Mobb Deep: Havoc and Prodigy – two decades strong

Havoc and Prodigy have been creating music together since they met as teenagers at the High School of Art and Design. Since then, they’ve dropped numerous albums, travelled the world several times over and have been involved in some pretty legendary rap beef. The feuding also made its way into the group, with the duo splitting for a brief hiatus in 2012 before reconciling to record and tour once again. And, in that way, the relationship between Havoc and Prodigy is one of the of the realest in the industry.

They’ve been creating together for over two decades since their beginnings in Queenbridge, Queens. From the hood dissertation that was The Infamous to releasing The Infamous Mobb Deep this year, it’s come full circle for Havoc and Prodigy. They’ve truly grown up together and have seen each other through both creative and personal growth. The split was very publicized, with verbal sparring over twitter and fans torn between sides.

It’s the type of rivalry we’ve all been in at some point in another, with those that we share a rarified relationship with, where true feelings aren’t masked behind false words. These types of relationships are the strongest because they can withstand the depth and complexity of us as humans, and the only ones which will reveal the sometimes brutal truths we need to face. For Havoc and Prodigy, their hiatus was a chance to focus completely on them as individual artists, and when they reunited a year later (as many predicted they would) they came back with tenacity, recording and touring with a renewed sense of passion and loyalty too Mobb Deep. It’s a clarity you can only reach after having had some strife.

We saw them perform together to a packed house, a testament to the reach of Mobb Deep since their first album. It was clear as soon as the first two bars of Shook Ones Part II came blaring through the speakers, Mobb Deep is forever.

Mobb Deep celebrates 20 years in the game

In 1995, Mobb Deep released the “Shook Ones Part II” and it became an instant classic.

The atmosphere and timing was right for it, with Nas releasing Illmatic the year before. Illmatic shined a light on life in the housing projects of Brooklyn, where everyone was packed in like sardines. Right away, it seemed like each borough was firing off an answer to Illmatic and for the the people of Queens, Mobb Deep’s “Shook Ones” was an anecdotal account of the too real tragedies occurring each day.

Although Mobb Deep has a storied history in rap music, both together and with Havoc and Prodigy’s respective solo careers, “Shook Ones” will forever remain a key cornerstone when we study the culture of hip hop music. The song was immediately denounced as violent and gritty, which it was by Mobb’s own admission, but it contained a sort of first hand testimony to the pernicious nature of being a black male, post-crack in New York City.

To speak on violence, without glamourizing it, is one of the strong suits of Mobb Deep, and something that’s been in music lately. Havoc and Prodigy have been going strong since their reconciliation last year and have been touring to sort of commemorate the legacy they created back in ’94.

We’ve got some video coming up of their performance together next.TheScreenGirls_MobbDeep4TheScreenGirls_MobbDeep1 Continue reading