Havoc and Prodigy. The Infamous Mobb Deep. One of my favorite groups of all time. That Infamous album is spine tingling. Queensbridge housing projects. The place where stars are born. A place where crack sales used to be big business, where cheeba rode the ether like a pro surfer, and yellow tre-bags littered the pissy back staircases.
The first time I met Havoc, he was a graffiti writer who called himself “Nal.” This was in the late 1980s. He was tight with my boy Ron, who wrote DMC (as in “Ron DMC.” LOL). Ron was from QB as well; we went to high school together—Bryant, in Woodside, Queens—and Nal was his little man. Havoc wound up hustling with another cat we wrote with, another QB resident who wrote “Creo.” The first time I met Nal we went to paint trains at the 36th Avenue layup—or for the non-initiated, the middle track where they parked the trains on the elevated N (formerly RR) line.
Havoc has always been creative. He was that deadly mix between the realities of Queens Bridge and the complexities of a gifted artist. I’d run into Havoc years later when he started the group Mobb Deep with Prodigy, who was from Hempstead, Long Island. They’d met at the High School of Art & Design. Two artistically-inclined black youths who were looking for a way to channel and hone their creativity.
Mobb Deep says that they’re on hiatus now. And Havoc has said some greasy things about Prodigy lately. Havoc’s new song is called “Separated (Real From Fake)”; feels to me like Hav is talkin’ greasy about Prodigy and that saddens me.
“You used to spit bars, now you just chirp like a lovebird/ and most of your album is for the lovebirds/ Son you wildin’/ I’ll keep it a thousand/ you tryin’ on blouses… ” Havoc barks on the track. I mean, who is he talkin’ about if he’s not talkin’ about Prodigy? It can’t be Big Noyd or Tragedy Khadafi or Capone or MC Shan or MC Lyte. (Lyte probably wears blouses.)
Havoc and Prodigy: should the Nation of Islam get involved here? We need you fellows back together, making “heavy metal for the black people.” Can that happen? Can we all get along… ? Please?