Words by: Fredrick Fresh | Photo by: Teresa McCullough
The TLA, Phily, Thursday night played host to one of New York’s most prolific duos. Mobb Deep cemented their place in rap music history with the release of Shook Ones Pt. II. Defining them by that single alone doesn’t really show how accomplished they’ve become by constantly staying true to what they do, for well over 20 years. Long story short. The show was dope.
Right out of the gate, Mobb Deep pulled from crates to start their set with “Survival of the Fittest“. Mixtape style they went for the jugular with “Eye for an Eye“. Before you could blink, they moved into “Give Up the Goods“. Their vocals were mega tight. The best part was the fact that the crowd was nothing but heads. If you can cut the music out every four bars, and the crowd can spit your vocals without missing a beat, that’s success. Think about it.
The focus of the tour was to promote their new album The Infamous Mobb Deep. Honestly it was my first time hearing the new material, but it was sharp. The vibe was dank, but still a little melodic. Lots of room to soak in the lyrics, but still enough drive to make you snap your neck. The best way to describe it was a Mobb Deep song, but 2014. True to form no question.
One of the cardinal rules of performing live is managing your silent time on stage. Mobb Deep knew exactly when to cut the songs, when to let the crowd join in, and when to stop to promote new material. You really can’t ask for much more. Total crowd control.
On a side note, I’ve been thinking about the Pitchfork review, in the back of my mind. Was the Pitchfork writer missing the point of what “The Infamous..” was really about? If I wrote a review for, let’s say, a Johnny Cash reissue album – I didn’t grew up in that culture, so I can’t %100 truly understand what that album means to the people of said culture. Music is all about cultural references. That’s how we understand it. That’s how we “Get it”. Was Mobb Deep wrong for calling out someone who hasn’t walked in their shoes, but really wanted to give them praise for making classics? That’s the scary part about music in general. You might make it for yourself. You might make it for your people. But you never know what you’ve made until it’s out there.
Photos by: Teresa McCullough