Mobb Deep: The G-Unit Era
The New York City hip-hop duo known as Mobb Deep has been performing in the 1990s, and part of their career was spent signed to G-Unit Records, the label managed by successful rapper Curtis James Jackson, who performs as 50 Cent. During their time with G-Unit, Mobb Deep was supposed to turn into a powerhouse hip-hop act; however, the duo left after four years and a single album, leaving fans to wonder what happened during that time.
Mobb Deep signed with G-Unit Records in 2005. Rappers Kejuan Muchita and Albert Johnson, better known as Havoc and Prodigy, started writing, performing and producing in 1990 while they were still in high school. The 1990s were the era of gangsta rap, which had reached mainstream status through acts such as NWA, and this was the genre explored by Mobb Deep.
The big break for Mobb Deep came in 1995 with their album The Infamous, which was successful in great part thanks to the production skills applied by Havoc and Prodigy; after all, they had learned from the legendary DJ Premier, and their affiliation with the Wu-Tang Clang certainly helped. The legendary hit single “Shook Ones Pt. II” is one of the hip-hop songs that have stood the test of time.
The duo’s third album tiled Hell On Earth, also received critical acclaim. The album includes features from Nas and Raekwon of the Wu Tang Clan. Mobb Deep was put in the same category as fellow New York rappers such as Jay Z, Wu-Tang Clan, and The Notorious B.I.G., as they told the stories of street life in New York City.
After many years signed with various labels such as Columbia and Polygram, Mobb Deep moved to G-Unit thanks to a professional relationship with 50 Cent. From 2005 to 2009, Mobb Deep appeared in many collaboration projects with quite a few hip-hop artists. Since both Havoc and Prodigy are comfortable working outside of hardcore rap, they collaborated with artists such as Nate Dogg and even Mary J. Blige. In terms of activity and creativity, the G-Unit era was very creative and active for Mobb Deep, but fans wanted to hear a new album; this was right at the time when albums were about to succumb to digital singles on iTunes and streaming services such as Spotify.
Mobb Deep's only album while at G-Unit was their seventh major recording. Blood Money did not sell as many copies as expected, and it was not a critical hit despite many appearances by other G-Unit artists. The album was certainly club-friendly, but it did not capture as much attention as previous efforts. The first single “Have A Party” featuring 50 Cent and Nate Dogg gained popularity when it was also released as a single off the Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ movie soundtrack. The second popular song off the project was “Outta Control Remix” which also featured 50 Cent. Mobb Deep continued working with 50 Cent until 2009, which is when the label started to lose its sheen. These days, the Blood Money album is considered to be an important part of the subgenre known as cocaine rap.
After Mobb Deep left G-Unit, Prodigy revealed that there was an artist agreement in place to avoid dissing 50 Cent, who was focusing on other projects, and to not start beef with other musicians without prior approval from the label. After G-Unit, Mobb Deep hit a rough patch with the incarceration of Prodigy and a temporary breakup followed by a reunion. In 2014, the duo's new album The Infamous Mobb Deep was released to positive reviews, although its singles have found more streaming success than the album itself.