A throwback to the time when hip-hop albums paired a single emcee with a single producer, Return of the Mac features Mobb Deep's Prodigy on the mic and Alchemist on the boards. The CD is pitched noir-black, and filled out with themes of muted desire and urban decay. The meandering bass line of "Rotten Apple" cradles Prodigy's declarations that "New York taught me there's no mercy/ I'm so thirsty," and recalls Mobb Deep's glory days. "Mac 10 Handle" finds Prodigy alone, stoned and armed, contemplating enemies both real and imagined. Like much of the CD, it's harrowing and endlessly compelling.