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The top 15 greatest rap songs of all time: Number 9.

May 8, 2020

The top 15 greatest rap songs of all time: Number 9.
  1. Mobb Deep – “Shook Ones, Pt. II” (1995)


As soon as Prodigy, one half of the iconic New York rap duo Mobb Deep, announced that “Shook Ones, Pt. II” was dedicated, “to all the killers and a hundred dollar billers,” it was apparent that listeners were in for one of the rawest displays of lyrical ability known to man.

Prodigy’s first verse is cold-blooded East Coast hip hop at its level best. Opening with two of the most killer couplets in the history of rhyming, “I got you stuck off the realness/We be the infamous/You heard of us/Official Queensbridge murders,” to serve as an introduction to he and his partner in crime, Havoc, he only continues with the pure unbrideled savagery aimed at any fake gangsters until he one ups everything he said before with his last two bars: “Take these words home and think it through/Or the next rhyme I write might be about you.”

Now with a performance like that, would you expect Prodigy to let off the gas pedal on the chorus? If you said no, that would be correct a hundred times over.

“There ain’t no such thing as halfway crooks” tells people who are in the middle of being living the gangster lifestyle that you can’t be in the middle. You have to pick a side of whether that’s a lifestyle you want to live and the hook tells his enemies that if you want to fight with Mobb Deep, you better go all the way or pay the consequences.

Havoc’s verse is not nearly as over-the-top and ruthless as Prodigy’s, but he does add onto the malicious mentality of the track and he opens with a couplet that’s on par with Prodigy’s bold opening, claiming, “For every rhyme I write/It’s twenty-five to life,” and he furthers the notion that fake rappers and gangsters will have trouble dealing with the realness of Mobb Deep.

Havoc was behind the boards on “Pt. II”, which has been lauded as being one of the best beats in the genre, is so menacing and acts itself as a warning to anyone Prodigy and Havoc come after. There’s a siren-esque sound that lets any wannabe thug know that Mobb Deep is coming to hunt them down and the foreboding bass line has the fate of their opponent sealed.

Sequels sometimes get a bad rap as not living up to the original, but Mobb Deep bucked that trend on a tour de force of pain and punishment which has stood the test of time.

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