1995 was an incredible time for hip hop music. Here’s just a few of the albums dropped that year: Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…, 2Pac’s Me Against the World, Ol’ Dirty’s Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s E. 1999 Eternal and GZA’s Liquid Swords.
Standing tall amongst all these classic albums is Mobb Deep’s The Infamous, a timeless, hyper-realistic look at the day-to-day life in the Queensbridge housing projects.
Prodigy’s dead-eyed, menacing flow and demonic voice combined with Havoc’s knack for conjuring up hell on earth beats (with some help from Q-Tip) made The Infamous one of the grimiest hip hop albums of the ’90s.
From “Survival of the Fittest” to “Give Up the Goods (Just Step)” to “Trife Life”, it felt like Mobb Deep were projecting exactly what they were going through on the streets straight through the speakers with crystal clear clarity. While most of the songs were grounded in the duo’s reality, it turns out “Temperature’s Rising” was actually based on a true story that was unfolding right in front of their eyes.
In his 2011 autobiography My Infamous Life, Prodigy revealed that the song was about Havoc’s brother, Killa Black, who had just murdered a man over Walkman speakers and was on the run from the police.
“Temperature’s Rising’ is a song that happened when Hav’s brother [Killa Black] had went through a little murder situation and he was on the run from the police,” Prodigy said in a Complex interview. “The Ds caught him and when we found out about it, we were on our way to the studio, so we decided to make the song about what was really happening in our lives. Everything we say about that shit is real. That’s what really happened.”
Havoc: We laid our feelings on the page and took it from there. As I wrote, it just flew out of my pen. I was kinda just telling [Killer Black], ‘Hold your head up. We’re thinking about you. Everything is gonna be alright.’ At the end, he did get arrested, but we won trial. We beat the rap basically. He liked it when he heard it. He was like, ‘Oh shit.’ But at the time, there wasn’t really too much to like because when you’re faced with a situation like that nothing really excites you. You’re just trying to get over the hump. But later on it was just like, ‘You made a song about me.’The Making of Mobb Deep’s ‘The Infamous’ | Complex