By: Phillip Mlynar
Editor's note: In “Tweets Is Watching,” Phillip Mlynar asks local artists questions based solely on the contents of their Twitter timeline for our sister paper, the Village Voice.
Havoc dropped his new 13 album last week, a project he calls “an ode to hip-hop.” Tonight, he'll be in Santa Ana rocking the Yost Theater as one half of legendary hip-hop duo Mobb Deep–on tour in celebration of their 20th anniversary. Before the show, we got on the phone to chat with him about his favorite rap stars, being stingy with Lloyd Banks' birthday present, and the time he met the recently departed Chris Kelly of Kriss Kross.
— Havoc(@THEREALHAVOC) May 6, 2013
The song “Favorite Rap Stars” seems to be getting a great reaction
Yeah, it's getting a really good reception. I'm kinda surprised.
Because it's an independent album and, you know, not too many people get a chance to hear something that's not so mainstream and that usually goes under-the-radar. There are songs that I feel a lot of people overlook so I'm glad.
Who was your own favorite rap star when you were growing up?
If definitely had to be Run-DMC. It was just how commanding their style was and how forceful their music was and how good their music was. I remember first hearing them when I was like nine-years-old and the older guys on the block was playing it. That was the first time I fell in love with hip-hop.
Did you prefer Run or DMC as a rapper?
You know, as corny as it sounds, I definitely liked both of them equally.
Raekwon features on “Favorite Rap Stars” and you also worked with him way back on “Eye For An Eye.”
Yeah, I remember just saying we, Mobb Deep, need to get Nas on the record and get Rae on the record and one day we asked him to come down to the studio and they all came. I didn't even have the track; I made the beat right then and there and we all just vibed. It was one little attempt at making some crazy beat and it came out like that. It was at Platinum Island.
What was the vibe like in the studio?
It was a lot of weed, a lot of camaraderie!
RIP Chris Kelly from Kriss Kross
— Havoc(@THEREALHAVOC) May 2, 2013
Did you get to meet Chris Kelly?
I'd like to say I met him once in New Orleans. I saw him, I wanted to talk to him so I struck up a conversation with him. I was young at the time — probably like 22, super young — and I just wanted to ask him a question and he answered it for me.
What was the question?
There was a rumor floating around back then that one of them had cancer or something and I was stupid enough to ask him the question when I saw him. He said he didn't have it.
You were in Poetical Prophets when you were young. What do you remember about those days?
Ha ha, it was very industry back in those days! They was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on even the littlest thing. It was very industry, ha ha! But we definitely had fun and we got the chance to go places and it was all new for us.
Happy birthday to my g @lloydbanks
— Havoc(@THEREALHAVOC) April 30, 2013
Lloyd Banks also features on 13, right?
Yeah, if I could I would do a whole album with Banks, you know, but while I was making this album having Lloyd Banks on it was something I wanted to make happen. I reached out to him and he reciprocated.
You wished him a happy birthday on Twitter. Did you get him a present?
No, ha ha. My present was wishing him happy birthday. But I don't even buy myself things for my birthday, I'm boring.
Where did you pose with Kid Ink?
>I was doing Rap Fix with Sway one day and he happened to be there with Wyclef and, you know, this is the age of Instagram so he wanted to take pictures and I was cool.
Are you likely to produce for Kid Ink in the future?
I would say definitely. Well, if he likes the track I'd give him. [Pauses] I'd give him a hardcore, Mobb Deep, Queens-style beat.
Finally, who's the most entertaining person you follow on Twitter?
I'd have to say Trump. And I don't like him.
Why don't you like him?
He's down with the 1%, but he's just really entertaining. Donald Trump is like a Biggie to me!
If you had the opportunity, would you want him to do ad-libs on a Havoc beat?
What would you have Trump saying?
Havoc, you're fired!
Mobb Deep performs tonight at the Yost Theater 8 p.m. Full details here.