In 1993, two teenagers reppin’ Queens offered music fans a glimpse into a world of despair, crime and broken dreams. Their debut disc, Juvenile Hell, was unlike most of the rap music dominating radio at the time, but as Mobb Deep’s Prodigy and Havoc continues to churn out their unique brand of records, their influence on New York’s sound would soon become undeniable.
From classic street anthems to well-documented rap wars, the story of Mobb Deep is one of perseverance and conflict, but despite the odds, they maintain a cult following 20 years after their debut album, and in an exclusive interview with Hip Hop Weekly the pair expressed their feelings on two very infamous wax wars.
HHW: Two of Mobb Deep’s most memorable moments involve the beef with Tupac Shakur and later, Jay-Z. What are your immediate thoughts on those times looking back so many years later?
HAVOC: Confusing. Because I didn’t even know why Tupac had beef with us. Never met him before. The one with Jay, for me personally, was for a lack of better word … I would say sad, because I would rather have been down with him than against him.
PRODIGY: The beef with Pac … Pac was holdin’ down his town, holdin’ down his label and we was holdin’ down our town and our team. It is what it is. It’s sad how it turned out. I think everybody learned a crazy lesson from it … everybody in hip hop. Everybody learned how easy it is to get life snatched, you know what I’m sayin’? Lose everything over something so silly, so it definitely helped us look at life differently, and other rappers, too. We a little more mature now and more smarter about how we move and all of that because of that sad situation. But that was just some sh—n-ggas go through man. Sad how it turned out. As far as Jay, it’s the same thing. It was all the same story, basically. Jay had came and he spoke out against that whole situation and I took that kind of personal because he wasn’t nowhere around when that sh—was poppin’ off, so I said what I said, he did what he did and that’s that. Respect it or don’t respect it, it is what it is.
Peep the full interview in this week’s HHW!