Mobb Deep Kicks Off The Red Bull Music Academy at Webster Hall
Last Sunday, Queens rap group Mobb Deep headlined a raucous double-header at NYC’s Webster Hall to kick off the Red Bull Music Academy. The afternoon began with a conversation led by Egotrip co-founder Sacha Jenkins, who took Prodigy and Havoc down memory lane as the pair discussed the origins of their second album, The Infamous. Select tracks were played for fans as they spoke of their humble beginnings. P and Hav would take the train to their own shows and back, loiter in front of the Def Jam building for days before meeting Q-Tip (and eventually working with him on three tracks for The Infamous), and most notably, creating the “dunn language”. Acclaimed by Jenkins as a “crucial nugget of hip hop culture”, P explained how his friend Bumpy was the accidental originator of the Queensbridge slang. Bumpy had a speech impediment, so his “Whaddup son’s” came out as “Whaddup dunn’s”. The M-O-B-B turned the dunn language into a way to talk flagrantly about women (“That dhorty got a datty”) and the police, all while in plain sight. And so it began.
Jenkins, acknowledged originally meeting Havoc many years back when they were both active graffiti writers. Jenkins asked the group about which rappers were influenced by the “Mobb Deep sound”. P, humbled, neglected to mention names but the crowd was quick to suggest acts like CNN, the LOX, and the Clipse. Prodigy and Havoc just smiled modestly.
Later that evening, the MOBB performed to a sold out crowd at The Studio at Webster Hall. With The Alchemist on the boards, Prodigy and Havoc banged out gems off The Infamous. Fittingly, they shut it down to “Shook Ones Part II” as their fans spat it back in unison. Yo Queens get the money…
Text and Photo: Steven Lau