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Mobb Deep

Blood Money (Interscope)

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It's only May, but Mobb Deep is already looking tough to top in the race for Most Quotable Hip-Hop Line of 2006. Over the heavenly choirs of "Pearly Gates," Prodigy dismisses "religious bullshit" and threatens to beat "that nigga Jesus . . . for leavin' us in poverty and not watchin' over me." But the saddest thing about the Queensbridge duo's seventh album is that such a cheap piece of sacrilege is the only thing that could make anyone care about this mess.

That is, unless the idea of an average G-Unit album with one marginally better rapper sounds intriguing. It's hard to remember when Prodigy and Havoc were hip-hop Scorseses, crafting cinematic views of New York's underbelly. Now they're merely yes-men for 50 Cent (who's all over this disc to protect his investment, natch). Knee-deep in backstage groupies and bling, Hav and P are reduced to fronting Fiddy leftovers like "Give It to Me," a pathetic rewrite of "Candy Shop" that sounds like the soulless Mobb hit these guys deserve. What's dunn is evidently done, sold out for this worthless Blood Money.

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