Review Summary: It's a weak hip hop album with HIGHLIGHTS!
Havoc's newest album Hidden Files
is somewhat an oddity in Havoc's and ultimately Mobb Deep's discography. At very rare times it will resemble the past to which the group belongs, in the gloomy 90s era NY hip hop, but for the most part it drifts into mostly modern music and at times adds a sort of danceable feel to the music. It's not anything really new; in fact, the worst of the material here resembles the best of Blood Money
, aka comical mainstream rap fronting as 'dark' and 'gangsta' (G-Unit style material), while the best is upbeat, danceable, and catchy while keeping a dark undertone and at times a little experimentation on Havoc's part behind the boards.
The album opens up with a song that sounds completely out of place in all of Havoc’s entire discography, with “Can’t Be Touched”. It contains a certain futuristic spacey atmosphere, and it has a certain danceable vibe, while the chorus contains an extravagant storm of classical-esqe violins. The song is easily among the best Havoc and friends have to offer, but it’s only around two minutes and thirty seconds long. This album suffers what is essentially the same problem The Kush
, only extended to the negatives. After the exciting “Can’t Be Touched”, we get the boring Blood Money
-esqe “I Clap Em Up”, which attempts to be Mobb Deep but falters because it is hazardly produced and obnoxious, and the embarrassing “Watch Me”, which is ruined by Ricky Blaze’s A(kon)-Pain impression in the chorus and the boring looped power chords.
While Havoc’s heart is still in the streets, he’s got that with a new perspective. He’s more over the top and glossy with it. In that way, Hidden Files
is much more like Blood Money
than any Mobb Deep-affiliated before it. Because of that, some of the hooks sound a bit uninspired, and the rapping for the most part has that same drained gangster feel. But you know what? This doesn’t really matter, because with Havoc albums, we aren’t really looking at his lyrics. Instead we are looking at beats, and even then, it’s done with a certain new look and perspective considering the backlash towards his underrated debut The Kush
, and it’s kind of mixed. With the mention of the opening trio, we see that the album is a mixture of Good, Bad, and Ugly. With every “You Treated Me”, the epic violin and musical sample-o-thon featuring the hustler Cassidy, there are tracks made like “My Life”, with layers of synths that attempt to make a gangster atmosphere and only half succeed, while there are also tracks like the embarrassing “That’s My World” which experiments with cartoon-like effects and conga drums and simply sounds like a mess.
The album pretty much follows in that fashion. For every experimental work of brilliance, there is some experimental pieces that will totally bore, and some regular New York stuff done worse than ever before. Havoc’s lyrics still suck, but they are ignorable at best, so here is the conclusion with this album; The beats overall are weaker than they are on The Kush
, but the highlights completely demolish anything from that album. So yes, Hidden Files
is overall a weaker album than The Kush
, but if you come in expecting some decent beats, then you’ve come to the right place, and occasionally you might find a few gems. And maybe, if you really are into generic gangsta talk, then you might well like this album in its fullness. Probably not though.
2.7 out of 5