13 is the third solo album from Havoc, one half of the famous rap duo Mobb Deep. Even though it has been a while since the Mobb came together for a studio release, Havoc has made it a point to stay relevant in today’s industry. Clocking in at less than fifty minutes, 13 is a relatively short listen which is in form with Havoc’s previous albums. He has always been an artist who practiced quality over quantity ever since the early days of Mobb Deep and the result is a positive one. 13 comes across as a complete thought as Havoc uses each track to continue his decades long report on life in the streets. The subject matter is a familiar one but he manages to present it in a way that doesn’t feel stale. This has largely to do with the production which Havoc handles almost exclusively himself. Having total control over the sound of 13 gave him the chance to create an album with a purposeful tone and he does just that. With a dry, dark sound and the well-known haunting piano, it is plain to see that Havoc was trying to recreate the old Mobb Deep feel for this project and he succeeds to varying degrees.
There are some real gems on the album. “Favorite Rap Stars” is set to a beat straight out of 1995 and features solid rhymes from Styles P and Raekwon. “Get Busy” has a nice flow from Havoc over a great instrumental while “Already Tomorrow” shows him at his most reflective and creative. Royce da 5’9” absolutely rips the beat in half on “Tell Me to My Face” to the point where Havoc’s rhymes are almost irrelevant. “Hear Dat” sports the most artistic beat on the album and can be considered one of Havoc’s best.
The problems of the album are more big picture issues. Havoc’s rhymes are not bad by any means but some of the songs can run together when the content matter is so similar. This becomes problematic when featured artist come though and outshine him on tracks such as Royce mentioned above. There are other minor gripes. “Colder Days” is a song that goes on for two minutes too long and features the laziest rhyming from Havoc. “Eyes Open” does have a great verse from Twista but the beat itself feels out of place when compared to other songs on the album.
At the end of the day, 13 is another entry in the long running discography of one of rap’s most famous artists. Havoc presents more of what fans love and shows no signs of slowing down in the future.