“There’s a war goin’ on outside no man is safe fromProdigy – “Survival of the Fittest”
You could run, but you can’t hide forever
From these streets that we done took
You walkin’ with your head down
Scared to look, you shook
Cause ain’t no such things as halfway crooks”
Can you believe it’s been 25 years since Hip-Hop first heard “Survival of the Fittest?” Not to mention “Shook Ones (Part II),” “Up North Trip,” “Give Up the Goods (Just Step)’ and the rest of the tracks that made up one of the most important albums in Hip-Hop history, The Infamous, by Mobb Deep. The album is one of the heralded works in the genre’s history to receive the heralded five mics stamp from The Source. The Infamous is historic and served as the sound of New York City.
Saturday night, Havoc, The Source, and Caffeine joined together for a night that celebrated the album, which was remastered and re-released by SONY CERTIFIED, a division fo Sony Music.
“When Prodigy and I started on The Infamous album, all we wanted to do is to make good music— give the world a glimpse of our lives — put out an audible image of Queensbridge so that people could hear what we see every day,” Havoc said ahead of the event. “I guess we were successful because 25 years later, many believe that this record is one of the greatest hip-hop records of all times.”
As soon as the stream began, fans poured into the stream to celebrate the group, album, share favorite songs and offer Rest In Peace wishes to the late Prodigy.
The event was hosted by radio host Headkrack and brought in a guest list of legends including Steve Rifkind, Q-Tip, Roxanne Shante, HOT 97 LUX, Black Thought, The Alchemist and Prodigy’s Family.
The event opened with messages from Santana Fox and Bando Red before moving into a preview of their documentary.
“I was just trying to make it out the projects. 25 years, I’m trying to wrap my head around that,” Havoc said at the opening of the celebration.
“When we started getting love outside of New York, you don’t know what it is until you travel to the other states. You get love down south, love on the west coast, that’s when you realize you have something.”
Havoc detailed he met Prodigy at the High School of Art and Design through mutual friends and shared the same interest of lyricism leading to the first album Juvenile Hell.
After the opening conversation, the event moved into an interview with Steve Rifkind, the founder and chairman of Loud Records.
“When I met them for the first time, Hav came solo and I was looking for a follow-up for Wu-Tang. I knew I had Raekwon signed but I needed a follow-up,” Rifkind said. “They played me a record and the rest was history.”
Rifkind would detail that “Shook Ones” and “Eye for an Eye” are the songs that stick with him to this day, an anthem for New York at the time bringing in all the city’s heavyweights. Havoc would detail that everyone was in the studio at the same time for the recording.
“We had a relationship with Raekwon because we was label mates, but that doesn’t secure a feature. There has to be some type of rapport,” Havoc added. “Nas is from the projects and that just made it happen.
Testimonials throughout the event included Redman, Method Man, Kurupt, Sway, and Erik Sermon.
Q-Tip would also drop into the session. An integral part of the production and mixing, Q-Tip would detail the relationship and working on the album.
“I remember hearing the OG ‘Shook Ones’ and that shit was hard,” Q-Tip said. “That shit just sounded like a dark alley. Hav and P, we grew to be family and they couldn’t be more inviting to me.”
The legends continued to pour in with Roxanne Shante hitting the stream to detail her relationship with Mobb Deep.
“I always took that moment to listen. Havoc may not realize this, but he is the first person outside of The Juice Crew that I made a record with,” Roxanne Shante shared.
As the night rolled, Black Thought popped in for kind words. “Those words are forever ill, this was a timeless classic album.”
When asked to detail more about what didn’t make the album, Havoc revealed the re-release is set to explore those songs.
“That’s the reason for this whole celebration,” Havoc said. “We are re-releasing this album with joints that didn’t make the cut for the album. That’s different version fo songs you know and allowing people to get inside our brains, what made it, what didn’t, why not? And now fans can judge and make their decisions.”
Information for the re-release is available below.