As the prevalent sounds of Hip Hop change frequently, long cemented veterans must come to grips with brutal hardships that risk shaming their legacies in efforts of keeping pace. One of New York’s most symbolic rap duos, Mobb Deep has maintained their devoted fandom in spite of 2006’s G-Unit affiliated Blood Money LP, attempting emulation of former boss 50 Cent’s blueprint. Prodigy is the group’s flagrant and disorderly half, an epicenter of controversy, whose signature deadpan bone-chilling braggadocio has been revered for a near two decades to date. “H.N.I.C. 3” is his second solo outing sponsored by Complex magazine since release from imprisonment a year ago.

Once a mid-’90s staple well renowned for cohesive releases and a trademark ominous nihilism, Prodigy’s latest incarnation seeks recognition amongst the legions championed by Hip Hop’s present popular blogosphere regime. While he has retained the menacing tone and conviction that have always made for the mightiest weapons in his arsenal, “H.N.I.C. 3” amounts to an unfocused hodgepodge stemming from somewhat shoddy inspiration. Formerly a perfect match for collaborations with East Coast demigods Nas, Raekwon, and Ghostface Killah, Prodigy has now awkwardly sought out the likes of Cory Gunz (“Great Spitters”), Waka Flocka Flame (“They Scared”) and French Montana (“Lay Low” & “I’m From The Trap”) in the presumable effort of career maintenance. Close followers will likely be left confounded at the intentional decision to excise much of the element responsible for his prior accolades.

Prodigy’s aforementioned shortcomings aside, “H.N.I.C. 3” has its moments that are to be lauded. “That’s Nasty” & “Extreme” are both produced by longtime rhyme partner Havoc, placing P in the venomous zone he most commonly identifies with. “Slaughterhouse” is another bright spot for established fans as his familiar bark sends vague threats to rappers he deems pissant, and the smoothed out “Look In My Life” (produced by and featuring Mr. Porter) details how far he’s come from the slums into prosperity. Unfortunately, these enjoyable moments are few and far between, as many snippets and incomplete songs place an even greater damper on the overall package. This go around presents a new spin on Prodigy’s long enamored macabre routine and ultimately lets down those holding him to higher standards, as many would agree his reputation is far too accomplished to experiment with new flows and tempos for the mere sake of modern relevance.

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DX Consensus: “EP-worthy”

Listen to Prodigy – H.N.I.C. 3