As a member of the hardcore crew Mobb Deep, Prodigy lost some fans the minute they signed with 50 Cent's G-Unit, and their first full-length for the label, the merely fair Blood Money, didn't help in the least. Prodigy's solo album, Return of the Mac, is the return to form that follows with sinister beats, cold rhymes, and most importantly the Alchemist. The Mobb's long-time producer only handled one cut on Blood Money, but here he's in charge of every track. Steeped in history, the rapport between rapper and producer creates a world unto itself, one reflected in the album's artwork, where bravado style and the good life shine in a world of broken concrete and busted windows. The peering out the window could be searching for prey since Prodigy makes it quite clear his moneyed world has come at the expense of others. "Mac 10 Handle" takes a bit of the Geto Boys' "Mind Playin' Tricks on Me" and twists it into an N.Y.C. version of Scarface with Tony Montoya weary from all the glorious drugs and with his hand on the gun, paranoid as ever. "You've got different colors leaking out you/Like red, yellow, and white/You've got some stomach on your Nikes/You got blood on my G-Units" is the horror-show way "Take It to the Top" rolls, and everywhere else there are stories of decay, decline, death, and shoving your way to the front instead of waiting in line. Those bloodied and most definitely comped G-Unit clothes Prodigy mentions is one of the few times life with 50 is in the picture, and hip-hop gossip hounds will note that the label for his solo career is Koch, a "graveyard" according to 50. Whenever Prodigy works with the Alchemist, the results are so haunting it wouldn't be surprising if Mobb central was located in a graveyard, and even if this is familiar ground, an album so tight in theme and feel is refreshing in an era where most lyricists invite anybody and everybody. The album is short when compared to its contemporaries, clocking in at just under 40 minutes, and about five of those are spent on dialog and Alchemist loops. That's only a warning for those foolish enough to buy their music by the pound because Return of the Mac is admirable for being succinct and delivering on its title.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries
feat: Un Pacino