Oliver Wang at the LARB:
IN THE FALL of 1994, American radio and club DJs began receiving a promotional single in the mail: “Shook Ones, Pt. II,” by the Queens rap duo Mobb Deep. Those early promos came with little fanfare — no cover art, no liner notes, just a plain center sticker with the group’s name, song title, and record label logo. The reaction to “Shook Ones, Pt. II” was as spectacular as its arrival was understated. Its dark, discordant track and violent braggadocio powered the single onto hip-hop mix shows, and the song sparked fights in rowdier nightclubs whenever it rumbled over the speakers. Eminem’s hit 2002 film 8 Mile paid “Shook Ones, Pt. II” the ultimate homage by using it in the film’s cold open, a shot of auditory adrenaline jabbed into the heart of B-Rabbit as he prepares for an MC battle.
A quarter century later, “Shook Ones, Pt. II” and its associated album The Infamous, Mobb Deep’s second LP, are now embraced as consensus classics from hip-hop’s “golden era” of the early/mid-1990s.