc appear to have reconciled. Prodigy says they’re looking forward to the new album, which will ultimately take them overseas. Prodigy hasn’t left the country since he was arrested in 2006 on weapons charges. “We’re definitely excited,” he says.

As for the fans, Prodigy says they shouldn’t expect anything short of a traditional Mobb Deep record and a good, old fashioned Mobb Deep show when the group comes to Santa Cruz.

“When you buy a Mobb Deep album, you’re buying it because you are looking for a brand name,” he says. “You’re buying a hardcore rap album. We look at ourselves like Coca Cola. People buy it because that’s what they like.”


Mobb Deep performs at 9 p.m. on Friday, April 18, at the Catalyst Atrium, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $19/adv, $23/door. 423-1338.


Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past

 

A Different Revolution

Aries Moon late Wednesday and Thursday. We think new thoughts and initiate new ideas. Sun in Virgo with Saturn in Scorpio help disciples to create orderly structures to anchor and bring forth new ideas. Stabilizing Taurus moon Friday and Saturday. We anchor new ideas into form and matter, like seeds planted in the soil. We tend them, waiting for green shoots to emerge. Like the gestating Virgo Sun Madonna, awaiting the birth of the holy child, the Soul, the new light at winter solstice. Mercury and Chiron converse about what hurts and what heals.Saturday is a complex day with Mercury (communication), Mars (action!) and Uranus (revolution). Mercury in Libra is opposite Uranus in Aries. Oppositions (recognizing something new appearing over there somewhere) eventually synthesize. Mercury in Libra calls for Right Action and Right Relations, especially with money. Uranus in Aries—the revolution this time must be different.  Also on Saturday, Mars enters Sagittarius. Where are we going, what are our goals, where’s justice, where’s the mountain, do we have good shoes? Sunday Venus trines Pluto—in-depth assessment of money, values and resources. Gemini moon Monday; we talk a lot, tending to tasks in gardens and neighborhoods. Cancer Moon Tuesday and Wednesday; we nurture and nourish. The stars and planets remind us.Note: William Meader, esoteric author & international teacher, will be speaking on “The Soul of Humanity Evolving Through Crisis” at Meditation Mount, 7pm, Friday, Sept. 12.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 12

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Wood Fire Woodie

Scotts Valley pizzeria gets fired up the old-school way

 

What's your all-time best Skyview Flea Market score?

Santa Cruz | eBay Business

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Soquel’s Pinot Winner

When you taste Soquel Vineyards’ extraordinary 2012 Partners’ Reserve Pinot Noir, you will know why it won a Double Gold in June at the 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition.