Mobb Deep

Life of the Infamous: The Best of Mobb Deep

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Providing a fairly even-handed representation of each album pre-Blood Money, this 17-track anthology is more like a sampler than a proper "best of." Three tracks are taken from both The Infamous and Hell on Earth -- Mobb Deep's pair of must-own mid-'90s classics -- as well as lesser works like Infamy and Amerikaz Nightmare. Other albums, including Prodigy's H.N.I.C., are represented once or twice, and a pair of previously unreleased cuts -- middling G-Unit-era productions from Havoc -- are added to bait the hardcore fans. Those same fans could argue about the track selection until the end of time (a true best-of might be as much as 70 percent reliant on the first two albums), but the disc is a fine way to get yourself acquainted with one of the most excellent East Coast hardcore duos, and it'll only reinforce the compulsory nature of The Infamous and Hell on Earth. [Eight years after this 2006 set came out, Legacy released Playlist: The Very Best of Mobb Deep, which consisted of the same tracks.]

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