On their debut, Havoc and Prodigy tell the listener in all sorts of overconfident manners that there are few people out there who can mess with Mobb Deep. In fact, they do so in 14 different ways on Juvenile Hell. Mostly produced by Mobb Deep themselves, this album is rawness at an unrelenting pace, with an undeniable, relentless, and often irrational energy. The intro cut sets the mood as a warning, set to a "Queens brand" production. The tempo is kind of fast, but the bassline rolls to easily facilitate a strong head nod. The sampled horn stabs help to remind you that, after all, it's still music. Over this beat Prodigy cautions: "It's called Juvenile Hell; you won't survive long." In the first few songs, Mobb acquaints the listener with the life of a "frustrated and confused young juvenile" living in Queens. Juvenile Hell is hardcore, but not void of musical pr creative effort and accomplishment; it's really cool, serious, and 100 percent hip-hop. Highlights include "Flavor for the Non Believes," "Peer Pressure," "Stomp Em Out" (featuring Big Noyd), and "Hold Down the Fort." When Juvenile Hell was initially released, it didn't do so well in the stores. Perhaps it was the excess of threats and proclamations making up Juvenile Hell that kept buyers away in 1993, or maybe it was the label's inability to market this virulent project correctly. In any event, it's an album worthy of historical note.
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AllMusic Review by Qa'id Jacobs