Album: Albert Einstein
Record Label: Infamous
Legendary collaborative duo return with an album that generally thrills with brutal '90s vibes
A bit like EL-P and Killer Mike with "Rap Music" last year, there is a clear camaraderie between legendary Mobb Deep figurehead Prodigy and almost equally as celebrated producer Alchemist that means their understanding of each other goes beyond a musical hypothesis. The key difference being, of course, that Prodigy and Alchemist have been working together since the late '90s, and by sticking to their rigid formula of dark- as- hell, braggadocious lyricism and versatile production, "Albert Einstein" is business as usual. And all the better for it.
The duo waste no time in attempting to send shivers up the listener's spine. Album opener proper "IMDKV" revolves around a chillingly dark piano melody and Prodigy sounds as evil and sadistic as he did in Mobb Deep's heyday, venturing into imagery ranging from beating people with nails to baseball bats and slicing eyeballs and worse. "Give 'Em Hell" finds prodigy cocksure as he raps "I'm probably the illest rapper on Earth." On "Stay Dope" he quips "raise a hand to me and you'll lose a fucking arm", and he sounds vitally re- energized over the MF Doom- esque orchestral tinge of "Curb ya Dog."
"Confessions" is far and away the most ultra- violent moment here. Prodigy's lyrics resemble two accounts of murder in the state of revenge, both told in uncompromising, brutally grizzly prose (there's a moment where, after telling us about a time he called a man in front of his young daughter, he raps "She gonna spend most her life in therapy").
It's not all as gripping however. "Bear Meat" has a dramatic piano- based crescendo leading the beat but sees Prodigy rapping little of any significance. "Y.N.T." featuring Domo Genesis isn't worth much either, merely being weed- toking cloud rap that fails to be interesting. "Raw Forever" sees Prodigy revel in indulgences in a way that almost every other rapper has done before.
Overall, "Albert Einstein" plays to the strengths of the duo, those namely being versatile, often brilliant production and Prodigy's unapologetic, relentlessly violent delivery. It's a well worn formula, meaning that it can come off as both refreshing and, occasionally, run dry.
Key tracks: IMDKV, Curb ya Dog, Confessions
For fans of: Ghostface KIllah, Roc Marciano, Czarface