By Rahul Lal
Mobb Deep was a big part of the ’90s east coast/west coast beefs, and on the latest episode of the Rap Radar podcast on CBS Radio’s Play.it. In fact, he told hosts Elliott Wilson and Brian “B-Dog” Miller that he became a fan of his adversary Tupac during the beef.
“We was living that s—,” Prodigy explained. “That was our mindstate anywhere we at. I don’t care where we going… I’m just prepared for that s— at any time.”
West coast legend Tupac Shakur had taken plenty of shots at New York rappers as a whole grouping together rappers like The Notorious B.I.G., Junior Mafia and Mobb Deep in songs like “Hit ‘Em Up” and “Hail Mary.”
“I wasn’t a big Tupac fan, I liked his songs like ‘Dear Mama,’ ‘Keep Ya Head Up’ and all of those,” he said. “All of that was before the drama and all that but I wasn’t a big, big Tupac fan until he started the songs going at us. I was like ‘That’s hard, son.’ On that ‘Hail Mary’ track I was like ‘He coming hard now,’ that’s when I became a real Tupac fan.”
Prodigy laughed as he explained this but he maintained that those diss tracks were how Shakur gained his respect. Mobb Deep wasn’t ready to back down from Shakur and the rest of Death Row Records, who were taking shots at the young New York rappers.
“When Pac dropped that song,” he continued. “We just went back in the studio and were like ‘You want to come at us? Cool. We got something for that.’ We just went in, it was just like another day for us, you know? That’s the type of music Mobb Deep makes.”
A lot of the beef that Mobb Deep dealt with stemmed around Snoop Dogg and his group, Tha Dogg Pound. The west coast group released a song titled “New York, New York” which took plenty of shots to all of the New York rappers mentioned earlier. Mobb Deep released a diss track in retaliation titled “L.A. L.A.”
“That was the number one record on L.A. radio,” Prodigy remarked. “Mobb Deep got a lot of fans in LA and California since we had our demos and whatnot. They was feeling it, they was feeling the controversy. They loved Pac and they was loving Mobb Deep, you know? I was bugging when we found out ‘L.A. L.A.’ was the number one song out there.”
While the song was a huge success, he was never truly worried about running into the same fate that some of the other rappers did because he always had people looking out for him and ensuring he stayed focused on music.
“A lot of the hustlers that were really doing it, they wouldn’t let us do certain s—,” he said. “They’d be like ‘Come here, sit down. What the f— is you doing? It’s three in the morning. What are you doing with these n——? Why you out here drinking and s—? You need to make music, stick to that s–, y’all really good at it. I don’t wanna see you out here getting in trouble.’ They used to keep us grounded… that just kept us with the mentality to stay out of trouble and stay safe.”
The two have kept this mindset of staying safe, learning from their past to continue their success and longevity, and they still are amazed by the people showing up to their packed shows.
“We always said that we wanted to be remembered for our consistency. We lasted for a very f—ing long time. That’s what we want our legacy to be… y’all kept going, y’all didn’t stop. That’s our mentality, that’s always been our mentality.”