Release Date: May 7, 2013
Record label: Nature Sounds
Genre(s): Rap, Gangsta Rap, East Coast Rap, Hardcore Rap
As Havoc's solo album 13 (his lucky number) landed on shelves and in download queues, the MC/beatmaker's regular group Mobb Deep was "on hiatus," plus, a "twitter war" was underway with his fellow Mobbster Prodigy. While this album was recorded in the days leading up to this public unraveling of the group, 13 is a much more natural sounding effort than the group's 2009 EP Black Cocaine, and if the 2006 team-up of G-Unit and the Mobb seemed like a gangster-meets-gloss collaboration with great possibilities, the resulting album, Blood Money, was a lifeless dud overall. The kick-off track here, "Gone," is everything Blood Money should have been, wrapped in a song as goon-killing lyrics meet a hypnotic and dark backing track constructed, like most of the album, by Havoc himself.
As rap artists age, too often they reach outside their comfort zone, or the zone their fans feel comfortable within, in order to bend new ears. For recent examples, look no further than the Rasta-fied Snoop Lion, 50 Cent's Adam Levine helicopter debacle or anything LL Cool J has done that hasn't involved beating down a home intruder. Fellow Queens, NY representative Havoc won't fall into that trap.
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.
When asked earlier this year about the concept of his upcoming album, Queensbridge MC Havoc simply replied, “This is about being me.” At the time, the response was taken as a declaration of severance from his longtime partner in music, Prodigy, who Havoc got in an ugly public spat with in 2012. Supposedly, the two have now made up, but P’s absence on 13, Havoc’s third solo album and first without a Mobb Deep song, is hard to overlook. Regardless, the album sticks to the type of dark and aggressive rap the duo mastered as teenagers in the ‘90s.