When you’re part of a team, your job is to work together, or have the ability to pick up the slack when one of your teammates runs into trouble—and there lies the duty of Mobb Deep’s “H-A-V-O-C.”
With one half of the Mobb serving time in prison for a gun charge, Havoc releases his second solo album Hidden Files in order to keep their name alive, and to also solidify himself as a solo artist in his own right.
The Queensbridge producer/MC handles all of the production on Hidden Files (naturally); while familiar faces like Mobb affiliate Big Noyd and Prodigy himself join the supporting cast.
The file cabinet opens up with typical tough-talk songs like ‘Can’t Get Touched’ and ‘I Clap ‘Em Up.’
On ‘Watch Me,’ (feat. Ricky Blaze), Havoc switches it up a little and reaches out to more of a “commercial thug” audience with his trademark loud drum kicks, while Ricky Blaze doesn’t sound any different from all the other people using Auto-Tune during the hook.
Havoc enlists the help of Philly’s Cassidy to help him elaborate on a tumultuous relationship on ‘You Treated Me,’ and the metaphor specialist comes up with lines like, “Some people starvin’/some people not eatin’ right/you eat everyday, and still say that I don’t treat you right/you must like beefin’ cause you don’t speak to people right/that’s the reason you and your girlfriends stop speakin’ right.”
The full duo of Mobb Deep reunites on ‘On A Mission.’ Behind vintage production from Havoc, Prodigy kicks things off, “I ain’t got a lot of time left to go/so in the meantime, I’m a rep fo sho/and live my life with no regrets, I’m driving this boat”; while Havoc follows with, “Shiesty hoes and fake n*ggas, I’ll apply pressure to them/and put the barrel to the lense of your next of kin/and these hoes wanna set me up again/I walk the streets with my pound and a devilish grin.”
Other files manufactured in true Mobb Deep/Havoc fashion are blueprints like, ‘This Is Where It’s At’ (feat. Big Noyd), ‘The Millennium,’ and ‘That’s My Word’; with other songs like ‘Don’t Knock It Til You Try It’ and ‘Tell Me More’ (feat. Sonyae Elise) belonging in the paper shredder.
In hindsight, those who have been listening to Havoc and his production since the 90’s well into the 21st Century should know just what to expect when tuning into any of his projects. The gritty sound that’s kept him employed over the years by his peers hasn’t escaped him at all, but his attempts at more radio friendly material might not get him phone calls from MTV’s elite.
As for his lyrical manner, he’s gone from a work in progress/Prodigy sidekick to somebody very capable of legitimately riding a beat, particularly when it comes to his own.