Prodigy and Alchemist: Koch Me if You Can

2006 was a year of hits and misses for Mobb Deep. On one hand, their deal with G-Unit shot their creative energy through the roof, and the buzz behind Blood Money was arguably their greatest promotional effort since their classic release, The Infamous. But at the same time, Blood Money is also regarded as one […]

2006 was a year of hits and misses for Mobb Deep. On one hand, their deal with G-Unit shot their creative energy through the roof, and the buzz behind Blood Money was arguably their greatest promotional effort since their classic release, The Infamous.

But at the same time, Blood Money is also regarded as one of the group’s biggest flops to date. For the first time since their studio debut, Juvenile Hell, The Mobb failed to go gold in the US. Until very recently, it seemed fans and critics alike have abandoned the Queensbridge duo in droves.

Enter “Mac 10 Handle,” the first single off of Prodigy and Alchemist’s forthcoming mixtape on Koch Records. The YouTube only video has received hundreds of thousands of views since its debut, solidifying a buzz that could very well surpass the failed expectations for Blood Money. With an Alchemist-only mixtape and a sequel to H.N.I.C. dropping soonafter, 2007 could very well be Mobb Deep’s chance to pick up the pieces their G-Unit debut left behind. Whether he realizes it or not, many fans are eagerly awaiting the outcome of his first project without Havoc behind the boards. Time will tell—very soon—how it will turn out. This is going to be the first time that you’ll make a whole CD without Havoc producing it. What made you come to the decision to just use Alchemist for beats?

Prodigy: Me and Al have been working together on my solo album, so we came up with the idea for a mixtape called Return of the Mac to get people ready for my album again. We came up with the ill concept to just use old style beats. The title Return of The Mac means we gotta find them old Blaxploitation beats.

Alchemist: We were like, let’s come up with this mixtape that we could just bang out on the street because people are still sleeping on the Mobb [Deep Blood Money] album. It wasn’t like, Hav, me and P are going to do an album. Once we finished it, I made sure it sounded complete from beginning to end. There was no pressure because it wasn’t like me and P were making an album, it was more of me and P making a mixtape before H.N.I.C. 2 comes out. Something’s that noteworthy is you’re releasing both of these CDs on Koch. What’s up with your G-Unit affiliation? Did you run this by 50?

Prodigy: G-Unit is still poppin’. Mobb Deep is still on G-Unit. 50 wants us to go out there and make a lot of money. 50 let us do our thing and do our solo projects on the side to get our independent money. He was like, “I ain’t gonna stop y’all from eating.” We gonna get our independent money up, you know what I’m saying? It was revealed recently that Havoc signed his own independent deal—with a label smaller than Koch. Did he not want to sign with Koch? Did the other label offer him more money?

Prodigy: I mean, it’s different strokes for different folks, you know what I’m saying? He wants to get his money over there, I want to get my money over here. That’s just how it goes. Koch offered me a whole bunch of money. They’re very excited to have the next H.N.I.C. album. It’s gonna be one of the biggest releases on Koch. 50 and Banks have both dissed Koch. I interviewed Banks and he was dissing Koch, saying rappers on their way out go independent; 50 has dropped verses where he’s dissed rappers on Koch. How do you explain that parallel, you know what I mean?

Prodigy: We dissed Koch before. Everybody dissed Koch. This ain’t our first time dealing with Koch; they did Free Agents with us, they did Alchemist’s first album, you know what I’m saying? We’re used to being on Koch. I know how they work and they know how we work. 50 dissed Koch, that’s cool. That doesn’t mean that we have to stop dealing with Koch. At the end of the day, labels like Koch aren’t going to stop offering big money to people like Prodigy and Alchemist because 50 dissed them. Would you say you’ll make at least as much money [on Koch] as you did off of Blood Money?

Prodigy: It depends, ya nahmean? Money is still coming in from Blood Money. Money is still coming from this s**t too. You never know, I’m gonna see at the end of the day. It’s too early to tell right now. What if you sold more on Koch than you did on G-Unit? What would that mean to you?

Prodigy: That would mean that I’m doing I’m doing a good job as a solo artist. [Laughs] But could it mean that you would want to stay independent?

Prodigy: No. I would still do my Mobb Deep albums on G-Unit. Everything would still be the same. It wouldn’t change anything. In the past year, you’ve dropped some very, very controversial verses, as you know. On “Pearly Gates”, you rapped about trying to beat up Jesus. On “Mac 10 Handle”, you rapped about being high on drugs and scheming on people. How much of this direction is shock value? Or, is it something else?

Prodigy: Everything I say is from my heart. It’s from my mind. Do you ever feel a responsibility to younger fans, who might be impressionable to what they hear?

Prodigy: I’m far from a role-model. If you follow me, you’re gonna be dead or in jail. If [the lyrics] end up making lots of money, it’s smart. So, you think you can make money by any means necessary?

Prodigy: Eh, in a way, I guess you can say that. I’m a reckless person. I say s**t that makes sense. I don’t say s**t for the sake of saying it. Whatever I say has a meaning. I don’t say reckless s**t. I’m not one of those kind of artists who say reckless s**t because it sounds good. I say it because it makes sense and it has meaning to it. So, what’s the meaning behind being alone in your room, high on drugs, scheming on people?

Prodigy: That’s what n***as like me do. I said it, right? [Laughs] I be getting high, I be like, “I’ma kill that n***a. That n***a who was frontin’, yo, I’m a kill that n***a. I’m a blow his motherf**kin’ head off when I see that n***a.” Just because you don’t live that way, or other people don’t live that way, doesn’t mean that other people ain’t living like that. That’s what it is, homie. Everybody’s different. Everybody’s individual. Some people live the peaceful life. For others, s**t is rough. On one end, you seem to be living all right. But on the other end, your lyrics show that you have a lot of turmoil inside. You ever feel conflicted between the good side of things and the bad side of things?

Prodigy: I’ll tell you, the good comes with the bad. S**t comes with the territory. That’s it, man, you just gotta make smart decisions, whether you bust somebody’s head open or not. Sometimes busting somebody’s head open is the smart decision. Now P, back in the day, you had beef with Keith Murray, and you had a verse about how he almost got bucked for snuffing you in front of the cops. How does that relate to what you’re saying now, like, at what point do you hold back and say it? At what point do you act on what you rap about?

Prodigy: The same s**t I said back then, I’ll say it today. I ain’t change. Ain’t nothing change. It’s all the same man. Whoever I got beef with now, I’m gonna bust they head open when I see them. Straight up. I mean, but, my man, you ain’t always bust people’s heads open when you had beef with them. Right?

Prodigy: I mean, if I got the opportunity, yeah, that’s what I’m gonna do. If somebody tries to do it to me, I’m gonna do it to them first. I hear you. I hear you. You said that on The Infamous, “It’s all about who gets who first.” But, you ever feel like forgiving someone? Like, “Let me just move on,”?

Prodigy: Yeah, some people you can be like, “I can forgive him. But this person right here? He’s gonna get his head busted.” Blood Money was the first Mobb Deep album that didn’t go Gold in the US since Juvenile Hell. You got five videos off of it and you also had heavy airplay. But you still didn’t pass that Gold mark. What happened?

Prodigy: It could have been a lot of things. We could have made better songs, Interscope could have pushed it more. It could be a whole number of things. We don’t get stuck on “Why.” We just move onto the next thing. While everybody else is stuck on “Why, why, why,” we’re about to drop another album. In a recent XXL interview, you talked about how you, Al and Hav talk about how you have a love of Hip-Hop and how you just have a love for the music. There’s a whole bunch of MCs out making noise, like Saigon for example. What do you think about him?

Prodigy: I don’t like him. How come?

Prodigy: I don’t like nobody really. I’m biased. I only like Mobb Deep s**t. Everybody else could suck my d**k. What about Nas? What’s up with Nas?

Prodigy: We don’t f**k with him no more. You already know about that. So you and Nas aren’t on good terms no more?

Prodigy: Nah. I don’t f**k with that dude. That was Hav’s man, and even Hav don’t f**k with that n***a. So, what happened to the love then?

Prodigy: I don’t know. F**k that n***a. Move on to the next question. Al, is it ever weird that you have relationships with artists that P might even have beef with, or that he might not even like? What is that like?

Alchemist: I don’t have to like everybody P likes and P doesn’t have to like everybody Alchemist has to like. We don’t have to choose. My friendship with P is deep. I need a legitimate reason not to like someone. I’m not gonna be like, “You don’t like him? I don’t like him” That’s ignorant. Al, you’re from Beverly Hills, originally, right?

Alchemist: Yeah. Keep it real. You feel a little weird when you walk into QB, right? You feel a little nervous, right? Be honest.

Alchemist: Never. Nervous is the wrong word you’re using. I’m aware. I’m on point. I’m not nervous. A dog can sense a human being when he’s nervous, that’s why he barks at you. I don’t walk around there like I’m shook. I walk around there with my eyes wide open. I know about the grind. You don’t have to grow up in the hood to know about the hood. Some people who are not from the hood can be more street smart than the people in the hood….I go to QB, they love me. Half of the motherf**kers think I’m from QB. You’re right. So, yo, what’s up with the next Alchemist album?

Alchemist: It’s crazy. I can’t wait to put it out, but I’m just putting the finishing touches on it. It’s definitely coming out in 2007. P’s coming out first, March 27th with the mixtape. Shortly after that is going to be his album and I’m trying to figure out when I’m gonna drop mine and when he’s gonna drop his. Hav has an album coming out. It might be a point where we all have singles out at the same time, which is what we’re shooting for. We all got gangsta albums dropping at the same time.