Since the emergence of “Gangsta Rap”, violence has played a part in Hip-Hop music. Fueled by films such as “Belly”, “State Property”, and “Paid in Full” to name a few, rappers are reaping the benefits of keeping it on the reel and making moves to movies. In a phone conversation with Prodigy of Mobb Deep we discuss their upcoming film due out April 6th on DVD and video entitled, “Murda Muzik. Written and produced by Prodigy and directed by Lawrence Page, “Murda Muzik” sounds like it’s going to be a killer thriller. The film features a line up of Queensbridge’s finest including Mobb Deep (Havoc and Prodigy), Nas, Big Noyd, Infamous Mobb, Queen Pen and Chinky. In addition to the film, we also chat about Mobb Deep’s highly anticipated 5th CD, “Amerikaz Nightmare”.
What’s going on Prodigy?
P: What’s poppin’? Everything’s good over here.
You’ve got the movie coming out “Murda Muzik” and also the Mobb Deep album, “Amerikaz Nightmare”. So let’s first talk about the movie. How did you come up with the title?
P: Basically, we came up with the title and wrote the movie around the time where we were doing “Murda Muzik” the album. That’s when I started writing the script and started to shoot the movie. We were trying to coordinate it coming out with that album, but it really took awhile to shoot the movie so we were like aiight let’s just put the movie out later. It doesn’t matter, because the fans are going to want to see it regardless.
Describe the plot of the movie.
P: It’s the first movie ever shot in Queensbridge. The plot - it’s about us, Mobb Deep and we play ourselves in the movie. Rapper, (Big) Noyd he’s one of our clik from out in Queensbridge. We sign him to a record deal with us, give him a bunch of money and he takes his money and puts it back into what he used to do, selling drugs. He tries to make a monopoly, a little drug cartel and it just backfires on him.
And some of the other people featured in the movie? I see you have Queen Pen, where has she been? There’s also Nas, Chinky..
P: We got John Otto, too. He’s the drummer from Limp Bizkit. You know, everybody just came through and showed love. We were on tour with Limp Bizkit for the Murda Muzik album so that’s how I met John Otto. I told him we were doing a movie and he came through and did his part. And Queen Pen, she’s a good friend of ours. We do a lot of music with her and she came through and did her part. Nas, he’s from da hood so you know he had to come through. Everybody just came through and showed love. I wrote parts for specific people and they just came through and did it.
Why did you decide to go straight to DVD/video versus bringing this movie to the big screen?
P: Basically because it’s our first movie. This is our first time trying the waters in Hollywood so were like let’s not take the big step for theaters right now, but start off straight to DVD. Get people use to use and then get our money up and then we can get a bigger budget for the next one. Basically, it’s the way I wrote it that’s it’s just for DVD. I didn’t write it so it can be played in theaters. You know when you go to the movies and you’re spending your money at a movie theater you wanna see something ill, you know what I mean. And Murda Muzik is real ill, but it’s like gutter, you know what I mean. If I was to make it for theaters, they would tell me oh gotta take this part out, you gotta water it down, it’s too violent. They be on some real double standard stuff with urban films. So I was like the best way to get our point across is just do it on DVD this way it can be uncensored and we can do what we wanna do.
Who are some of the artists whose music appears in the movie?
P: We got Nas, Littles, Noyd, Mobb Deep, Chinky. Basically that’s about it. Just the clik, the whole Queensbridge. A lot of up and coming dudes from Queensbridge, too.
Isn’t 50 Cent on there?
P: Yeah, 50′s on there. It’s just a nice soundtrack that we got going with the movie.
Let’s talk about the Mobb Deep music project. What’s this the 5th or 6th album?
P: Yeah, it’s the 5th Mobb Deep album and you know it’s gangsta. It’s like right now, we started from a clean slate. We were on Loud (Records) for a real long time. Loud folded and got brought out by SONY and we were like man, let’s start our own company. We’ve been in the game for a long time and we’ve learned a lot so it’s time for us to form our own company. So we made a joint venture with Jive (Records). It’s poppin’ now we’ve got Infamous Records, we got the film department so it’s going good. So far so good.
So you’re branching out and doing big things and that’s all good. So Amerikaz Nightmare, what’s that all about?
P: Amerikaz Nightmare basically means Mobb Deep is back. We’re here and we’re not playing games. We got our business together and it’s like our hood music, our “murda muzik” is for the world. We feel like when people was thinking about Mobb Deep, they were thinking, oh they have dark beats, their lyrics is violent or they just some wild kids. So we just took that and was aiight, that’s what they think about, that’s what they want to call us so let’s give it to them how they want it. That’s why we named the title “Murda Muzik”. Then we made another title, “Infamy”, “Infamous”, “Hell On Earth”. All our titles we just try to make it real graphic and with the title you just go damn, these kids are real so that’s how we came up with the idea for “Amerikaz Nightmare”. We’re young, black, we getting paper and that’s America’s nightmare right there.
When is the CD expected to drop?
P: The CD will be out at the end of June going into July.
Has you determined what the first single is going to be?
P: We got the first single right now banging on the radio called “Got It Twisted”. Benny Boom just shot the video for it. That will be out real soon in a few weeks.
Who are some of the guest performers on “Americaz Nightmare”
P: Havoc did 90% of the production on the album. We got Alchemist who did a few joints, he’s new to the camp. Kanye West did a joint for us. Red Spider did something for us. We got Nate Dogg on a chorus. A lot of fire on there.
You had your solo CD out and you did well. Do you prefer being with the group or perhaps doing some more solo projects?
P: I like doing both. I love Mobb Deep we ain’t never gonna break. We’re always going to continue to put out that gangsta for the world, but at the same time, in between projects, I like to do my own thing and get that extra bit of money. We just don’t have Mobb Deep. We also got Prodigy’s solo albums, Havoc’s solo albums. We got a lot of music and like we gotta get it out there somehow. Sometimes there’s a Mobb Deep album there’s only like 17 songs that can fit on there and we be having 200 songs. So we take some songs for my solo album and some for Havoc’s solo album so no music is wasted.
I actually interviewed you and Havoc way back in the beginning of Mobb Deep’s career when ya’ll came through to do a show @ SUNY Albany. I think it was in ’95 when “The Infamous” came out. Nine years later, ya’ll still doing it.
P: Yeah, no doubt.
How’s Havoc doing? I know Halloween 2003 Mobb Deep was headed up this way to Cohoes, NY to do a show at The Cohoes Complex and Havoc got hemmed up?
P: Hav’s alright. Chilling. Everybody’s all good. We’re gonna come back out there and bless them with a performance. We’ll chill out there real soon.
What advice would you like to share with rap artists coming up in the game?
P: Number one, you gotta have that fire in your heart. If you ain’t got that fire in your heart and the desire to succeed and be persistent, then it’s not for you. You gonna fold. There’s a lot of stuff in this game that will make you frustrated, but you just gotta take it in stride and keep going. Everybody’s not gonna feel you, but you gotta lot of work to put in just for the world to feel your music. Nothing happens overnight it takes a long time. You gotta be serious about it and know that this is what you wanna do.
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