Mobb Deep is a hip-hop duo from Queensbridge, New York, comprised of rappers Prodigy and Havoc. Known for their gritty, New York City sound and unapologetic tales of their reality in the streets, the pair helped shape the scope of the East Coast hip-hop scene in the ‘90s. They are regarded as one of the most successful duos in the genre to date.
The pair first met in high school, starting a group together in 1992 known as the Poetical Prophets. A year later, they released their debut album Juvenile Hell as Mobb Deep—though they wouldn’t see commercial success until their sophomore effort The Infamous in 1995. Their next two releases (1996’s Hell On Earth and 1999’s Murda Muzik) were even more commercially successful, solidifying their spot amongst East Coast hip-hop’s elite.
Beef also played a major role in the Mobb Deep legacy, with the duo being part of the East vs. West rivalry in the ‘90s after responding to Tha Dogg Pound’s “New York, New York” track, eventually sparking a vicious exchange with Tupac Shakur, highlighted on Pac’s nefarious cut “Hit Em Up.”
In 2001, Jay Z mocked the duo by placing a childhood photo of Prodigy in front of a stadium crowd at Hot97’s Summer Jam, and debuting his diss track, “Takeover.” They responded on their album Infamy later that year with the cut “The Learning (Burn).”
Mobb Deep released two more albums in the years following—including 2006’s Blood Money during their brief run on G-Unit Records. In 2007, Prodigy was sentenced to three and a half years in prison (released in 2011), forcing a hiatus upon the group. The duo had a brief split, where group troubles were detailed in Prodigy’s first memoir My Infamous Life, as well as some public spatting over social media. By 2013, they reunited and continue to tour and record music, both separately and together.
To date, Mobb Deep has released eight studio albums together, with record sales totaling over three million. Prodigy has also sustained a successful solo career, as has Havoc, even producing for the likes of Kanye West, 50 Cent, and more.