20 Years Ago, Mobb Deep, G Rap & Alchemist Made 1 Of The Realest Collabos (Audio)
Mobb Deep has released two highly-acclaimed albums in the mid-1990s. Prodigy and Havoc’s sophomore set, The Infamous, is one of the most beloved LPs of all-time. A year and a half later, they delivered Hell On Earth, a menacing follow-up that stayed the course. By the close of the 1990s, a lot of attention was on M-O-B-B. With 1999’s Murda Muzik, Hav and P released their highest-charting and first platinum LP. The Loud/RCA Records release also put on for one of the most exciting producers of the next 20 years, as well as looked back to a Queens king.
Alchemist has amassed one of the most undeniable production catalogs in Hip-Hop. His work with Cypress Hill/Soul Assassins’ DJ Muggs originally put him out there as someone who had a unique sound and talent. That bond is how he initially met Mobb Deep. It’s unclear as to when the Beverly Hills, California native producer/MC and the Queensbridge duo met, but it was somewhere around 1997 when Prodigy and Havoc were working on their fourth studio LP. At the time, no one probably understood what would come from that meeting. But it would spawn a bond that remained strong until P’s passing in 2017.
It was their first collaboration though that would perhaps be their most infamous. During a 2012 interview with Complex, Alchemist described creating “The Realest” with M-O-B-B. “The minute I walked in with the keyboard P was like, ‘Yo we want to use [‘The Realest’] beat for the album,’ and I was like, ‘Where’s the engineer? Plug in the keyboard lets go!”
“I was supposed to call my manager and be like, ‘Hold on let’s get the business right,’ but I just went for it,” Al continued. “Laid the beat down, [Kool] G Rap wrote that sh*t in 45 minutes. The minute he heard the beat he was just gone like, ‘Lemme go in,’ and he laid that sh*t down. Everybody was just astounded, removing organs, I couldn’t even recite it right now.” At the time, Kool G Rap was a year removed from his first independent LP, Roots Of Evil. Within the next year, the Juice Crew O.G. would be an addition to Rawkus Records, writing a new chapter into a legendary career.
The bleak and distorted synths sampled from Ecstasy, Passion & Pain’s “Born To Lose You,” freaked to a different tempo by Alchemist, painted the picture of a down on your luck project resident looking for a break. The back-and-forth between Mobb Deep and G Rap during the chorus on how to get by hard times was relatable to so many who didn’t have much but still lived their life. K.G.R.’s verse to open the track would eventually attain a “Hip-Hop Quotable” from the Source magazine 20 years ago. G Rap had long been a Gangsta Rap pioneer. However, Mobb Deep helped show his influence and incredible Rap relevance entering Y2K.
Although never an official single, to this day, “The Realest” remains both a seminal Mobb Deep cut and one of the most admirable beats ever constructed by Alchemist. In addition to Havoc, Al and P developed unique sonic chemistry. The pair would work extensively on Prodigy’s solo debut, H.N.I.C., including hit single “Keep It Thoro.” In the last dozen years, Al and P released additional collaborative albums. The pair would form a group, Albert Einstein, ahead of Prodigy’s tragic passing in 2017.
Additional Reporting by Bandini.