For die-hard Mobb Deep fans, it really doesn't matter if the Mobb are signed to G-Unit Records or Sugar Hill Records, as long as Havoc and Prodigy maintain their grisly sound and fast-lane-living-inspired lyrics on their next project, Blood Money.
So when word got out that the Mobb were not following their usual MO of artist autonomy, and that they were letting their new label's CEO, 50 Cent, have a huge hand in determining the direction of their new album, some were questioning if Hav and P. would be the same.
"It made me feel good 'cause people is talking," Havoc said at his team's Queens, New York, studio. Prodigy was sitting right next to him, along with their new artists 40 Glocc and Nice. "Now they waiting to hear what we coming with. If they thought that [we'd sound different], it's not gonna be that. It's gonna be the Mobb. When we was having the meetings with Fif initially [about signing to G-Unit], he was like, 'Just do what y'all do and I'll do what I do,' as far as the marketing and promotion, getting us into the spotlight. He never tried to change us. We never worried about trying to change to fit our new team. That would have never happened."
Leave it to Prodigy to be way more blunt when addressing the doubters. "We can't do nothing else but keep it Mobb," he said. "That's it."
The Mobb Deep and G-Unit alliance seems to go deeper than just business — a true kinship and pledge of loyalty have been forged. Prodigy has the words "G-Unit" tattooed on his right hand and 50 has "Mobb Deep" tatted on his wrist (click here for photos). Fif also gave both Mobb members new Porsches when the ink dried on their contracts. The two sides knew right off the bat that things would work.
"Even before we signed, when [our signing was just] up in the air, he sent us two tracks, which happened to be 'Outta Control' and the other one was 'A Party,' " Havoc said. "We knocked those out. It was an ill feeling, 'cause we hadn't signed yet and he sent us songs and we was bangin' them out."
Before the tandem signed to G-Unit last spring (see "50 Cent Wants To Sign Mobb Deep, M.O.P. To G-Unit Records"), they had 10 new tracks already recorded. Upon signing, they worked with 50 and came up with 20 more before going on the Anger Management Tour over the summer. In the past few months, they've completed an additional 20 tracks, bringing the total number to a fitting 50 songs.
"He picked a lot of beats," P. said of 50 Cent. "It was a 50/50 thing on the beats. A lot of beats he picked were hot."
"So here we are, still doing the same thing, but with a better team," Havoc added.
Mobb's Blood Money comes out on March 21 and features cameos from several members of the G-Unit. The first single is called "Put Them in Their Place"; other tracks on the album include a record with 50 Cent called "Pearly Gates" and one produced by Dr. Dre called "Nightmares." ("Working with Dre, as you can imagine, is ill," Havoc said with a smile. "It's that Dre darkness.")
Prodigy offered little explanation for how they came up with the album title, other than saying, "All money is blood money."