Havoc - 13

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Havoc's "13" features some of his best production in years. But the monotony of the subject matter in his rhymes make this album solid but far from classic.

In the past year plus, Havoc has been in the news more for his pseudo-feud and eventual “kind-of” reconciliation with the other half of the Infamous Mobb Deep, Prodigy. Due to this, his solo career and mastery in the production booth have seemed to take a backseat to more dramatic proceedings. But with 13, his first solo work since 2009, Havoc looks to re-establish himself as one of the premier creators of some of Hip Hop’s most powerfully desolate soundscapes. Hav also bills himself as an emcee hungry to display lyrical skills he’s not always given proper credit for, having been criminally billed by many as the less lyrical half of the Mobb.

Not bothering with subliminal intros or skits, Hav instead goes straight for the listeners’ jugular, beginning with “Gone,” a cryptic yet engaging joint reminiscent of classic Queensbridge-style braggadocio. Establishing right away that 13 will be a powerfully dark listen, on “Favorite Rap Stars,” Hav enlists the aid of lyrical juggernauts Styles P and Raekwon, and actually goes bar for bar with both of them over a deep, menacing bass line and a plinking guitar that aligns perfectly with each emcee’s words.

The results are mixed when Hav switches his flow up to a more Southern-influenced cadence and staccato-styled beat on “Eyes Open,” supported by a rapid-fire flow fueled Twista who sounds like he hasn’t lost a step. Havoc offers a rare, brief moment of vulnerability before resorting back to his usual, rhyming, “Know that I just built this / Sweat blood and tears / My brother died, was the only time / Then shed tears / Then switch gears, was outta there like last year / Now everything is smooth like cashmere, chinchilla / Coupe so white, that’s Mac Miller…”

Havoc’s production has always been dark and gritty, bordering on and many times dipping into the bleak. While certain tracks on 13 take a more atmospheric and moody route, he displays a sense of experimentation. Cases in point: the breezy sound effects and humble bongo drums on “Gettin’ Mines,” or the Asian-inspired feel of the aforementioned “Hear Dat.” Unfortunately, that sense of experimentation does not carry over from the boards to the booth, as the album is plagued by repetitive subject matter.

Hav owns a resume that dates back 20 years. But instead of any reflection or even any improvement upon the formula that made Mobb Deep and Havoc’s solo production successful, the same topics are rehashed. Listeners that observed the hiatus can’t help but notice the irony (or outright hypocrisy) when Havoc rhymes the following lines:

“Got these cowards out here plottin’ on me, red dottin’ for me / Blast ‘em with the clapper / Know I keep the ratchet on me / All that beefin’ shit is corny / Nigga faker than a Twitter beef…”

Ultimately, fans looking for a solid but not necessarily classic addition to the Infamous Mobb Deep catalogue, should be satisfied with 13. Appearances from kindred spirits such as Styles P, Raekwon, Royce Da 5’9 and Mysonne help add variety. But Havoc’s talents and willingness to experiment with his tried and true production formula can’t overcome the monotony of the subject matter in his rhymes.



    Sick album, one of the best of the year. My fav tracks, Gone, Life we Chose, Colder Days, Get Busy, Eyes Open, This World, and Already Tomorrow.

  • Mobbisdope

    I almost put tears out when i heard some tracks. Havoc never lost it, the work is true legend music. Havoc is back in excellence, the new Mobb album holds big expectations to me. I can't wait to get a copy at a local music store! And yeah, track 12 put outs the real that Mobb always put up. I believe almost everything of the lyrics. Great music and i gave it the highest rating!!

  • Sety Machete

    not for nothing but heads are sleeping on this one. Havoc came thru with a dope album.

  • New Jack

    Top rung production, Havoc kills as do the features, heavy, heavy beats. Best shit i've heard in years

  • dubs

    Beats and feel of this album is on some QB Thoro hood ish, classic.

  • Anonymous

    I can't wait for a new PLK album

  • jaffarR

    "Life We Chose" and Lloyd Banks should have been mentioned in the review. That track was one of the dopest hip-hop tracks of the year.

  • j dirty

    So...Havoc is monotonous because he hasnt switched up the subject matter,But YM is allowed to rap about being rich and shopping with groupie sluts all day?Whats Havoc supposed to rap about?Sunshine and flowers?Get on some OF shit and rape a nigga?...Hip hop is Dead.As a rap fan for 20 years I havnt bought a album off the store shelf in 5 years because no ones putting out whole good albums anymore,Just shitty radio singles i wouldnt piss on if they were on fire.

  • Anonymous

    So people are upset this dude hasn't changed his style, but people bitch when other people do. No one can be made happy in hip-hop everyone's a bitch. Fuck hip-hop fans.

  • redrum

    album goes hard what you crackers want that soft drake shit

  • passionweiss

    When I think of Havocs music, I think about two things central to the American psyche: crime and New York City. As the primary producer behind the music of the worlds most infamous rap group, Mobb Deep, he crafted albums of material that made the legendary Queensbridge Projects seem like the scariest place on earth. Havoc transformed pitched down jazz breaks and obscure soul chops into a devastating brand of dark and gloomy murda muzik. Producers are still trying to discover the secrets behind the mayhem of Capital Hs boards. It took enterprising beat junkies almost 15 years to discover an obscure Herbie Hancock loop that made Shook Ones Pt. II. He knew how to turn vodka and milk into poison.

  • tdotfromdabronx

    Beats are hot rhymes are mediocre...

  • Anonymous

    DX is too kind with the rating. the dark production is just palatable, i haven t heard one 'quiet storm'- like banger from havoc in years you need a couple of those to carry an album the QB gritty raps from Havoc, it does get tired this ain t 1996 anymore when the genre wasn t washed up yet it is all Havoc raps about. at the same time you can t really blame him for that it is all he knows all he can

  • Ernesto Mampuiya

    This album is dope, Havoc is fire, tis album has good beats and lirics...

  • ...?

    Content: 2/5 Guest Spots: 4/5 Lyrics: 2/5 MC: 2/5 Production: 3/5

  • kfiddy

    I thot this was a decent album. Shocked @ your rating...

  • AllDay

    This album is really nice. The cover art is dope, the album is super cohesive. If you get Rap&Hiphop you have to acknowledge that this is that Mobb Deep era / creative direction.

  • Anonymous

    havoc sucks as a solo artist. even sucks as a producer now. and his raps are boring. havoc has no depth. always rapping about shooting niggas and loyalty. he doesnt shoot niggas and has no loyalty. he sounds washed up, the beats aren't very good, if it wasn't for the features this album would be a complete loss. even at his worst p is a more captivating solo artist than havoc. havoc was dope as hell with the raps and the beats like 10 years ago. he sounds tired. raps are trash. content is pathetic considering he's pushing 40. 13 sucks.

    • former mobb deep fan.

      you fuckin right. nothing more childish then a 43 year old rapper acting like a pimp and gangster. get a life and retire. He is been saying these things now for 20 years it aint 1995 anymore!!!!!!!

    • ...!

      LOL @ the reply, he had not actual argument against the original comment, I guess that's when you know someone is right

    • Anonymous

      any more negative stuff you got to say. jeez blah blah blah

  • Anonymous

    average at best typical boring havoc NEXT...

  • Anonymous

    album of the year so far

  • Anonymous

    Not good review at all. You got your own opinion nigga, and it doesn't mean evereybody should think like you. For me this is one of the best albums in 2013 already.

  • djstylez25

    The editor of this review is out of his mind! This is one of the best albums I've heard in a while. True, gritty, head-nod album from beginning to end. Maybe the editor's ears are still ringing from all that 2Chainz, French Montana, Drake noise ringing in his ears to really appreciate 13.

  • Anonymous

    When the writer of this article and all the haters can find a rapper that's is spitting some shit they never heard then I'll do 10 backflips in a row off a building and land on my feet! SMFH!

  • XYZ

    one of the best beat producers

  • Blitz-

    Havoc came with it this album ...all u haters eat a dick beats is fire lyrically hes dope not no Nas but what do u expect from him ? he stays in his lane and that dark QB shit is what the mobb is known for im giving it 4 mics and ooh yea its better than the Nore album.

  • Kebol

    Boring Havoc always says that he is gangster and shit but nigga only got a ticket for parking his car wrong. Stop the fantasy nigga and raise you children and quit rapping. It ain't 1995 anymore you boring as fuck.

  • Gonzalez

    Not really a huge fan of Havoc or even Prodigy, but this album FAR exceeded my expectations, this shit is better than any mainstream artists albums out right now... This album track by track, minus MAYBE one or two of em, is superior or at least competes toe to to with Roc Marciano's 2010 critically acclaimed Marcberg... Definately a 5 with the beats alone, subject matter...eh, Fuck em' it's Havoc! What u expect!

  • Anonymous

    It's a Mobb album, we don't expect major subject matter, just some dark shit to ride to.

  • The Brew Master

    Let it play fire!!!

  • Anonymous

    beats are sick af. hav did his thing on the beats for sure. that alone makes this a 4, and he does ite on the mic too. solid 4

  • paul_banks

    this album is more than a solid 4 more like a solid 5 because it's bangin' from start to finish.

  • fraspi

    Better than Kweli and his new tape. 4/5

  • Anonymous

    The Album is a solid 4.. No question. If you are a MOBB fan, or even just a Hav fan,this is the sound you want from him. Switch up the content? to wut, this shit these fuk boys have plastered all over the radio and internet. Shit, if half the writers/reviewers on these sites were remotely this consistent, hip hop would still have a strong grasp on its roots.

  • Jay DeLuca

    after a couple more spins the whole album is bangin "WORD^"#23hoopdr3@mz

  • Anonymous

    Yo that shit is fire . Like seriously nobody has album that can ride straight through like that

  • Jay DeLuca

    1st listen..seems like a solid effort. Wouldnt buy it thou..it is a solid effort gonna bang it 4 the rest of the evenin.#23hoopdr3@mz

    • Anonymous

      Because your bum ass can't afford a little bullshit $10... SMFH! I bet your bum ass is going to steal it though... LMAO

  • Anonymous

    hmmmmmm.....predictable score....but is it the critic or the artist?

  • 777

    Not horrible, but not great. Havoc goes in on some songs, but not so much at others and towards the end it gets a little boring. Overall, it was solid.

  • Anonymous

    Beats are cool, Hav predictably aint sayin shit we havent heard before. But if you really expected him to thats your fault not his, he been doing the same thing for 20 years and you expect him to change now?? GTFOH

    • Anonymous

      So who is saying shit that you've never heard before... I'll wait! Fucking haters kill me! SMFH

  • jon

    Straight FIRE from Hav....!

  • BK Nigga

    alot of songs on here are a breath of fresh air compared to all that generic wack ass club shit you hear today.

  • nah, B

    Sad album. Might be his best solo or whatever, but still not worth mine (or your) money. Sorry. I'm done with Hav and P, sorry.

  • Anonymous

    Never been a huge Havoc fan but after 1 spin i like it. Life We Chose is my favorite track.

  • ...?

    Just downloaded this a couple of hours ago and gave it a couple of spins and it's what I expected, I would say "Havoc leave solo albums alone, rapping isn't your strong point" but the beats o this aren't too good either... I'll keep 3 songs off this thanks to the features.

    • ...?

      I pay for stuff I want, if I listened to the album and liked it I would've bought it... I can bet anything I get from this earth you've illegally downloaded as well, don't take the fucking high-ground with me, you little bitch!

    • Anonymous

      Another leach killing Hip Hop stealing some shit that only costs $10... SMFH! You probably steal money out of your mothers purse too!

  • anonymous

    I disagree slightly, I think if his rhymes had as much thought into as the production this would be 5 stars. but I think this album is brilliant. 4 stars...