They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but if you did, would YOU buy this record?
I'll be perfectly honest: I didn't buy this record based solely on the cover. Everything about the art for HNIC, Pt. 2 screams "This is as close to a shitty-ass mixtape as full-fledged albums get." And yet as I'm working my way through it, it's probably the best Mobb-Deep-related record since Hell on Earth (I do kinda like the first HNIC, but it's got a few too many of the gloss-floss beats that permeated a third of Murda Muzik).
Prod just put out the "Collector's Edition" of HNIC, Pt. 2 (just in time for the holidays...? We'll get to that in a minute), and as I'm continuing through song by song, what strikes me the most is how much better all of the Sid Roams tracks on this album are, compared to Prod's latest, Product of the '80s.
My suspicion when I first heard Product was that Sid Roams were trying to catch an '80s vibe with the synths. But while some of the beats were serviceable, they just didn't gel with Prodigy's stark flow. Even Big Twinz, who has a great rap voice, couldn't save some the pap on that album.
If you don't have the original HNIC, Pt. 2, though, try and find the collector's edition, because it comes complete with - no joke - a second disc with no music... just a commentary track THAT'S LONGER THAN THE DAMN ALBUM.
Listen, I'm all for a deeper understanding of the music I like, but this just seems patently unnecessary. Prodigy takes at least 2 1/2 minutes (and occasionally up to six) to explain the meaning behind each track and why he chose this or that particular beat. For an hour and twenty minutes.
I ask you: why?
Shouldn't the meaning be clear via the, uh LYRICS? I mean, P's a fine lyricist, but he ain't exactly dropping Killah Priest-style metaphorical allegory. I'd actually like to know what the hell about half the lyrics on Heavy Mental mean... whereas you don't generally have to look far beyond the title to tell what most Prodigy songs are about.