Havoc: Lost Art

For a producer whose dark grooves helped define New York Hip-Hop’s aural landscape in the 90s, Havoc’s recent presence in the rap game has been underwhelming. The 34-year-old MC/producer displeased many fans two years ago when his long overdue solo venture, The Kush, came and went with dubious results. With his “other half” of the […]

For a producer whose dark grooves helped define New York

Hip-Hop’s aural landscape in the 90s, Havoc’s recent presence in the rap game

has been underwhelming. The 34-year-old MC/producer displeased many fans two

years ago when his long overdue solo venture, The Kush, came and went with dubious results. With his “other half”

of the infamous Mobb Deep in the penitentiary, Mobb Deep’s status in the game appeared bleak, and once

die-hard fans started to find comfort in other acts.


But this winter, hopefully all that is set to change thanks

to Hidden Files, the second solo

album from Havoc. Rumbling drums and sinister samples accompanied by thun language, Hidden Files provides a solid list of

murda muzik for any Mobb Deep fan to enjoy. That doesn’t mean Hidden Files is

flawless. Unlike many other musicians, Havoc finds faults in his own projects

and openly addresses the issue.


Yet, it’s difficult to speak to Havoc just about music when

his name is constantly mentioned amongst controversial Hip-Hop figures (most

notably his partner, Prodigy). Regardless of his affiliations, though, the

rapper from Queensbridge has survived in the game for

more than a decade. Does Havoc still have “a criminal mind thirsty for

recognition”? Let us find out. 




What’s the general idea behind this album?


Havoc: I’ve been

dealing with Koch for about two years. They got mad that I had a deal prior to

them with Nature Sounds. So they’re asking me to dead the contract. Initially,

I said, “F**k it.” But they came back to me and said, “We still want to do the

album.” And they wanted something fast. So I was like, “Let me go through my

files and go through some old s**t that I can put together.” Koch was trying to

make a n***a do commercial songs. I feel them and all

that, but these songs were meant for my core audience and if I get some cents

out of it, so be it.


Watch Me – Havoc



Commercial song as in “Watch Me”?


Havoc: They did a

song and put auto-tunes on the hook. I don’t have

anything against Auto-Tune but that’s not Havoc. A lot of bloggers got heated

at me. They think I’m co-signing that s**t. Nah, I’m not a trend chaser. I

appreciate Koch giving me the opportunity. At the same time you have to

understand there are certain things I just don’t do.


AllHipHop.com: So

basically you’re not satisfied with that track.


Havoc: No, not at

all! When people rush a project and they throw it to the press, s**t gets set

in stones. And I heard the track last minute. I was like, “What the f**k is

this?” Yeah, I did it, but without the auto-tunes. When they threw that

auto-tune s**t I was like, “They try to body a n***a’s

career!” So when I saw the blog, I couldn’t get mad at the people blogging

against it. Because I felt like jumping on the blog and be like, “I feel you my

n***a!” I got the utmost respect for Koch, but like I say about any label, you

just got to be on top of your s**t.


Havoc “Heart of the Grind” Video





Was that the reason you decided to put, “Heart of the Grind” as the first single? And was Koch satisfied with you doing that?


Havoc: I don’t

know if they were satisfied, but I know I was. Because I thought, “I need to

put out a song to cover the stumble.” And I got to go to the extreme of

something way opposite of what is out today. People say, “The song sounds old.”

Exactly! It’s old.


AllHipHop.com: Then

would you consider this as unreleased materials instead of an actual album?


Havoc: It has my

name on it; it’s going to be marked as an official album for me. But me as an

artist wise? It’s not an album for me. It’s just the music I want to give my

core audience. And my other half is locked up so…


AllHipHop.com: Do

you ever go upstate to see Prodigy?


Havoc: When I

went to go see him, I f**ked up and I left my ID home. And they don’t let you

up there when you lose your ID. But that’s my n***a for

life, and I’m going to go see him. Everybody could look at it anyways they

want, but him and me we just have a different relationship.


AllHipHop.com: So

do you correspond with him through the phone?


Havoc: Yeah, we

do that, and through the mail.



How’s he doing? Does he tell you what he’s doing inside?


Havoc: He just

tells me that he be bored. He wants to hurry up and get home because he misses

the studio. When I spoke to him, he just told me he’s thinking about a lot of

s**t he wants to do when he gets home.


AllHipHop.com: Does

anyone from G-Unit visit him?


Havoc: From what

I understand, Yayo visited him. 50 visited him.


AllHipHop.com: Have

you been keeping it touch with everybody in G-Unit?


Havoc: Yeah, they

call me on the regular. I’m still doing beats and production with them. I go to

50’s crib, or I meet them at the office. I might meet them somewhere out of



AllHipHop.com: I

realized there are no G-Unit members featured on this album.


Havoc: It’s a

Koch product, and G-Unit and Koch are not the best of friends. I wanted to put

some of them from G-Unit on there, but I couldn’t because of Koch.



But aren’t you still under G-Unit records?


Havoc: I’m on

G-Unit records as Mobb Deep. But 50 gave us the

leverage to go independently wherever we want to go. At the time when I did the

deal with Koch, I didn’t know it was that kind of conflict.




AllHipHop.com: So

what happened with the deal with Nature Sounds?


Havoc: The

project with Nature Sounds came out. But Koch re-emerged and said, “Look, we

still want to do it.” I was supposed to do another album with Nature Sounds but

they lost their distribution. So the contract had to be voided.


AllHipHop.com: I

think The Kush really didn’t get the

attention it should have gotten. Why did you decided to go with “I’m the Boss”

as the single?


Havoc: Sometimes

you come to some weird f**king compromise with these labels. No disrespect to

Nature Sounds, but how long have Nature Sounds been a label? I could run a

label better than most of these independent labels. These independent labels

they offer you a cut, get you the material, and you don’t speak to them

anymore. The relationship isn’t even built with them. The next thing you know,

this s**t is already e-mail blasted as a single that you didn’t even approve

of. I’m like, “I want to do the song to the hardest s**t on the album.” And

they say, “The radio spins…” And then you started thinking, “Word, the radio

spins…” And then you become a victim. But right now I don’t give a f**k because I’m going to do my numbers regardless.





That’s funny because Mobb Deep always did well with

the hardest tracks in the album.


Havoc: Exactly!

When you try to make a radio song? That s**t backfires.



Was Tragedy Khadafi involved in this album?


Havoc: Nah, not

at all. He’s currently locked up. I don’t know the particular, but he got like

three or four years.



Damn. Well, did you hear Joe Budden’s diss song that recently released against Prodigy?


Havoc: I heard

about it, but I haven’t heard the track.



What’s your thought on the situation?


Havoc: I think

Joe Budden’s feelings are hurt, that’s why he’s

saying that. He wasn’t saying things about n****s before; when P says something

he’s now all up on that. N****s just need to man up. If a

n***a is voicing his opinion against you, don’t cry about it.



According to Prodigy’s comments in an WorldStarHipHop diatribe, he stated, “Who’s the worst

rapper on the planet? I think Joe Budden is on that

line.” What’s your opinion of Joe Budden?


Havoc: I never

had too much of an opinion of Joe Budden. That’s not

saying he’s wack or he’s dope. I just see him as a

fellow rapper trying to do his thing. I’m about making money, and making sure

my s**t sounds good.





Right, but at the same time in your career as Mobb

Deep there has been many points where you dealt with beefs.


Havoc: It depends

on when somebody comes at me. If I think speaking against something is worth

it, then I speak against it.


AllHipHop.com: I

see. Well, it’s been many years since the Jay-Z situation sparked. What’s your

status with Jay-Z now?


Havoc: I never

had a problem with Jay-Z. That was something P addressed. And I stood by him as

P addressed it. That’s my homie going in at somebody

and I’m not going to see my homie get pounded out. In

all actuality, I could appreciate Jay-Z’s business savvy and his contribution

to Hip-Hop. I might not agree with everything he might have said but it was

nothing to me. If Jay-Z had a problem with me, so be it. But he’s not thinking

about me. I don’t think he’s thinking about a lot of people.


AllHipHop.com: So

would you hop on a track with him?


Havoc: If

business opportunity ever came up, and the money is right? I’ll do it. 


AllHipHop.com: So

do you do anything besides music?


Havoc: Right now

I’m currently trying to dive into scoring movies, working on my label called

Strategy Music. I mean you really have to do this hard man.



Well, then what are your thoughts on a lot of rappers making more video blogs

than music?


Havoc: They do

what they do, and I do what I do. But you know what bugs me man? When dudes are

rapping but they actually claim they’re not a rapper. It confuses me. What do

you mean I’m not a rapper? But you’re rapping though! You trying to front like

getting money other ways. Oh! You’re doing this for fun. But it seems like

you’re going pretty hard though. Stop fronting man! Or maybe you’re not a

rapper and maybe you need to stop. You’re just taking up space! You don’t see

NBA players with a basketball going, “I’m not a basketball player.”





You have this new Infamous Instrumental

CD coming out; don’t you think it’s a little too late?


Havoc: I think

you need to talk to the label about that. They probably have a think tank like,

“How could we make some more money? Oh! Let’s put out an Infamous Instrumental!” You see back then, they took the masters so

they could do whatever they want to. So I don’t have any control over that.


AllHipHop.com: I

guess they decided to put it out before people completely stop buying albums.


Havoc: It’s real

sad, with Virgin Megastore shutting down in Manhattan. I think in five years,

all record shops are going to shut down.





Then do you still go crate dig for samples?


Havoc: I still

dig, and I still use samples. People got problem with samples, but I could tell

you this: 90 to 95 percent of the music that you hear out today derived from a

sample. I just hate it when certain producers say, “Oh, I don’t sample.” No,

really? You just f**king invented a wheel?


AllHipHop.com: Is

there a specific track on the album that you would say, “Damn, I flipped that

s**t real nicely!”


Havoc: Well, I

think the people are going to judge it for themselves. I like them all; they’re

all my pieces of work.






Not the auto-tune though.