Commercially speaking, Mobb Deep’s The Infamous was a modest success. The Recording Industry Association of America has certified the album gold, and it spawned two entries into the Billboard Hot 100 chart with “Shook Ones Pt. II” and “Survival Of The Fittest.” But ask a fan of ‘90s Hip-Hop about the impact of the album and those two songs, and you’ll get a decidedly different response. With April 25 marking the 20-year anniversary of The Infamous, Complex rounded up the album’s key players to discuss creating a classic. One revelation came in the form of Havoc confirming nearly deleting two iconic songs.
“I just popped the sample up and I almost even erased it because I didn’t even really like it too much,” Havoc said, in reference to “Shook Ones Pt. II.” “[Laughs.] At that time I was always in the house alone by myself making beats and sometimes if I didn’t have somebody to co-sign it, I’d be like, ‘F**k it, whatever.’”
That same ambivalence almost led to the deletion of the track that eventually became “Survival Of The Fittest,” but Prodigy convinced his partner to let the rest of the crew hear it, and they ultimately began writing verses to the track.
The Infamous went on to receive a 4.5 rating in The Source, and it has held up incredibly well over the years. The full retrospective, including commentary from Mobb Deep, Raekwon, Q-Tip, and others is available at Complex.com.