In 1995, Mobb Deep’s second studio album, The Infamous, debuted at #3 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart and #15 on Billboard 200.
Two decades later, Billboard caught up with Queens, New York duo Prodigy and Havoc, who shared stories about becoming Mobb Deep and crafting their critically-acclaimed album.
Before Prodigy and Havoc became known as Mobb Deep, the two young friends were known as the Poetical Prophets. During their interview with Billboard, both members explained how Puff Daddy was influential in their name-change.
“I remember the day we came up with that [Mobb Deep] name,” Prodigy says. “We were at Def Jam and we were writing [names down] on paper and was like, ‘Mobb Deep, that’s ill. Hell yeah.'”
“What really made us change it was [that] we were going to do a deal with Puffy at the time,” Havoc adds. “He was going to sign us and everything but he said, ‘There’s only one thing about y’all. Y’all need to change your name.’ We ended up not signing at all.”
On April 25, The Infamous album will be twenty-years-old. Its singles “Shook Ones Pt. II,” “Survival of the Fittest” and “Temperature’s Rising” helped the Queensbridge rappers share their neighborhood tales with listeners.
The aforementioned hits happen to be some of the group’s favorite songs from the album. Prodigy names “Survival of the Fittest” and “Party Over” as his favorites, while Havoc prefers “Shook Ones Pt. II” and “Temperature’s Rising.”
As for new music from Mobb Deep, the groups says “nothing is really etched in stone” at the moment, but that they have begun to work on a new album with Alchemist.
“We’ve just been working on the beginnings of it,” Prodigy says. “We’ve got a few joints knocked out. It’s coming along. It’ll be out soon. [Alchemist producing the album] is the plan right now. I’m sure Hav will have something on there or they’ll probably be collaborating on a few joints here and there, but we had an idea like, ‘Yo, let’s do something different and have Al do the whole album.’ We just wanted to do something different and get some new excitement. I’m sure the fans would appreciate it.”
“Mobb Deep is still here,” Havoc adds. “We making albums and in the midst of making these albums we just like to come up with ideas like, ‘Why don’t we do a new album like this? Why don’t we do a new album like that or why don’t we do a new album with Alchemist?’ We’ve been throwing around ideas, and making a few songs. It’s just an idea that we’re throwing around. How much that album will become a reality [is] based around how we fit [it in] our schedules, as far as touring and things of that nature.”
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