Produced by: Q-Tip
Co-produced by: Mobb Deep
Prodigy: “‘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. 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.
“It was like, ‘Damn, they caught Black.’ We went to the studio that night, we were all emotional about it because that’s Hav’s brother. That’s a serious charge, so we just made a song dedicated to Killa about how his situation went down, how he was on the run, and how he got caught. If you listen to it, it’s not directly saying exactly what happened, it’s just saying some shit went down.”
Havoc: “Q-Tip brought in a female vocalist that he was cool with at the time named Crystal Johnson. I had named the song ‘Temperatures Rising’ already and Q-Tip came and changed the beat. I had a song with the hook, ‘Temperatures Rising’ and we kinda scrapped that and let Q-Tip do it over.
“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.’ It wasn’t like nothing to be like, ‘Thanks.’ [Laughs.] It was what it was.”
Q-Tip: “[The original version had an Al Green sample that they couldn’t clear that Havoc did]. I remember Havoc saying like, ‘Yeah, I wanna flip this. I like this but I wanted it to have more of that shit.’ Like I said, [he wanted] that Queens shit. That Queens shit is like Patrice Rushen’s ‘Forget Me Nots’ [Ed. Note—This song actually samples Patrice Rushen's 'Where There Is Love'].
"That Queens shit is you in the party, it’s four in the morning and niggas is highed up. You see this girl and you try to talk to her, but niggas is about to come to your back and apply pressure. They got them joints out and that shit is playing. ‘Forget Me Not’ [was] the perfect [sample for that]. It was just some real smooth criminal shit.”
Matty C a.k.a. Matt Life (Executive Producer and A&R for Loud Records): “We loved that one. The original [beat] had a Quincy Jones sample [that Havoc did]. But we either couldn’t clear it or it was too expensive. To be honest, I forgot the exact reason why we didn’t go with [the original]. But Tip liked it, wanted to redo it, so he did.
“Tip also introduced us all to Crystal Johnson. She had some success at Uptown Records with the Who’s the Man soundtrack. Then she was also coaching Mary J. Blige and Faith Evans on singing when she was up there. Tip has a working relationship with her on a couple of other things and she came in there and we were all just like, ‘Wow!’ She was super-professional. She knew her way around the boards too, not just on the mic.
“Here we are stepping beyond the realm of the red brick brigade, hip-hop shit. It’s so good. The Notorious B.I.G. was over there getting it on a more R&B level. It was kind of comedy because I was always trying to stay in that hardcore hip-hop zone and even telling Puff when I brought B.I.G. there, ‘Don’t put him in no shiny suit and all that. Keep it camouflage.’
"In reality, seeing them take it to that next level, it was funny because ‘Temperature’s Rising’ became that record for Mobb Deep. Me and Biggie used to kick it everyday and he used to always push, ‘Yo, y’all should make that the single,’ but they didn’t want to be that group that had to go that route. Biggie was an artist that was being made to take that route.”