In honor of performing their 1995 sophomore album The Infamous in its entirety at Rock the Bells 2011, Mobb Deep’s Prodigy reflected on recording the LP with his partner Havoc. In an interview with Reebok, P explains that he acquired his grandfather’s jazz record collection and used it to make samples for the project.
“My grandfather was a famous jazz musician, by the name of Budd Johnson. When he died, he left me his jazz record collection and all his records and whatnot. So those were the first records that we were using to make beats. The whole Juvenile Hell album and most of the Infamous album, we were using those records to make beats and just sampling old jazz and all kinds of stuff. Herbie Hancock was in there and a bunch of different stuff like that. We were just mastering our craft with those records.”
He recalled how he and Havoc would both take turns making beats for the project, and how they would beef up each other’s instrumentals during the recording process.
“We made a lot of the beats together in the beginning. Sometimes, I would be down there messing with a beat and Hav would come and say, ‘Let me add this sound to it!’ or Hav would be making a beat and I would come and be like, ‘Yo, let me add a little bass line or a little sound to it.’ Hav just got so advanced with it, fast, quick. Probably because I was outside, drinking or whatever, chilling. I would come back later and Hav would be like, ‘Where was you at? I made like five beats already!’ I’d be like, ‘Damn, let me hear them shits!’”
Prodigy eventually let Havoc take over production duties so he could instead focus on penning better rhymes. “After a while, Hav just started taking over the production because it was so ill. I was coming out, I stood back and let him do it. Like, you do that, let me concentrate on writing ill rhymes. Hav was already ill with the rhymes, so I needed to get better. That was the most important thing to me, because I stepped my lyrics up.”