Havoc of South Central Cartel Recalls the Time Guru Had to Intervene Between SCC & Mobb Deep
Jack the Rapper was the home of numerous memorable moments in hip-hop. In the early '90s, the annual convention was the place to see and be seen for rappers across the country. It's understandable that a lot of incidents went down at the event, which officially held its last convention in 1996.
While Mobb Deep was bubbling in the early '90s on the East Coast, South Central Cartel was doing the same on the West Coast. The thing is, both groups ironically had members with the same name—Havoc and Prodigy. Though the spellings were different—Prodeje (SCC) and Prodigy (Mobb Deep)—the coincidence didn't sit well with the young Mobb Deep members.
When the two groups met up at Jack the Rapper in Atlanta in 1993, things came to a head.
"We received documentation from Havoc and Prodigy saying that we stole their name," Havoc of SCC recalled to the Real Gully TV. "But remember me and Prodeje had been 'Havoc and Prodeje' since like '87, '88," he said, referencing their late '80s album, Living In a Crime Wave which prominently featured their individual group names on the front of the album cover.
Mobb Deep's Prodigy recalled the first time he saw SCC shared the same names in a magazine on the Juan Epstein Podcast.
"I heard about these dudes, South Central Cartel, I seen them in the magazine, months before Jack the Rapper. Like,' Havoc and Prodeje'?" Mobb Deep's Prodigy remembered.
By the time Jack the Rapper rolled around, the hatred on Mobb Deep's end, was boiling.
"I see these n***as, and I'm like, 'That's these n***as!'" Prodigy of Mobb Deep recalled. "So I step to them like what's your name? Y'all stole our name. They were like, 'Nah, it ain't like that. Y'all just the East Coast and we the West Coast Havoc and Prodigy."
SCC's Havoc remembers a young Mobb Deep approaching him in the Marriott hotel lobby at the convention.
"Two little bitty young dudes ran up on me because I got on a link chain with a big 'Havoc' on it," he remembered. "They sweated me about the name Havoc, saying that I stole the name. I'm looking like, 'damn, these are like kids to me.' I said, 'N***a, I ain't stole s**t!' and right when that happened Guru from Gang Starr pulled up on me."
Guru, who was one of the most respected people in hip-hop, regardless of coast affiliation, pulled some magic out of his hat, as Havoc recalls.
"He did some shit real quick and calmed the little n**as down," Havoc remembers.
DJ Premier recalled the incident on Sway in the Morning.
"[Mobb Deep was] upset about South Central Cartel having the same name as Prodigy and Havoc. They're in the lobby, and they're walking around with no shirts on looking like they're 12 years-old with their little Hennessy glasses, looking underage. They run into each other, and Mobb Deep is like, 'We're Prodigy and Havoc! F**k that! And South Central Cartel is like, 'F**k Mobb Deep!' And they're going at it. I had to get in between them and give them the logical solution to the whole thing. I said, 'First of all, Y'all are Mobb Deep and 'Prodigy' and 'Havoc' is your handle name. Y'all are South Central Cartel and 'Havoc' and 'Prodeje' is your handle name. So, y'all are not called that as the name of your groups.' I said, 'Dr. Dre don't be having with Dr. Dre from MTV Raps.' And they were like, 'Yeah, you right, you right. It's all good. 'Next thing you know, we all got drunk together, smoked together and had a blast. They became friends."
To this day, Havoc of SCC says he respects Guru for keeping the peace, and not taking sides just because Mobb Deep was from the East Coast.
"He was just a good dude, rest in peace," he said. "I got love for him to this day... I gave him major respect."
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