Sitting down with Complex in a Rik Cordero-directed Q&A, Prodigy and Havoc described the making of their new album, The Infamous Mobb Deep. Breaking down several tracks on the album, the duo spoke about sampling The Notorious B.I.G. on their song “All A Dream,” working with Alchemist on “Waterboarding,” and Havoc’s collaborating with Boi-1da on production for two songs.
Speaking about “All A Dream,” which features Lox, Prodigy explained overlaying the vocal sample after he’d already recorded his chorus. “I had come up with the chorus—‘Woke up, and I was still living it,’” he said. “My man was like, ‘You should put Biggie in there: “It was all a dream.”’ So we tried it out, see how it sound. So, Om’Mas Keith, who had produced the beat, he starting messing around with the sample and it actually sounded good. We ended up keeping it, it went along with the chorus I was saying.”
Talking specifically about their Juicy J and Bun B featuring track “Legendary,” Havoc detailed sharing production duties with Boi-1da on the song. “Boi-1da had reached out to me through Twitter and had mentioned to me that I inspired him,” Havoc said. “One thing led to the next, we started sending tracks to each other, back and forth. Once I had that track solidified, [I] let P hear it and P just took it in that direction of legendary status kind of thing, and he just made it pop off. Of course it’s called ‘Legendary,’ who could we get on there, some legends: Juicy J, Bun B. And it was a wrap.
“I like sharing production on albums with other producers ‘cause I’m a fan,” he added. “It would be self-centered to just try do the whole thing by myself.”
Referencing the Alchemist produced “Waterboarding,” Prodigy explained his admiration for the group’s long-time collaborator. “When we made the song ‘Waterboarding,’ the title and everything, I think Al, after he heard what the title was, he went in and tried to find things from waterboarding so he could put it on the song,” he said. “Alchemist is an alien. He’s not from this earth. He’s just incredible. He’s such an inspiration. It’s like he created his own style, his own brand. That’s The Alchemist now. We made a lot a nice little records here and there, as Al would say.”
During the interview, Mobb Deep also talked about the album’s lead-off track, “Taking You Off Here.” “I came to the studio and Hav had his verse done on that song already,” Prodigy said. “And I was just like, ‘Whoa, this is crazy right here.’ I just went in and wrote my verse and that was that. It could be a brand new beat that Hav just put up, I’ll go sit in that corner, Hav go sit in this, corner, I don’t know what he saying, he don’t know what I’m saying. Then when we get on the mic, it just fits.”
Recalling their path to success in an explanation of the song “My Block,” Prodigy said “it comes a certain time when you can’t just be on the block chilling no more.” “I came up with an idea to just write about being on the block and I told Hav real quick, ‘Just write about the block,’ he was like, ‘Alright, bet,’” Prodigy said. “Once we became successful with the music and started touring a lot, there was like really no time for us to be going around to the neighborhoods ‘cause we had work. Back in the days when we was young kids, coming up on the rise, trying to be successful with our music, we on the block every day ‘cause we had nothing else to do really. We just on the block chilling, living our life. But it comes a certain time where you can’t just be on the block chilling no more.”
Mobb Deep announced a Pandora premiere of their latest album last week. The album is currently available on iTunes.