Mobb Deep

At the height of the East Coast vs West Coast hip-hop rivalry in the mid-1990s, New York duo Mobb Deep captured the bleak, gritty realities of inner city America and took on all corners with an aggressive, uncompromising stance. Prodigy (real name Albert Johnson) and Havoc (Kejuan Muchita) were both raised on the huge Queensbridge housing projects in New York that also produced Nas, Marley Marl and Capone, and landed a recording contract for their first album 'Juvenile Hell' when they were still in their teens. The record company's attempts to mould them into a slick, commercial hit machine flopped badly though, and the pair were forced to scrap their way back from obscurity and find a more authentic, personal sound. They found it on their landmark album 'The Infamous' in 1995, which told of the crime, poverty and violence in their neighbourhood and became a gangsta rap classic thanks to the chilling delivery and poetic potency of their rhymes. Notorious for becoming involved in high profile battles with Snoop Dogg, Tupac Shakur, Jay-Z and nearly all of their peers, Mobb Deep went on to score the US top ten albums 'Hell On Earth', 'Murda Muzik', 'Amerikaz Nightmare' and 'Blood Money' and, despite their success, continued to offer unflinching portraits of street life in America. In later years they signed to 50 Cent's G-Unit label and they both released a series of solo albums, before Prodigy - who suffered with the lifelong condition sickle-cell anaemia - died in 2017, aged 42.

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