Prodigy Breaks Down His 25 Most Essential Songs

Mobb Deep “Quiet Storm” (1999)

Produced by: Havoc

Prodigy: “Hav was in the studio all day and I came late at night and these niggas was making a beat. Hav had the old Melly Mel song ‘White Lines’ sampled. After he laid the drum pattern, he added the piano—the piano is what puts that whole beat together—and then him and Noyd were like, ‘Yo, we going to pick up shorties.’ I was like, ‘Y’all niggas leaving? Let’s do this song, this shit is fire right here.’ They like, ‘Nah, we’ll be right back.’

“They bounced and I’m in the studio dolo. I’m like, ‘Fuck it. I’m going in on this beat right now.’ I sat there and wrote the whole song in like an hour and I recorded it. I was like, ‘I’m not leaving any room for anyone else to get on this shit, this is too ill.’ I was already working on my solo album so I was like, ‘Gimme this shit. I’m taking this beat. This is for my album nigga.’ [Laughs.] That was my whole mentality.

“I was coming clean like, ‘I spent too many nights, sniffing coke, getting right/Wasting my life, now I’m trying to make things right,’ because that’s how I was living. I felt like I had cleaned my life at that time. I wasn’t using anything, no drugs, no alcohol. I was living correctly and trying to make things right.

“I recorded that shit and these niggas never came back to the studio. I bounced and played it for niggas the next day and they were like, ‘That’s cool.’ They didn’t understand or see the power of that record. I called DJ Clue and was like, ‘Son, I got this song that I want you to put on a mixtape.’ Clue put it on every single mixtape that he put out that year. Usually a DJ will put it on one mixtape, but he kept putting it on all his mixtapes.

“Then, we were in the Tunnel—because that was our club, every Sunday we were there—and Clue is DJing. All of a sudden he threw on ‘Quiet Storm’—it was called ‘White Lines’ at the time because I didn’t even have a title for it. This shit ain’t mixed, it ain’t mastered, it sounds like shit, but he played it in the club and people were actually dancing to it. I guess they knew it from the mixtapes.

“I’m bugging off of this shit because I ain’t never seen some shit like that before. You don’t play a song in the club unless it’s a single, it’s getting radio play, unless people know that shit. This nigga played the song from a mixtape in the Tunnel nigga. The Tunnel holds like four thousand people. That’s not somewhere where you fuck around and play a song that niggas are probably not going to like.

“I’m looking at people’s reaction to it and they dancing and having a good time. We go back to the Tunnel, he plays it again. He starts playing it every Sunday or whoever is filling in, they’re playing it too. And from there the song just took off. After he started playing it in the Tunnel they started playing it on the radio and this is the unmixed version. This is for a year straight before we actually dropped it as a single.”

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