“Shook Ones, Part 2” is probably — actually, it is the most popular, well-known Mobb Deep track. Today, we learned that half of Mobb Deep is gone, with Prodigy’s death at 42. The hip-hop community is in mourning, and “Shook Ones, Part 2” is on repeat on countless playlists around the world.
For me, though, the best Mobb Deep song was “Quiet Storm.” It was Prodigy at his lyrical height, delivering all three verses with Havoc handling the hook and completely in his bag on the production tip. First released on the In Too Deep soundtrack, then becoming the lead single for Mobb Deep’s fourth album, Murda Muzik, the track was built over a sample of the bass from the Furious Five’s “White Lines,” and a three-note piano riff that for some reason reminded me more of the Jaws theme than anything else.
It fit; the murky, menacing beat perfectly matched the grimy threats P and Hav growled, sounding subterranean as all hell, just like a submerged shark swimming just below the surface in search of its next victim. That’s what being 13 in the hood felt like: Non-stop forward motion to avoid death by starvation or predator, unseen by mainstream America, unnoticed by anyone other than those that mainstream America viewed as the sharks that surrounded me, and would eat me alive if I didn’t also become a shark myself.
It’s a philosophy shared anywhere that might be considered the “inner city,” or the ghetto. Kill or be killed, we all have to be sharks to survive.