Amid the burgeoning mid-'90s hardcore rap scene, Queensbridge duo Mobb Deep towered above their peers, instantly canonized for their influential, trendsetting The Infamous album. The duo, comprised of Prodigy and Havoc, initially began as just another hardcore rap act, a role the two youths actually typecast themselves as on their rudimentary debut album, Juvenile Hell (1993), and their breakthrough album, The Infamous (1995). The startling latter became a touchstone album among the hardcore rap community, driven by the song "Shook Ones, Pt. 2," a time-tested anthem.
Mobb Deep became widely known from coast to coast for its hellishly lyrical depiction of New York street life in Queensbridge, the rough housing project the duo called home. Mobb Deep's production style also became widely known, driven by haunting melodies and hard-hitting beats, the bleak aural equivalent of the duo's sullen rhymes. By the end of the decade, Mobb Deep's Murda Muzik debuted at number three on the Billboard album chart, exemplifying exactly how far the duo had come without compromising their harsh approach. Soon after attaining this commercial zenith, Mobb Deep's street credibility suffered a blow by Jay-Z in 2001 on the song "Takeover." Yet Prodigy and Havoc bounced back, not by retaliating as Nas had, but by scoring their biggest crossover hit yet, "Hey Luv (Anything)."