Representing: Mobb Deep
Independent Album: H.N.I.C. 2
411: If we have the technology to increase a woman's bra size to a D cup, even though she was born to have a pair of As (shout out to "Double A" Arn Anderson), people shouldn't be surprised that we have the technology to make Prodigy's voice rap in Chinese, even though he's not bilingual. His new album, H.N.I.C. 2, is the first LP that will be available in over 1,400 languages.
"Voice translation," Prodigy said of Voxonic, a machine that can copy the tone of his voice rapping and reproduce it in just about any language. "When I heard it, I was like, 'That's not real.' I couldn't believe it. That's crazy."
But the only language we Mobb Deep allegiants really want to hear is the Dunn language. Last week in New York, Prodigy gave a farewell concert, in which he performed both of his solo opuses, as he prepared to go to jail for anywhere between one and three years. P said that besides his kids, the person who is probably taking his sentence the worst is his partner, Havoc.
"Hav feels like he's getting locked up," P said. "Me and Hav have never been apart for more than two weeks, probably three. We never let three weeks go past without us in the studio working on a new song — new Mobb Deep song, new Prodigy song, new Hav, whatever — in our entire career! ... It's definitely something new to us, and we'll have to adjust to it.
"Me and Hav always talk about how we could never break up," V.I.P. added. "Our goal is to break the record for longest-running group in hip-hop. Our goal was to have the most longevity. ... We think about that all the time. We always try to keep Mobb Deep relevant and up there."
No new Mobb albums until P comes out (although the duo have a million unreleased records in the stash). He is leaving us with H.N.I.C. 2, though, the follow-up to his 2000 solo debut, which spawned one of our all-time favorite cuts, "Keep It Thoro" ("Doin' it past yo' delf you way out your jurisdiction.")
The independent album comes out on March 25, and he'll soon be releasing a DVD with a video for each song. He was inspired by watching "Heartless," a movie by Queens group the Live Squad that tells a story through six music videos.
Joints To Check For:
» Dirty New Yorker." "Return of the Mac, that was me playing," P explained of the difference between last year's mixtape and his real album. "That's me on my downtime, me and Al[chemist] f---ing around. Less than a month we made that. When it comes to H.N.I.C.2, I don't play no games at all. I'm real serious. I recorded about 30-40 songs for this album. I picked the best 14 or 15. I decided to put lot more information in the album than I did before. I can articulate myself better."
» "Real Power Is People." "Soon as you put the album on, the first song is called 'Real Power Is People," P said. "It's incredible. The chorus goes 'F--- jewelry./ F--- rims./ Let's spend on our protection./ Get armor, get cameras./ Get with it, little n---as. This is man's sh--./ Real power is people./ Real strength is in the street.' When people hear it, they're gonna be like, 'P is on some sh-- right now.' "
» "Illuminati." "[When] we did 'I Shot Ya,' I was planting little seeds of information," P said. "I said, 'Illuminati want my mind, soul and my body.' ... That was it. Then I jumped into something else. I left people like, 'What is P talking about?' I left it for all these years. A lot of people started saying it after that. Pac called himself 'Don Killuminati.' DJ Clue has 'Cluemanati.' Jay-Z samples my voice on 'D'Evils.' I could tell I sparked something. I was like, 'Yeah, it's working. People are interested.' That's where I tried to take it on this album. Put more secret government, the illuminati sh--. Racial issues. Real factual sh--. People will be like, 'What are you talking about right there?' They'll want to research that."
Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week
» DJ Obscene - Poe Boy Radio, vol. 1
» DJ Delz and Snatchatape - Quality Over Quantity, Vol. 4 (hosted by Termanology)
» DJ Kronik and Flo Rida - Freestyle Kronikles
» DJ Whoo Kid and 50 Cent - Return of the Body Snatchers, Vol. 1
'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar
» Rich Boy featuring Nas, Lil Wayne and John Legend - "Ghetto Rich" remix
» DJ Felli Fel featuring Kanye West, Fabolous, Ne-Yo and Jermaine Dupri - "Finer Things"
» Jim Jones featuring the Game - "Love Me No More"
» Usher featuring Young Jeezy - "In This Club"
» Focus featuring Busta Rhymes and Bishop Lamont - "Shine"
Fire Starter: DJ Scream
In the ATL, he's as respected as Drama when it comes to breaking new acts. He's backed Shawty Lo and Rocko in the streets with mixtapes, and he worked with Soulja Boy Tell'em before he was the digital king. He just dropped a collabo mixtape with J.Kwik, featuring Gucci Mane, titled Trap-tackular. With new mixtapes on the way featuring Big Kuntry, Young Dro, a sequel to the Soulja Boy project and the return of his signature Heavy in the Streets, now on Volume 13, Scream is poised to make a lot of noise in 2008.
"Crunk" doesn't always mean fast. Lil Jon has been taking his time preparing his Crunk Rock album for years. While building what he feels will be a classic, Jon has been enjoying spending his side time in the club, carrying out the job that let him break into the industry: DJing.
"It's fun to just rock a crowd," the Atlanta music maven said. And what's his bread-and-butter song every night, no matter what club he's in?
"Flo Rida! Get 'Low,' " he answered. "If the crowd ain't really moving, and you wanna get on and just attack 'em ... take it to another level right way, you drop the Flo Rida. Yeah, man, they just wanna dance. That's a universal record. Any kind of crowd, they gonna get up and move. Tempo has been down a lot lately. Now the tempo is getting back up. It was just the West Coast doing it with all the hyphy stuff. Now on our side, the South, we're bringing the tempo back up."
The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground
50 Cent didn't expect to win a Grammy this year. He felt he deserved it, but winning wasn't even a thought.
"I did say, 'Kanye gets the trophies, 50 gets the checks' [in a previous interview]," Fif recalled. "I was saying that because when the awards shows came, they overlooked me, forgot to acknowledge my accomplishments. Anytime the Grammys came, every time the award shows came, they overlooked me. You know why — because of where I come from and how I was raised. They project that to middle America. Oh my goodness, their kids might wanna be like me!"
The Mixtape Monday fam has been playing a lot of the G-Unit's Return of the Body Snatchers mixtape the past week ("Ohhhhh--K. Ohhhhh-K"), and 50 already told us there's a part two coming in a couple of weeks.
"We still got the respect, but we got the hate/respect," DJ Whoo Kid said last week. "Some people hate 50's success so bad, they don't wanna give him his props. I guess he's assuming that he has to bust his again in 2008 and get it poppin'. If you hear how some of these songs sound like album cuts, imagine how the album is gonna be. He's not playing. He's making sure the G-Unit album is on point. He's pressing Yayo and Banks to give 150 percent. He's not accepting any wack records. Even when I heard these joints on Body Snatchers, I was like, 'Are you serious?' I fainted twice. A lot of these joints sound like they need to be on the album."
The Unit are about to go another tour, this time in Canada and Australia, and Whoo Kid says they'll have another Stateside run around May.
"We're praying to God that Eminem gets his album done, so it can be some incredible sh--," Whoo said. "A [Dr.] Dre, Em and 50 tour. That would be a good look right now." ...
Rick Ross was recently in town to shoot the video for "The Boss," featuring T-Pain, and the Miami kingpin did it up large in the Big Apple. Double R shot the clip at the Trump World Tower in Manhattan, high (high!) above the city on the 72nd floor.
"We just wanted to do something new, something refreshing," a shirtless Ross told us from his trailer. "The album is incredible, so we wanted to bring them incredible visuals. Between the movement, Ricky Ross, DJ Khaled, Poe Boy [Entertainment], we shoot so many videos in Miami that we cover so much ground. And I been in so many videos in the last year, I wanted to do something different. So I only thought it would make sense to come to the birth place of hip-hop and put it down like a real boss — suck up the atmosphere, the Manhattan skyline. That's what bosses do, we migrate. We're spreading our hustle up here in New York City, and it's just incredible."
Ross is putting the finishing touches on his Trilla album, which is now due March 11. The Florida heavyweight has more singles than Pacman Jones in a strip club, but he said most of the tracks released so far were to keep his buzz going amid album delays. He's had the tracks for Trilla laid out and sequenced almost from the beginning.
"I didn't just come back and format a regular album," Ross explained. "I drew from Pimp C, UGK, Bun B; them my uncles in the game. I drew from trill, which is a down-South term for being real. And I took from Michael Jackson's Thriller, and I came up with Trilla. And we did some different things. Meaning, like, before I even wrote a song, I actually put the music in order [the way] I would want to hear an album musically, and that's the order I wrote the records. I did a lot of different things."
"Maybach Music," featuring Jay-Z, and "Luxury Tax," featuring Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne, and Trick Daddy, are "gonna be the biggest records in the streets," according to Ross. But even as he's pushing Trilla, he's already at work on his next project, a street movie and album collaboration with Birdman from Cash Money. "It's called 'H,' " Ross said. "It's about honor, homicide, hustling, and it's about heroin. Think a next-level 'Menace II Society.' " ...
Even Marlo Stanfield said himself: It's just "not possible" for Omar to jump four stories off a balcony and not have gone to his final glory. The controversial shoot-out scene on "The Wire" a few weeks back is still being talked about.
Michael Kenneth Williams' character Omar had the tables turned on him and was ambushed by henchmen working for Marlo Stanfield (played by Jamie Hector). Seeing he had no way out, Omar took a literal leap of faith.
"These things are taken from real events," Hector told us last week about Omar's dramatic plunge (turns out, Omar suffered a severely injured leg in the fall but is still robbing and killing). "When you have somebody determined to survive, he's gonna survive. It's like, when you got somebody determined to win, they're gonna win. Some people may keep it moral and ethical, spiritual. This cat looks at his man [dead] on the floor that was giving him the blueprint of how to get Marlo. [Omar] had four guns coming at him. Big guns. What he did was remarkable. Real talk, I probably would have done the same thing."
Hector said he and the cast are definitely not enthused that "The Wire" is ending in just a few weeks, but he has loved working in the ensemble.
"It's fun, we enjoy it," he beamed. "When you get a chance to jump into some shoes you would like to portray as actor, you always wanna get a part that has meat. The entire script, though, not just your part. You want a script that has weight [for] the entire ensemble. Meaty, good, it makes you wanna watch everybody's work. The writing was off the chain, the casting was done properly. The actors bring it. It was a blessing and still is. The blend is a beautiful blend.
"Snoop? Felicia Pearson will crack you up," he continued, getting more specific about his character's accomplices Snoop and Chris. "There's always something funny coming out of her mouth. Once you meet her, it's like meeting Tupac. That energy. Ahhhh! That thing that you can't fake. I'm just laughing thinking about it. She has the set on edge everyday. It's just comedy. Gbenga Akinnagbe, who plays Chris, he's knowledgeable. His mind is always working beyond the set. You sit back and watch the kid. He's working, trying to figure out the next thing. He does an amazing job."
Hector also laughed about all the jokes Method Man cracks on the set.
"You saw what he did to his uncle?" Hector says about the betrayal exacted by Meth's Big Cheese character on Prop Joe. As all "Wire" fanatics know, Joe was set up by his nephew Cheese to get his head blown off by Marlo and Chris.
"Cheese was the one who put him there for $50,000," Jamie began to explain. "It was beyond $50,000 though. It was the principle. He felt his uncle didn't have the water to carry the organization. I was with Method Man yesterday. The streets hate him now. The streets can't stand Marlo. They love you, they love the character, but his actions. ... That was [Cheese's] blood. His kin. His uncle wouldn't even turn on him with Slim Charles."
Meth concurred last week, while in Chung King studio previewing some of his new tracks with Redman. "Yeah, man, I'm getting a lot of flak over that character too, 'cause he's so cold-blooded, boy," he said.
"All those seasons on there, if you really watch, Joe's been holding [Cheese's] hand, man," Meth continued. "He's protected me from getting killed or locked up. But at the same time, he's been holding my hand. He's been like, 'Nah, don't do that.' 'Nah, don't punch him in the face.' 'Nah, don't spit on him' You know what I mean? And after awhile, you know, you just want to come from up underneath that and do your own thing. He's so cold-blooded. Yo, stop stopping me in the street, asking me why I did that to Joe. It's a television show, man!"
"Method Man, that's my dude, though," Hector added. "He's naturally funny. He's also a good business man. He's where he's supposed to be, when he's supposed to be there. I enjoy working with him."
Hector said that around five or six episodes into his tenure with the show (he's been a menacing fixture for the past three seasons), the producers told him that they had plans for Marlo to stick around for a long time.
"I'm trying to catch that ball and keep it, like the [New York] Giants did,' he said of his new popularity. "Catch it like my man Tyree did at the last minute."