NEW YORK — “A big shout-out to Queens!” Those words were repeated throughout Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning as the Q-Borough’s most renowned duo, Mobb Deep, celebrated the release of their sixth album, Amerikaz Nightmare, at the New York nightclub Spirit.
The major news stemming from the event, however, wasn’t about Havoc and Prodigy’s current project. It was about an upcoming one: Mobb Deep and M.O.P. are working on a joint album together.
Both groups performed at Spirit, as did Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon the Chef, and an old-school freestyle cipher also ensued. Hip-hop luminaries such as Kool Herc and Kurtis Blow were present, as were Lil Jon, Jadakiss, Styles P., J-Hood, Kangol Kid, former Inc. member Vita, Grandmaster Caz, Talib Kweli, Game, Black Moon’s Buckshot, Doug E. Fresh and C.L. Smooth.
After DJ Mister Cee spun classics from the 1992-96 golden era of hip-hop, some of the others rappers were apparently inspired and started tossing the mic around in a freestyle free-for-all.
First, the Roots’ Black Thought and Dead Prez’s M-1 exchanged verses, then Naughty by Nature’s Treach, Shyheim and Heltah Skeltah’s Sean Price added to the cipher.
Raekwon kept the steel to himself during a brief set that started with “C.R.E.A.M.” then went into “Incarcerated Scarfaces” and ended with an a cappella rendition of his verse from Mobb’s classic album cut “Eye for an Eye.” “Shaolin and Queensbridge be robbin’ n—as for fun/ But still, write my will out to my seeds, then build/ Mahalia, sing a tale, but the real we still kill.”
The love M.O.P. get at their shows is obviously real. What other group do you know that can get onstage and tell the cheering fans to “shut the f— up” and be rewarded with more applause?
After the Mash Out Posse riled up the crowd even more with selections such as “Cold as Ice” and “Fire,” Billy Danze told everyone to be quiet after they started cheering for the remix of “U Don’t Know.” Of course, they later complied. Busta Rhymes walked through the ocean of people in M.O.P.’s entourage and, as you would expect, animatedly yelled his verse, then stopped before he was done. “We gonna do this sh– again. We gonna do this sh– again!” he yelled.
The clock started to knock on 3 a.m.’s door when the guests of honor hit the stage. It was advertised that the Mobb, M.O.P. and Rakim would all perform, with the Roots as the house band for the night. But with Alchemist on the turntables and Hav and P’s Queensbridge faithful flooding the stage — barely leaving two centimeters for the Mobb, let alone a backing band — it was obvious that was not going to happen.
It didn’t seem to matter at all to the fans, some of whom had been at Spirit since 9 p.m., when the Mobb opener, “Get Away,” started playing. They followed up with another ’hood favorite, “Survival of the Fittest,” and continued to slay the audience with “Shook Ones Part II.”
Another Queensbridge alum, Indiana Pacer Ron Artest, came from the side of the stage to join the Mobb at the forefront for pictures. This is “Ron Ron,” Prodigy said as he took sips of his Lil Jon energy drink.
Finally the QB tag team brought the proceedings to an end with “Got It Twisted.”
“Y’all fools got it twisted huh?” they rapped. “That liquor up in you, you charged.”
Nope. No liquor: Crunk!!! juice.
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