Havoc

13

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

As Havoc's solo album 13 (his lucky number) landed on shelves and in download queues, the MC/beatmaker's regular group Mobb Deep was "on hiatus," plus, a "twitter war" was underway with his fellow Mobbster Prodigy. While this album was recorded in the days leading up to this public unraveling of the group, 13 is a much more natural sounding effort than the group's 2009 EP Black Cocaine, and if the 2006 team-up of G-Unit and the Mobb seemed like a gangster-meets-gloss collaboration with great possibilities, the resulting album, Blood Money, was a lifeless dud overall. The kick-off track here, "Gone," is everything Blood Money should have been, wrapped in a song as goon-killing lyrics meet a hypnotic and dark backing track constructed, like most of the album, by Havoc himself. Follow it up with some properly restrained night music ("Favorite Rap Stars" with Raekwon and Styles P), a damned gangsta singalong in true Mobb style (the G-Unit reunion "Life We Chose" with Lloyd Banks), plus some great retro rhythms that suggest Havoc the producer still loves electro ("Eyes Open" with Twista), and 13 already feels more vital than anything the Mobb has done since Amerikaz Nightmare from 2004. Add the worthy single "Tell Me to My Face" with Royce da 5'9" and the ridiculously good, strange, and solid solo cut "Hear Dat" to the second half of the album and Havoc's solo effort seems like a cathartic kiss-off or kinetic gangster celebration. Either way, fans can feed off his renewed energy and increased creativity while agreeing that "on hiatus" certainly beats a hesitant Mobb Deep, at least at this point.

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