Longevity is not a common thing in Hip-Hop. Nor is consistency. Only an elite few artists can count themselves among those whose careers have lasted ten years or more. Even fewer are those who have released more than five albums, each posting similar numbers. And fewer still are the ones who have accomplished this as part of a group, especially one who’s name comes up in beef at least once a year.
Mobb Deep is part of that elite. Eleven years after the release of their shocking debut Juvenile Hell, Prodigy and Havoc have not only done all of this as a group, but they’re individual accomplishments have been as equally impressive. While his partner was making beats for some of the greatest names in Hip-Hop, Prodigy proclaimed himself the H.N.I.C. Despite the now infamous incident at the 2002 Summer Jam in New York, no pun intended, he’s now added Screenwriter and Co-Director to his list of talents to dismay the haters.
But this is not a farewell article. Mobb Deep is not retired, nor have they broken up. No amount of beef or critics complaints about their lack of growth, Havoc and Prodigy are seemingly on track for global conquest. The highly anticipated Murda Muzik DVD (Koch Vision) is set to drop April 6. And now that they’ve launched their own Infamous Records, a joint venture with Jive Records, Mobb Deep can finally deliver on what their fans have been craving since 2001: a full length album. Recently, Prodigy found time to talk to us about beef, politics, parenting and the continually growing career of Queensbridge’s favorite sons.
AllHipHop.com: I know you guys are about to drop the DVD, that’s real big. Tell me a little bit about the movie itself.
Prodigy: The movie is the first movie shot in Queensbridge. I wrote it. Starring the whole Mob Deep family, Infamous family, the whole Queensbridge. It was shot out in Queensbridge, and plus out in Red Hook, we did some scenes out there.
AllHipHop.com: How long all together did it take y’all to put everything together?
Prodigy: To get everything together? It took like maybe like the whole three years. Three years of shooting and getting everything we needed
AllHipHop.com: So where’d the idea come from? I mean, obviously it’s a little autobiographical, right?
Prodigy: Yeah, it’s just… it’s a fiction story I made up; I wrote the script. But it’s also based on true things that ni**as go through, you know what I’m saying? So it’s got a lot of real to it.
AllHipHop.com: So who all can we expect to see in there?
Prodigy: You got Queen Pen, she did something in there; Chinky, she’s part of the family; Alchemist; Big Noyd; Twin Gambino; Tim Lord; Nas; John Otto, John from Limp Bizkit; umm… It’s a few people in there.
AllHipHop.com: I know that it was originally scheduled to come out sooner than this, so what was the hold up behind that?
Prodigy: We was just going through a bunch of legal matters to get, to actually get it out there. So once we cleared all that up, then it was just a process of finding distribution. And the buzz was already crazy, cuz it’s four years that we’ve been talking about it, na mean?
AllHipHop.com: Going into this you already had two, three albums under your belt. How was the process of making the movie different Prodigy: from recording an album?
Prodigy: Yeah. It’s like, it’s more intricate. It’s a lot of things you gotta deal with as far as producing a movie . It’s a lot of things, you know?
AllHipHop.com: Let’s talk about the album, Amerikaz Nightmare. June 30?
Prodigy: Yeah, Amerikaz Nightmare. I don’t know, it’s gonna be June sometime. We don’t got a solid date yet, but it’s definitely gonna be June.
AllHipHop.com: And how’s this one different from your previous albums?
Prodigy: It’s just, you know… You just grow with Mobb Deep, you see where we at now. You na mean, see what we doing now
AllHipHop.com: And of course you’re with a different label?
AllHipHop.com: And how’s that?
Prodigy: We with Jive. They gave us a joint venture, so we got our own label now, Infamous Records. It’s a joint venture with Jive.
So you’re happy with your label situation?
Prodigy: Yeah, definitely
AllHipHop.com: Any collaborations on the new album?
Prodigy: We got Nate Dogg on the joint… who else is on there? Oh, we did a joint with a few people. We did a joint with Lil’ Jon; and we did a joint with Nelly, we did a joint with with 50. But a lot of stuff ain’t make the album. We just picked like the most fire ones out of everything and put those out. But as far as production-wise, you know, it’s like 90% Havoc. You got, Alchemist did a couple of joints, and Red Spyda, Kanye West, Lil’ Jon.
AllHipHop.com: In the meantime, y’all got a couple of mixtapes that’s dropping
Prodigy: Yeah we got a lot of mixtapes out. Free Agents, we put that out first. And umm, then we put out this Infamous Allegiance mixtape/dvd that’s on the street right now. And then, like now we got another mixtape, this Whoo Kid mixtape we just put out with Whoo Kid. So that’s out right now.
AllHipHop.com: You know I gotta ask about the single, the “R.I.P. Nas” single… Click Here for video clip
Prodigy: Yeah, everybody keep saying that. We never had a song called "R.I.P. Nas." Somebody mighta just called that s**t… You know how DJs, they don’t know what the name of the song is, so they call it whatever they wanna call it.
AllHipHop.com: So there’s no beef behind that, there’s no animosity?
Prodigy: Nah, I dunno. There might be! [Laughs]
AllHipHop.com: I know you have a son, so as a parent, do you feel added responsibility in your music? How has that affected the type of music you put out there, the type of image you try to maintain out there?
Prodigy: My son, you know, I raise him to be good, take care of him, do his school work, go to school, you know? Don’t be like me! Basically, I’m a different individual, I’m me. You can only be you.
AllHipHop.com: Having, especially a son, what do you tell him about the album titles like Juvenile Hell, Hell on Earth, Murda Muzik. How do you explain that to a 7 year old?
Prodigy: Just teach him right from wrong. Teach him how to be a good person. He know what time it is.
AllHipHop.com: Now I read your old bio from 1995 that Loud put out and it said that you were on a path seeking “right knowledge.” So how’s that working out for you?
Prodigy: That’s always working out good. It’s always good to just, you know, find out the truth about things, the origin of things. So, that’s what I like to read about things like that.
AllHipHop.com: Let’s talk about the whole incident in October in Albany where you were arrested on weapons and drug possession. Do you think it was “Hip-Hop” profiling?
Prodigy: Yeah, I mean, that happens all the time
AllHipHop.com: Recently, police admit to it. Is that something you’ve been dealing with from jump?
Prodigy: I mean, you always gotta expect… ‘Casue they look at us like we crazy, violent ni**as. We start trouble, we put violent music out there to cause people to start trouble, and s**t like that. So, it’s like, we always had beef with police. From day one. Ya na mean? They always f**k with us.
AllHipHop.com: Did that have any effect on the taping of the movie?
Prodigy: Nah, nah. The police showed us love in a lot of places, a lot of the neighborhoods. They let us come through, buck guns, do all that s**t for the movie. The D’s ran up on us when we was just shooting out there one night. They thought we was shooting real bullets or something, they ain’t know we was shooting a movie. D’s hopped out on us, [to Noyd] remember that, son? In Red Hook
AllHipHop.com: So how long did that take to sort out with them?
Prodigy: Nah, they hopped right back in they car to go get some other ni**as! They peeled right outta there.
AllHipHop.com: Now a lot of people say that New York City’s just gotten so much better since former mayor Guiliani’s been gone. Do you see that improvement in your life?
Prodigy: A difference? I mean, I really don’t see any difference, really. Except for like maybe just… The only difference I see in the world is just the growth of rap music. Everything else, that s**t been happening.
AllHipHop.com: And do you think the growth of Hip-Hop is a positive thing or a negative thing?
Prodigy: Yeah, it’s a positive thing, it’s a good thing. Our music out there to everybody. You know, back when this first started, they want our…, they ain’t want us in the club. Ni**as was scared of rap music. So it give a chance for people to see that it ain’t crazy like how you think, we just expressing what the f**k we go through and s**t that’s around us. It gave people of other ethnic backgrounds to start being into your s**t, listen to what you gotta say or whatever, feel your music, feel what kind of beats you got or something.
AllHipHop.com: Where is the weirdest place that you went and performed? The first time I heard one of your records, I was in Haiti.
Prodigy: Word? That’s crazy.
AllHipHop.com: Where’s the strangest place that you seen?
Prodigy: I don’t know, probably Zurich, Switzerland.
AllHipHop.com: Aight, now being that this is an election year. Do you think that there’s any kind of real concern for the hood by the presidential candidates?
Prodigy: I don’t believe nothing them ni**as talking about!
AllHipHop.com: How do you feel as a young black man, as somebody that’s very much respected in the Hip-Hop community, how do you feel our generation can make a change?
Prodigy: Umm, investigate. Read about origins of things, and where things came from, and the history of things, ya na mean? You’ll see the truth/
AllHipHop.com: Is that something that you incorporate in your music?
AllHipHop.com: With all of that, there’s always a drive to get people be more informed, get people to go out there and vote – see who’s reppin’ us. Have you gotten involved in any of those type initiatives?
Prodigy: I don’t f**k with none of that s**t. I just don’t believe in that whole system. Even though I got a social security number, I make money off of rap music, but I don’t believe in none of this s**t that they talking about and this whole system that they got built. I mean I was born into this s**t, I don’t know what the f**k they did to this world. So f**k all of them and f**k they system.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah but at the same time, it’s still a system that we have to deal with, I mean…
Prodigy: I’m dealing with it just fine how I been. And muthaf**kas just need to get they mind right.