“Shook Ones, Pt. II” (Mobb Deep)

As a remix of an earlier, forgotten single often described as “sinister” and having “stakes in the streets,” it’s the claim that the trax is an example of “rap vérité” which proves (unintentionally) helpful. From jump, Prodigy exploits this: the listener is “stuck off the realness” of affect-less characters with gang loyalties. Yet the stakes of realness aren’t in the streets; they reside in those who are slumming it, vicariously rehearsing the rags-to-riches-to-rags (-to-grave) persona (and keeping their “shook” sensibilities at bay). But there’s no “halfway” engagement when “react[ion]s” between those of “no relation” are all this world asks of you. Moments of anxiety are nested within, manifested through questions of doubt (“do I deserve to live[?]”), motive (“thirsty for recognition”), and legitimacy (“I’mma live illegal”). Read against voyeuristic tendencies, the rub: “I’m creeping” beyond the “petty thinking” and watching you watching me.


Read more "“Shook Ones, Pt. II” (Mobb Deep)"