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MOBB DEEP, SAT 9TH MAY

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Two teenagers are standing outside of Island Def Jam on Broadway soliciting their tapes. It’s 1991 and the music from Mobb Deep’s Prodigy and Havoc — then known as Albert Johnson and Kejuan Muchita — had little more than juvenile rhymes, wild energy and lo-fi production. But it definitely had promise.

Early ’90s Jam Master Jay disciples, the Afros, were among the myriad of somebodies coming and going from the hip-hop cornerstone building, weary of what a young P-Wee and K-Wee were selling. The duo, who had just met each other days earlier, had built a reputation as a couple of wild kids with a knack for rhyming.

After umpteen denials someone finally decided to give the youngsters — who called themselves Poetical Prophets at the time — a listen and invite them inside. Barely at legal driving age, the two emcees were being walked into a world they knew little about. Def Jam was the New York hip-hop machine and their tour guide was none other than Q-Tip.

A year later the duo — now known as Prodigy and Havoc — dropped their Poetical Prophets moniker for something darker. They would become Mobb Deep and drop their debut album, Juvenile Hell, in 1993.

In 1994, A Tribe Called Quest producer and Queensbridge duo began work on Mobb Deep’s Magnum Opus, The Infamous. Q-Tip’s prowess and example helped Prodigy and Havoc put together their most critically acclaimed album to date and perhaps one of the darkest LPs the genre has ever experienced.

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