- Mobb Deep: Havoc, Prodigy (vocals).
- Additional personnel: Big Noyd, Crystal Johnson (vocals), Tony Smalios (programming).
- Producers: Mobb Deep (tracks 1, 3-4, 8-13, 15-16); The Abstract (tracks 6-7, 14).
- Engineers: Louis Alfred III (tracks 1, 7-8, 11, 13, 15-16); Tim Latham (tracks 3-4, 6, 14); Dino Zerros (track 9); Mobb Deep, Tony Smalios (track 10).
- All songs written or co-written by A. Johnson and K. Muchita except "Just Step Prelude" (A. Johnson/T. Perry). Samples include "That's Alright With Me" (Ester Phillips), "Where There Is Love" (as performed by Patrice Rushen), "You Are My Starship" (as performed by Norman Connors) and "I Remember I Made You Cry" (as performed by The Headhunters).
- Before their Loud/RCA debut THE INFAMOUS, Mobb Deep's Havoc and Prodigy were introduced to the hip-hop nation on 1993's JUVENILE HELL, portraying their own brand of the "Trife Life." Image and hardships aside, a lot has changed since then, particularly their music which has naturally matured as the pair have grown older, bolder and wiser.
- THE INFAMOUS is a rugged ride through the truths and terrors of these two Big Apple outlaws, with cuts like "Right Back At You" and "Cradle To The Grave" stinging the minds of its listeners. This time around Mobb Deep play with the background tracks a little more, having self-produced virtually the entire album. The lead-off single, "Shook Ones Pt. II," blew up tremendously, first in the underground and then on the charts; its killer lyrics and hypnotizing beat pounded a warning into the heads of the masses to stay real. "Survival Of The Fittest" and "Up North Trip" both describe the hectic streets of New York as a war zone where the constant struggle is to stay alive. Mobb Deep join forces with two of rap's most intense lyricists, Nas and the Wu-Tang Clan's Raekwon, on "Eye For A Eye (Your Beef Is Mine)." Adding to the all-star cast, Q-Tip donates an abstract feel to a few tracks and makes his cameo appearance on "Drink Away The Pain (Situations)," a clever track dedicated to an unlikely first love.
- Mobb Deep come correct throughout the album, once again proving that while rap may be just a music, hip-hop is a way of life. Score another point for the crews of Queensbridge, as THE INFAMOUS enters that 'hood's Hall Of Fame right next to Nas' ILLMATIC.
- Audio Mixers: Tony Smallos; Abstract; Mobb Deep.
- Recording information: Battery Studios, New York, NY; Firehouse Studios, Brooklyn, NY; Platinum Island Recording Studios, New York, NY; Unique Recording Studio, New York, NY.
- Mobb Deep's sophomore effort turned out to be a career-defining moment for the Queensbridge duo. Two years post-JUVENILE HELL, THE INFAMOUS saw Havoc and Prodigy turn considerably harder, spinning aggressive tales of paranoid crime drama and firmly establishing Loud Records as a label to be reckoned with. The Queensbridge housing projects as portrayed from the Mobb's late-teenage point of view is a violent maze populated by stick-up kids and fiends; a place where life is trife, liquor is poured out daily for dead comrades, police are the enemy, and childhood friends turn snitch. Havoc's no-frills East Coast production provides the perfect backdrop for the murky subject matter. Every song is a classic, packed with thug-life quotables which inspired dozens of subsequent street anthems and an array of imitators. Big Noyd, Nas, Q-Tip, Raekwon, and Ghostface Killah make up the guest-list.
Rolling Stone (11/16/95, p.113) - 3.5 Stars - Good - "...a darkly nihilistic masterpiece. Call it the CLOCKWORK ORANGE of gansta-rap records, in which violent, unsupervised teenagers roam the streets..."
Spin (8/95, p.92) - 9 - Near Perfect - "...state-of-the-art East Coast reportage: drug-selling, police-fleeing, and homie-dying vignettes, all told with vivid detail and a deadpan thousand-yard flow....If only to clock a stunning panoply of mike skills, THE INFAMOUS is indispensible..."
Entertainment Weekly (5/5/95, p.71) - "...Over mostly self-produced, bare-bones beats, the pair's hard-edged rhymes paint a chilling picture of life on their mean streets....Underground rap-heads--and those who can break away from Jeep beats--will rejoice..." - Rating: B+
Vibe (6/95, p.127) - "...Despite the fact that the album has more cameos than WHO'S THE MAN, the focus stays on Mobb Deep. While describing their lives with brutal realism and raw imagery, Havoc's love for his hometown hits you in the head like a Mike Tyson comeback punch..."
The Source (6/95, p.71) - 4.5 Mics - Superior - "...By favoring straightforward, near spoken-word deliveries over stylish vocal gymnastics, Mobb Deep earn credibility, winning the crucial battle between style and substance....reminiscent of a young Erick and Parrish..."
Melody Maker (12/23-30/95, pp.66-67) - Ranked #28 on Melody Maker's list of 1995's `Albums Of The Year.'
Melody Maker (7/1/95, p.40) - Bloody Essential - "...the kind of jaw-dropping innovation that makes a good hip hop LP make everything else sound pallid and emasculated by comparison...immaculate backing tracks, phat beats, sliding bass, always with at least one jarring mind-f*** element thrown in to really detonate the soundscape and your head..."
Rap Pages (8/95, p.28) - 8 - "...THE INFAMOUS...epitomizes `The Message' line for line with, at times, subliminal solutions to the problem of juvenile and postpuberty life in the projects as a young African male. It's transparently manifested that mainstream, commercial and racist Americans will never grasp the meaning of Mobb Deep's concealed stress..."
NME (Magazine) (7/1/95, p.48) - 8 (out of 10) - "...shuttering nitro beats and scratchy jazz samples cut back to reverberating piano chords and the odd squealing horn break. As rappers they bring the clipped, rolling style of a Rakim or EPMD, adding a chill menace to neighbourhood boasts like `Right Back At You' and `Eye For An Eye'..."