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Mobb Deep:    Through The Years

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Prodigy: We started having kids during Hell on Earth. We started going harder, the seeds made it worse. We was already thirsty and hungry, but we was like, "Kids gotta eat."

Havoc: We was mad happy. We only sold 500,000 records, but back then, that was like going platinum. It was a happy atmosphere. It was like the whole block was cheering for us. We was officially in the hip-hop game. People [would] come up to us and want to be our friends. "Yo, what's up! You know you my n---a. You my dog!" I was tired of taking trains, so I bought me a little Camry, put some rims on it. I was still living on the block.

Prodigy: Once we did the Infamous album, we just snapped. We was in the zone. We ain't snapped out of it ever since. Same thing every album, that's how we feel. My favorite record off Hell on Earth was probably "Man Down."

Havoc: We tried to keep the same formula [as with The Infamous]: We went in there and tried to make nothing but hard joints. Our confidence level was really up.


Prodigy: I give it a 10-plus.

Havoc: I'm a little more critical. I give it an 8. When I was making the album, I realized it got darker than The Infamous. I didn't care. I didn't want to make nothing happy. Making that album, a couple of our friends died while we was in the studio. We got a phone call like, "It was bad car accident." Two of our friends were dead and one of them was a twin. That completely stopped everything. There was no way you could keep working. [That incident] had a subconscious effect. It was like our peoples would want us to go on, but this is life, n---as is gone, n---as is dying.

Havoc: What did [this album] take, three years? We probably did 100 songs. We was wilding, partying, drinking. I don't know why it took so long.

Prodigy: We was wilding, son. We was on a rampage, straight-up. I was living in Brooklyn and [Long Island].

Havoc: I had just moved out of the projects. I felt like, "I have to do something with my money. Let me get a crib, let me turn into an adult."

Prodigy: We spent about two and half million [dollars] recording the album.

Havoc: I don't even remember why we spent so much. They built a whole new wing of the studio just off our budget. Sometimes we would go in the studio and not even work.

Prodigy: I was ordering Pampers off the studio budget. N---as was ordering milk, going home with groceries.

Havoc: The record company don't care. They want you to spend so you have to pay them back. They want you to owe. Picture a record company telling you you're spending too much — nowadays they might tell you that, but back then, it was like, "Go 'head. What you need? Take all the cars you want." They make it seem like it's free. Then you get an invoice and be like, "What? That ride to Connecticut — you charging me for that?"


Havoc: It's our biggest-selling record ever. I give it a 10 because "Quiet Storm" became a hip-hop classic and it took us so long to come out with the album. It could have gone either way — you know, in rap, the fans change all the time. When you take a long time, they might forget about you. At that time, [Roc-A-Fella] was coming up and everything. We came and threw "Quiet Storm" in there and we were back up in the game.

Prodigy: I definitely give it a 10.

Prodigy: We was making Murder Muzik at the same time [I recorded H.N.I.C.] I was getting more business-minded. I was growing and maturing as a man. I stopped drinking and smoking on that album. That sh-- made me feel like Superman. I was wilding out in my verses, especially on "Keep It Thoro." I addressed my sickle cell anemia [on "You Can Never Feel My Pain" — Prodigy has suffered from the disease for his entire life]. That affected me a lot.

Rating: I was getting a good response from people. I would give that record a 7 or 8.

NEXT: '50 was talking about the [new] album being a classic. It feels good to please the boss.' ...
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