Billboard Music Awards

Mobb Deep's Havoc Wraps Work On Solo Debut

Havoc's "The Kush," coming Sept. 18, marks the first solo album for the New York MC and producer after 15 years in the rap game. What took so long? Blame his day job, he says.

Havoc's "The Kush," coming Sept. 18, marks the first solo album for the New York MC and producer after 15 years in the rap game. What took so long? Blame his day job, he says.

"A whole bunch of Mobb Deep albums," Havoc (real name Kejuan Muchita) says with a laugh. "Basically I had to put out a lot of Mobb Deep material, so that stopped me from putting out an independent kind of project. I've been working on solo projects for a while, but management would always be like, 'Let's use this for Mobb Deep material...'"

Havoc says the opportunity to finally hunker down on his own release came last year, after Mobb Deep toured Europe in support of its most recent album, "Blood Money." The first track he worked on was "Be There," a kind of social commentary ("It's about, will people be there that's around you? Will people be there for you," Havoc says) which samples Michael Jackson's hit, "Beat It."

"I actually thought it would've been hard (to clear)," Havoc says, "but it wasn't that hard."

He drew on a different inspiration for the first single, "I'm the Boss," however. "That beat came from A Tribe Called Quest," Havoc says. "I love A Tribe Called Quest. They gave me my start in the music business when I was 12, 13. They definitely were an inspiration tool, them and the Jungle Brothers, that whole 1987 era, '88. That's an era that hasn't gotten as much credit as it should."

Mobb Deep mate Prodigy guests on "The Kush," along with 40 Glocc, Nyce, Un Pachino and Nitti. Havoc says he isn't sure yet if he'll tour to support the album, but Mobb Deep fans don't need to worry that he and Prodigy's recent solo efforts will jeopardize the group.

"Me and P made a new song yesterday. We always make music together," says Havoc, who also produced two tracks for 50 Cent's new album. "I'm in P's ear now -- 'Yo, son, we need a new Mobb Deep album.' So we're still cool."