Mobb Deep

Mobbsters Prodigy and Havoc have a new sugar daddy: 50 Cent, who recently signed them to his G Unit label. Too bad the pros in the relationship are offset by plenty of cons -- and not the kind who populate so many Mobb Deep songs. Granted, Mr. Cent's interest in the group seems genuine, and why not? First-rate Deep discs such as 1995's The Infamous and 1996's Hell on Earth prefigure much of his material, which helps explain why he offered his financial backing after the duo's commercial momentum slowed. However, Blood Money, the first album under the new deal, fails to strike the creative muthalode, in part because 50, who executive-produced the platter, doesn't leave well enough alone. The disc is so overstuffed with G Unit personnel (50, Lloyd Banks, Young Buck and Tony Yayo, supplemented by Mary J. Blige) that the ostensible stars of the show have to fight for the spotlight -- and they often lose. Fortunately, the Mobb men can still make decent music without assistance; "Daydreamin'," a no-guests track, is among the CD's too-few highlights. Sugar daddies are fine, but in this case, independence tastes sweeter.


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