Havoc returns with his third solo album, "13." Featuring assists from the likes of Lloyd Banks, Styles P and Raekwon, the album includes the signature, gritty, '90s-style rhymes and production from one half of the infamous Mobb Deep. Keeping in line with the tracklisting for the rapper's first release since 2009, VIBE conducted a line of questioning with Havoc inspired by the names of each of the album's "13" songs.
VIBE: Of all the hip-hop legends that are gone now, who do you miss most?
Havoc: I would have to say Biggie because I think that he just got taken away too early and we didn't get a chance to see his full potential and I miss that. He was like one of the best emcees in the game period. New York would have still been good right now, had we still had that element. He would've definitely been reppin'.
"Favorite Rap Stars" (feat. Styles P & Raekwon)
Out of the rap stars who are running the game right now, who's your favorite?
I would have to say, hands down, Jay-Z. He's the just the quintessential business man. I just walked past the 40/40; the magnitude of his success is just something that's inspiring. It makes you appreciate rap more. It's like, 'Look what your can be.' It gives the youth something to look to as a guideline of what you could do, not only in rap, but if you try hard at something, what you could become. Your name could roll off the president's tongue one day.
"Life We Chose" (feat. Lloyd Banks)
If you could pick one of the single best life-changing decisions you've ever made, which one would you choose?
I would have to say the time I quit smoking cigarettes, because it's just totally unhealthy, period. It's not good for you, everybody knows it, so quitting cigarettes was definitely it. And it's been four years.
"Colder Days" (feat. Masspike Miles)
What was one of the saddest days of your life?
One of the saddest days of my life was when my brother died. My younger brother, he was one year younger than me. He died, and that was the saddest day of my life.
This is a little x-rated, but what's the best song to get busy to?
The best song to get busy to is "Between Me and You" by Raphael Saadiq.
"Eyes Open" (feat. Twista)
What's the first thing you do in the morning when you wake up?
The first thing I do in the morning when I wake up is I turn on the news. I'm a political junkie, so I do that before I wash my ass and brush my teeth. I turn the news on first.
"Tell Me To My Face" (feat. Royce Da 5'9")
What is the craziest thing a fan has ever told you to your face?
Some girl came to me one day and said "Yo, I lost my virginity to 'Shook Ones.'" I was like "Really? Goddamn!" [laughs] That was crazy. I was like "You wanna do it again?"
"This World" (feat. Masspike Miles)
What are your thoughts on today's rap world, in comparison to when Mobb Deep what at its peak?
I think rap is little bit more commercial, it's being a little bit too scrutinized per lyric. I think that it's just insane. Every little word you're saying now is being criticized and I think that it's totally unfair to the freedom of speech. I think more people are in it just for the money. But, nevertheless I do think that the majority of it sounds great. I kid you not, I really do believe that much.
When was the last time you stayed up for 24 hours straight? What did you do?
Last night! I was in the studio all night, I didn't even go to sleep and I had to do full press today. And I haven't been to sleep yet. I just took a shower, threw on some new clothes, and just bounced.
Name a song that gets you hype as soon as you hear it.
"Check Out My Melody" by Eric B. and Rakim
How hard was it in the beginning for you and P to get your respect in the game?
It was pretty hard because we came off of an album that really didn't do well, so we had to go back to square one and really prove ourselves. So we went back into the studio and went around the city on some EPMD shit like "Please listen to my demo." So it took a little minute, but we got it together.
"Long Road (Outro)"
Twenty years of Mobb Deep. How would you describe the journey?
I would describe it as very interesting. Very twisty-and-turny, a lot of steep hills, a lot of great moments, a lot of celebrations, a lot of sad times, and a lot of good times. And at the end of the day, wouldn't change nothing.
Is there anything keeping you up at night nowadays?
Aw man, my little son. He's a year and a half. If he's not sleeping, then you're not sleeping [laughs]