Havoc: The Kush

If Havoc, the lower-key member of Mobb Deep had to choose a claim to fame as an artist it might be a challenge. Some dub him chiefly responsible for the gritty Queensbridge theme music that is his signature production style. Others tip their hat to his baritone vocals that have played lyrical double dutch with Prodigy since The Infamous days. With no Mobb Deep project to focus on, Havoc couldn’t have picked a better time for his anticipated debut. The Kush (Nature Sounds) is a potent delivery from the more obscure half of Mobb Deep.Though Havoc has produced for Jadakiss, Nas and 50 Cent, to name a few, his own album doesn’t stray far from the Mobb Deep sound. The Kush, entirely produced by the Queens native is fit for a late night ride with a car full of “dunnies” or a smooth two-step with a glass in hand. Flexing his lyrical muscles on tracks like “I’m The Boss” and “Class By Myself” Havoc lives up to the titles with self-assured claims. Prodigy drops a verse on “Set Me Free” while Nitti, Un Pachino, NYCE and 40 Glocc blend well with the album’s get-money groove. The slow-rolling “Be There” with a looping Michael Jackson sample amplifies the paranoia that surrounds the lap of luxury. “Them shots fly tell me will you be there… / The money gone tell me will you be there.” The cosmic “What’s Poppin Tonite” is the just got paid it’s Friday night track inspired by popping bottles and models. Havoc’s intimidating “One Less Nigga” could have been plucked from any Mobb Deep album with a piercing synthesizer reinforcing his threats.Havoc doesn’t disappoint with his hard-hitting lyrics and rugged complementary tracks; long the staple for the duo. But there are few that disappoint. There is no crescendo in the predictable loops on “Balling Out” and the lackluster “Ride Out.” Hollywood Hav does branch out to pan the spotlight on his smart lyrics and his own introspective persona. On The Kush, Havoc tells the midnight-hour streetwise anthems from his own perspective. If he continues to up the ante on the rhymes and the production, Havoc will truly be in a class by himself. SOUNDCHECK:Havoc “One Less Ni**a”Havoc f/ Nitti “Class By Myself”