Big Noyd

Armed and Dangerous: Best of Big Noyd

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Just before Big Noyd dropped his long-coming sophomore album, Only the Strong (2003), a timely compilation of his best (mostly underground) performances to date surfaced quietly, titled Armed and Dangerous: Best of Big Noyd. Mixed by J-Love, the album is quite disparate, drawing some of its inclusions from other albums -- "Give Up the Goods" (from Mobb Deep's The Infamous), "Give It Up Fast" (from Mobb Deep's Hell on Earth), "Shoot 'Em Up" (from Only the Strong) -- and most others from underground mixtapes. Many of the tracks feature guests -- chief among them Mobb Deep, who are all over this compilation, and most notably 50 Cent ("Bump That"), Rakim ("Hoodlum"), and Nas ("Give It Up Fast"). As such, Armed and Dangerous should delight Big Noyd fans, for sure, but also anyone with a taste for Mobb Deep and other likeminded East Coast hardcore rap artists. The major-label polish is certainly missing here, but this gives the album an underground feel that seems fitting given Big Noyd's street reputation, as does J-Love's mixing. In the end, Armed and Dangerous: Best of Big Noyd fulfills its promise, bringing together the rapper's best collabos (the aforementioned tracks), freestyles (over Mobb Deep's "Burn," for instance), and solo tracks ("Shoot 'Em Up") as well as a welcome street sense.

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