Before we officially recognized Mobb Deep as Mobb Deep, they were two aspiring rappers coming off a promising though not strong reception to their debut, Juvenile Hell.
"We kind of blew that chance and now we had to prove ourselves," Prodigy told REVOLT, recalling his and Havoc's mindset at the time. "That was the attitude we had."
The pair holed up and began working on their sophomore set, which would become their first masterpiece.
The Infamous... begins with the sound of descent, as "The Start Of Your Ending (41st Side) leaks into consciousness. Hav and P had quickly regrouped and in even faster time grew up. Their music was infused with a darker tone and more macabre rhymes.
"After Juvenile Hell came out and we got dropped, we went back to the lab and worked on new songs, new demos," P explained. "We knew we had something that was different from before."
The album was an undisputed classic and launched the pair into street superstardom, with records like "Survival of the Fittest," "Cradle to the Grave" and "Shook Ones, Pt. II."
In honer of the album's 21st anniversary, which passed earlier this week, Mobb Deep paid tribute to the The Infamous album during a perform last month at NYC's Blue Note jazz club.
Prodigy's grandfather used to perform at the historical venue and he provided jazz records that Havoc would eventually use to sample tracks for The Infamous.
"Full circle," P cracked. (In an even fuller circle, P and Hav were joined by their songs, who watched the fathers perform.)
The pair spoke to REVOLT about performing the album in full ("It makes me revisit that part of my live," Havoc said.) and we stuck around later to watch a performance that paired their menacing rhymes backed by The Soul Rebels, which somehow made their material even more sinister.
Check it all out below.