Live Show Review: Mobb Deep At Best Buy Theater

It was a big night for non-progressive rap fans in New York, with the first Mobb Deep show in over three years popping-off live and direct next to Times Square. Would Capone sneak in and attempt to hit Prodigy with a bar stool, Keith Murray style? Or would a live rendition of ‘Shook Ones’ lead to a number of drunken brawls in the crowd? The third, and most likely scenario of course, was that none of the above would happen and it would be a uneventful rap concert in the ‘New’ New York, where even the corniest white rap fan could dance around like a moron with no fear of getting smacked upside the head by a less happy-go-lucky audience member.

Once we got into the venue, we went backstage so that Combat Jack could do a quick interview with the Mobb for The Source site before they went on stage, so I took the opportunity to make a sandwich from the Kraft Services table since the pizza slices were being closely guarded by an assortment of unidentified QB goons and the Henny was long gone. Stretch Armstrong also took the opportunity to quiz Havoc about what exact drink ‘Dainey’ was. Turns out he talking about that St. Ides, of course…

When we got back to the main arena, Black Thought was already rocking with Jam Jam Money Players or whatever the crew he has with Dice Raw is called. I can recall one of their songs featuring a chorus that declared they were ‘Coming, coming, coming in hard!’ or something equally pause-worthy, but then Thought finished the set with an outstanding accapella display that brought the house down.

Next up, the Wu came through as Ghost, Rae and Cappa hit the stage with a few of their boys and J-Love on the decks. I’m pretty sure that Ghost and Cap found an old dust blunt from 1987 and smoked that shit before they hit the stage on some throwback shit, because the two of them proceeded to dance around in a highly comical manner for the entire set. Cappadonna’s moves were a combination of struts, shimmys and something that can only be described as some kind of Staten Island lap-dance (pause). Since 95% of the crowd was clearly raised on the Wu, it ain’t no mystery that they tore shit up and got a bunch of ‘W’s thrown in the air, and when Stark’s declared that everyone in the audience was a ‘real nigga’, it was like shooting fish in a barrel.

Eventually, the Infamous M.O.B.B. ambled onto the stage, entering through an over-sized project doorway. It was then that I was overcome with a feeling of horror…was that a…band on stage? For some ungodly reason, it appeared that we were about to witness a Las Vegas-style Dean Martin show. I’m sure that in three months time the whole show will be pretty tight, but on this particular night, it sounded like they’d meet the band for the first time at sound check, maybe rehearsed for a total of five minutes and scribbled a set-list on the back of a napkin. Cues were missed, sometimes the band played too fast over the backing track and the kid on the drums was playing like this was a Van Halen concert, which effectively drowned out the rapping altogether. I felt like I was watching a cover band at some points.

A series of guests wandering through the Giant Project Doorway scenery added some mild amusement, as Big Noyd stormed through with the excitement of a guy who was getting his first check for a concert in three years, Alchemist came through to do some of not very good rapping over one of his very good beats, and by the time Lil’ Kim made her cameo appearance, I had begun nodding off. Shit was basically Hot Ass Mess status. The crowd gradually deflated their energy levels from the excitement that Rae and Ghost had generated earlier, and it wasn’t until the inevitable ‘Shook Ones, Pt. II’ that any kind of mosh pit shit was achieved at the foot of the stage. The contrast between the quick-fire Ghost and Chef set and the uninspired deliveries of Hav and P was like chalk and cheese, and considering this was their big reunion show it was disappointing that their hearts didn’t really seem to be in it. Still, it wasn’t a complete loss. I got a free sandwich, after all.

Here’s some footage that Dallas Penn caught while we were waiting out front and all of that:

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24 Comments so far
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Was that Stretch Armstrong or Rob Unkut?

Comment by D-BO 05.15.11 @

lol.. do you ever go to any shows you actually enjoy?

Comment by LEX 05.15.11 @

Money Making Jam Boys is the shit. Black Thought, top 5 Rapper, hands down.

Comment by ... 05.15.11 @

YO! Awesome review. I wish I coulda travelled there just for the ghost/cappa show. I’ve never seen Mobb Deep live but I always heard BAD THINGS…which sucks cuz they are like my favorite group in the world…I guess I’ll have to go see them at least once.

DOPE REVIEW. Funny ass shit.

Comment by qbd1 05.15.11 @

And wow! Black Thought without the fucking annoying Questlove band. I woulda loved to see that.

Comment by qbd1 05.15.11 @

Yeah…BT is like the most underrated rapper ever…Illadelph/Half-life and Do You Want More?? are classic albums…the rest is meh to me. But I never understood why Black Thought never was able to shine on his own…like have a real solo emcee carreer. Because that motherfucker is dope as a motherfucker. Breath control, presence, flows, energy, he’s the 5th element.

Comment by qbd1 05.15.11 @

Black Thought has an ill technique. Definitely one of the greats. I’m 50/50 on the “Questlove band”. On one hand it’s refreshing to have a competent live hip hop band. But their sound is pretty conservative imo. One of the things that makes hip hop dope, is that a lot of hip hop producers are actually pretty experimental.

Comment by eric nord 05.15.11 @

Wow, what a surprise a disappointing rap concert.

Comment by farns 05.16.11 @

At least Havoc wasn’t drunk

Comment by delronious 05.16.11 @

that set looks hot, as for the live band…idunno, betta luck next time. funny article, wish they would’ve showed Noyd’s clown ass in the video…

Comment by Big Gist from brooklyn 05.16.11 @

MFs shitting on The Roots now. God damnit. Thanks for the Lolz, Rob.

Comment by A'Peks 05.16.11 @

Black Thought >>> Roots but they also give him cover. The Roots are a nice band but they make boring records and fuck a Dilla too. Sly Stone >>>> Dilla + Roots combined.

No fucking way is Black Thought a ‘one of the greats,’ however. Pretending he is even a Top 50 MC just because he can imitate Kool G Rap before Kool G Rap sucked is just silly.

Mobb were never great live– but what rappers are? Also, it’s a pretty tough thing to get together with a band and make it work. If they stay with it, I expect them to get better.

Comment by Ejaculation Munson 05.16.11 @

Ejaculation Munson: Go Thurman thyself.

Comment by A'Peks 05.16.11 @

hammer wuz hot live

Comment by biggist from brooklyn 05.16.11 @

cot damn here we go again

Comment by eric nord 05.16.11 @

A’Peks Tech: try harder, and then

1) explain why the Roots’ Dilla tribute over Sly Stone “Everybody Is A Star” on whatever that orange album was doesn’t suck.

2) explain why DJ Polo meant even more to Kool G. Rap than Eric B. did to Rakim.

3) Or don’t, and go listen to Kool G Rap’s idiotic ‘mafia rap’ (sic) on “Giancana Story” and that other piece of shit.

I respect the hell out of Black Thought for doing his thing but don’t pretend it’s more than it is; he’s a great supporting actor, that’s all– and that’s enough but it ain’t more than that either.

Comment by Ejaculation Munson 05.16.11 @

yo i was there best part of the show was sparking my L to rae & ghost. mobb wasnt good what a shame live band you gotta be kidding me

Comment by Lumba 05.17.11 @

Did they do ‘Right Back at You’ or ‘Eye for an Eye’ seeing as Ghost and Rae were in the building?

Comment by Bang the Basehead 05.17.11 @

amazing writing. great perspective. shit wont ever be the same and as sad as it is, this review made me feel better about it.

Comment by yessmilk 05.17.11 @

I’m not a huge Kool G Rap fan though I do respect his early efforts and listen to a few very often. I’m not going to get into a discussion as to whether or not he sucks now because I haven’t listened to anything new other than some collabs with other artists in eons.

But the reason I think Thought is an elite MC is because of what he brings to the table in a live setting. I’ve seen him rock for hours non-stop with the same energy and ferocity, and I can clearly make out every word and syllable. His writing skills are on par with the best in the industry.

Now, saying you don’t mess with The Roots musically, that’s up to whomever but I think their catalogue is so diverse that there’s something in it for everybody. Me I fux with just about all of it.

Comment by A'Peks 05.18.11 @

This FFS:

Comment by A'Peks 05.18.11 @

Hilarious! Glad to see I didn’t miss much afterall….

Comment by NV 05.19.11 @

Mobb Deep vs. Rae & Ghost live show. That ain’t even fair dun dun. Well at least the infamous tried. lmao I feel everything you wrote except for writting off Money Making Jam Boys…because they basically burn every “ActionBronsonDoppleganger/Off BrandRocMarcianfeature” you guys have posted. No diss to Roc but some off his features are not the hottest(Not his fault). Let’s not get too snobby Robby.

Comment by Cresno Fresh 05.24.11 @


Comment by legit da writer 05.25.11 @

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