In Hip Hop crews have broken up, Groups have separated and have fell out over many issues. You can name them: EPMD, NWA, The Geto Boys, Tha Dogg Pound, The Diplomats, A Tribe Called Quest, The list goes on but nobody in a million years would ever think that the relationship of Albert(Prodigy) Johnson and Kejuan(Havoc) Muchita would suffer the same fate.
From the time these two linked up in the early 90s to constantly putting together some of the most groundbreaking albums that not only impacted the East Coast rap scene in the mid to late 90s but also changing hip hop period with their cold blooded ice pick style of music courtesy of the cornerstone dark production from Havoc and the murderous mixed with realism bars from Prodigy. The two have enjoyed major success from Gold releases such as The Infamous, Hell on Earth and their highest selling album to date Murda Muzik which officially made the group a household name among hip hop. But shortly things will change.
2001 would be the start of a decline for the duo musically and on the street level. Prodigy was the main one to fall victim to this as he would not only be the butt of the jokes courtesy of JayZ’s Takeover but he would also get dissed on Nas’s Built and Destroy which led to P getting dissed on two of the years biggest albums which was a huge credibility shot. Lets not forget Prodigy getting robbed and suffering a musical decline in flow as evident on Infamy.
The Infamy album while had a couple of bangers and some hit records received a lukewarm reception from die hard fans who felt the duo didn’t deliver enough of that street music to digest. Havoc stepped up his lyrical game throughout Infamy and tried to experiment with a new style which no one should knock but it just didn’t stick like their previous releases
From Free Agents to Jive
Prodigy’s bars took a turn for the worst throughout this time and once again relied on Havoc to carry him throughout that album. The group suffered a setback when Loud went under but their brand was still solid enough to stand on their own and be a power player in the game. This according to Prodigy is where the relationship started to have conflict because Prodigy wanted to remain Independent while Havoc felt that Mobb Deep under a Indie would make the group look small time. They would have arguments about the direction and eventually agreed to sign to Jive which turned out to be a move for the worst.
Mobb would have problems adapting to their new home at Jive. This was the first time that they weren’t a huge focus point of a label and the pressure was on to really compete with their new label mates which was added more pressure. This wasn’t the home of Xzibit, Big Pun, Raekwon the Chef, and the Alhaholiks. This was the home of Britney Spears, R.Kelly, Justin Timberlake, and home of mostly pop acts which led to constant headaches with their creativity and a slowly building issue on the relationship between Havoc and Prodigy.
Amerikkkas Nightmare suffered the same fate as Infamy. They tried to hop on the Lil Jon wave which ended up becoming a wasted gamble because it was a obvious attempt to cater to the South. The album had a few good hard hitting gems that we knew and loved from the Mobb(Mainly When You hear Dat and Get it Twisted) but it was clear that the album lacked a serious focus and was made as a clear attempt to please their label. Amerikka’s Nightmare did solid numbers despite it being critically a disappointment due to their core supporting them but it stalled due to Jive pulling the plug on the project
Signing to G-Unit
After being released from Jive, Mobb found themselves as Free Agents again. The Music was still hard hitting and edgy to where they were hoping another label was gonna understand their sound and capitalize it. Mobb like many acts suffered from label politics to where they tried to turn them into something that their really not instead of letting these guys put out the material that they know gonna reach the masses. Prodigy and Havoc once again butted heads about the direction of the group around this time period(As revealed in P’s book). Prodigy got tired of hoping from label to label and wanted to establish the Mobb Deep brand as something to stand on its on so they can receive more royalties off their music. Havoc disagreed and felt that being on a Indie would once again make them look small time.
They went label shopping from 2005-2006 and made a shocking choice to sign with 50 Cent’s G-Unit which may have looked like a perfect move because it gives them a chance to really exploit their creativity and say what they want to say without some out of touch A&R trying to harness their sound.
Even though both Havoc and Prodigy bragged about receiving Porsches and alot of promotion off inking this deal. What this move still proved is that did make Mobb Deep look small time in the long run. Not only were they signed veteran artists and working for a guy who’s younger than them and blew up faster than them but also the same guy that literally dissed them on his venomous diss record Piggybank. Getting G-unit tattoos didn’t do anything to dissolve the criticism. Especially with Prodigy saying outlandish stuff such as “50 Cent saved me, Not Jesus Christ”
On the hindsight 50 did alot of good for them by giving them alot of promotion and not throwing them under the bus like many labels would. They got alot of publicity off being on Eminem’s Anger Management Tour, Being on 50’s Get Rich or Die Trying soundtrack, and having a platform to really reach the masses. But it proved to be a creditability hit with the album doing 300K plus and becoming the butt of the jokes in 50’s next vendetta with Camron.
Tensions mount and beef escalates
According to Prodigy, Havoc’s alcoholism problem worsened after they got signed to G-Unit and felt uninspired to really work. The two would focus more on their solo albums and then would perform their material together to show that there weren’t no serious tension but eventually after years of trying to suppress it.
People knew of Hav and Prodigys relationship becoming more distant within every passing year but there were no serious acknowledgement of it until the release of Prodigy’s Autobiography the Infamous life where he talks about his life, the music business, beefs, and his up and down relationship with Havoc.Prodigy revealed that he felt abandoned by Havoc since Havoc never visited him in prison and talked about leaving Mobb Deep and going solo.
Soon as the book hit stores, It sparked a bunch of controversy. there were times where Many people didn’t like what was said about them in the context and took offense which possibly was the spark that was needed for this quietly kept situation to explode. It wasn’t until Tweets from Havoc’s Twitter account started surfacing where Havoc was calling out Prodigy and threatened to expose him for being a homosexual and a snitch. This is where it officially revealed that it was beef in Mobb Deep and after denying it, Havoc came clean and admitted the tweets did come from him.
The inner beef took a turn for the worst when Havoc sent diss records at Prodigy’s direction titled Separate the Real from the Fake and Same Shit Different Day. Havoc would also do interviews along with former members of the crew airing out his former partner in crime which showed that this was a real serious issue and within a short period the 18 year legacy of the group was destroyed.
The forever shit talking, beef happy Prodigy was surprisingly silent throughout this whole ordeal. Could it be that what Havoc is saying have some merit or is Prodigy just taking the high road and not trying to damage the already tarnished brand of Mobb Deep? Prodigy despite having his manhood and dignity challenged by the former crew members refuses to acknowledge it and focused more on work since living prison. After releasing the HNIC 3, The Bumpy Johnson EP along with a mixtape. He’s also working on a Murda Muzik 2 movie, A album with Alchemist titled Albert Enstein and still doing guest apperances on different albums. So its probably safe to say that P has probably been the one keeping the brand alive.
The two took a picture together weeks ago claiming the beef was squash and that their gonna go on tour and possibly a album. Its possibly hard to believe that this is truly genuine considering the bad blood but it seems that a this is a business move because they make more money together than they do solo. Whatever the reason being behind the reconciliation, Its clear that things will never be the same between these two and their vendetta tarnished what could have been a legendary brand that stood out in the midst of music.