WASHINGTON, D.C./ JUNE 18, 2018/ Any real hip-hop fan worth their salt will tell you about the impact that The Infamous Mobb Deep had on the culture and can recite lyrics that Havoc and the late Prodigy blessed us with through their countless bangers, but it was the specific set of Havoc’s own lyrics that he spoke aloud during his first visit to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Since the unexpected and untimely death of his partner in rhyme Prodigy in 2017, Havoc has kept the Mobb Deep legacy going by continuing to do shows and honoring P through social media posts and interviews, reminiscing and discussing the history of the hip-hop duo’s domination of the game. Hav continues to produce, perform and create, as it is part of his DNA, but aside from keeping busy professionally, the legendary MC/producer recently became interested in his family history.
After working with genealogist, Natlee Green of My Black Heritage, Havoc discovered ancestors and history that he was previously unaware of. His own family discoveries ignited a fire in his soul and he wanted to learn more. As a part of his journey to self-discovery, Hav took a trip to the nation’s capital to check out the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
As he walked through the Transatlantic Slave Trade corridor of the Slavery and Freedom Hall, he noticed that the walls were filled with the names of thousands of slave ships which listed the casualties of each journey, which often times exceeded the survivors.
When Havoc saw the countless lives lost at sea, his lyrics which have been recited thousands of times, never resonated so clearly and had such meaning until this moment…”Survival of the fit, only the strong survive…” He spoke these words aloud, as he continued through this vast corridor of the museum, which depicted countless survivors’ vs casualties of the many kidnapped Africans aboard those slave ships.
After spending the morning in the lower levels of the museum, he finally got to the second floor where the Represent: Hip-Hop Photography exhibit is located. Almost as soon as he walked into the room he saw his handwriting on a demo tape of Mobb Deep’s second album, The Infamous, on the wall. Next to the tape was a plaque that declared Havoc and Prodigy as …”Two of hip-hop’s most prolific artists.”
It was at that moment that Havoc truly realized just how connected he was to those unnamed survivors, as they are his history, and he is their present.
Havoc expressed…”The overwhelming feeling of pride that comes from knowing that you have become your ancestor’s wildest dreams is almost too much to absorb. To be recognized as part of my people’s story, our legacy, our journey from bondage to today is something that I am grateful for and proud of.”
The next time he performs those lyrics, “Survival of the fit, only the strong survive” will have a whole new meaning.
Recently a middle school student from New Jersey went viral after rhyming over Mobb Deep’s Quiet Storm Remix beat, and Havoc surprised the 5th grader by presenting him with the first ever Mobb Deep Freestyle Award. He said that using every opportunity that he can to inspire the youth and others who may not see a way out of their current situations is what he plans to do as often as he can.
Havoc continues to be a true example of how the strong not only survive…they inspire and strive.