Fans of Queensbridge hip hop duo Mobb Deep have been eagerly anticipating the group’s first full-length album in over five years. When Prodigy was released from prison earlier this year, fans rightfully expected a new Mobb Deep album. Instead, we were given The Black Cocaine EP. At a slight five songs, Black Cocaine is an appetizer, something to hold us over until the main course is supposed to be released sometime next year. (Hooray for more shitty food analogies!) And while the EP is merely a first course, Mobb Deep purists will surely get excited. Others (those unfamiliar with East Coast hardcore rap or those who lean toward something smoother and jazzier), meanwhile, might notice that neither the beats nor the lyrical content are all that exciting. It’s definitely territory that Prodigy and Havoc have covered (and to greater results) before. This is not a release that will convert the non-believers.
The EP opens with “Dead Man’s Shoes”. And while Hodgy Beats and Tyler, The Creator obviously came after, the beat really reminds me of “Sandwitches.” The problem is that the energy is not there to match the intensity of the beat. And this could be said about most of the songs on the EP. Prodigy and Havoc don’t seem like they are trying. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because these two obviously know their craft and understand their audience. They deliver what is expected of them, but they don’t really strive to do anything that would wow or inspire. Nas delivers a strong cameo verse on “Get It Forever”, but even his inspired contribution can lift this project to new heights. The EP definitely leaves us hungering for more and also anticipating future solo releases from the pair. The appetizer is tasty, but the payoff never really comes. Let’s hope the main course is stronger.