ON LOCATION: 5Pointz
Within walking distance of the Queensbridge PJs, and across the street from the P.S.1 Art Center, is the Technicolor warehouse 5 Pointz, where the only “shook ones” to be found are cans of Krylon and Belton spray paint. Out of the reach of 5-O, graf heads can find refuge in this still active warehouse as long as they get the right to write.
“Basically it’s the only place in New York, where anyone can pick up a can and create a [legal] mural,” explain 5 Pointz C.E.O. MERES. “To obtain a permit writers bring samples of their work and it’s as simple as that”
While MERES does not own the 200,000 square foot spot, he runs 5 Pointz with the help of fellow writers NICONE and TOPAZ and together they have made it their goal to cover every inch. “We’ve used ladders and cherry pickers to reach the high spots,” brags MERES. “I’ll continue till [everything] is wrapped in aerosol murals. Even for those who can’t understand the art can definitely appreciate the spectrum of colors that cover this building.”
The multileveled industrial structure, which can be seen while sitting in Queens Midtown Tunnel morning traffic, boasts 300-400 graffiti pieces on any given day, but keep track, ‘cause with over 1000 new bombs a year, wall space isn’t timeless. 5ptz.com -BRIAN SCOTTO
Story: Matt Barone
Photography: David Yellen
Thus, the 13-year career of these Queensbridge legends has been far from RIDES on wax. “We’ve always rapped from the perspective of kids on the block,” reasons Albert “Prodigy” Johnson. “Niggas on the corner aren’t driving around in fancy cars. They’re doing dirt to get that.”
Leave it to empire-in-the-flesh 50 Cent to alter one’s modest mindset. Inducting Havoc and P into his G-Unit Familia in mid-2005, Fif (as the Mobb often refers to him) turned St. Nick, copping them twin silver Porsche Turbo S roadsters. “These cats move with major money, so it was nothing for Fif,” says Kejuan “Havoc” Muchita, who also owns a GT3 Porsche, a Range Rover and a G500. “For us, it was unbelievable. It just proved to us that this G-Unit move was destiny.” Mobb faithful, breathe easy. The newfound Guerillas prom- ise that their upcoming seventh album—their first on G-Unit Records—Blood Money, will remain genuinely raw. Affirms Prodigy, “We just have more paper and power now to get [our music] heard.” Not to mention Fif and his eye-popping whip-gifts for the TRL crowd.
RIDES: It’s no secret that Boss Fif bought the Mobb matching Porsche Turbos as a G-Unit signing bonus. So, are you guys missing Jive Records yet?
PRODIGY: [laughs] People probably thought we’d feel sad about that Jive situation. Really, we were jumping for joy, and a day later, 50 called Havoc and told him that he wanted to sign us. Like a few weeks after that, Fif was like, “I got a surprise for y’all. I got you some Porsches.” Just as a bonus, non-recoupable. Just to welcome us into the family. He was like, “P, I want people to see the difference now.”
One big difference is the Porsches’ stick shift control. Were your skills already up to stick shift?
PRODIGY: Well, neither one of us knew how to drive stick, so I had to learn that same day. My little cousin showed me how in this hooptie the day before I got the Porsche. It took me like a half hour, because I know how to ride motorcycles.
HAVOC: The first day, it was hard, but by the third day, I had it down. I was learning in the Porsche, so people were like, “Why are you using that car? You’ll mess up the clutch.” I didn’t mess anything up, though.
Hav, where is your Turbo? Word on the street is that you experienced a fender-bender with the quickness.
HAVOC: It was some real freak shit. I was in Queens, waiting for a light to change. I was like five cars behind the light, and traffic was coming in back of us. There was this van directly in my lane, and I was looking in my rear-view. The van was speeding up, getting closer and closer. There was nowhere for me to merk off, so I was assed out. It crashed into my back doing like 30 mph.
You must have been stuck off the realness, huh?
HAVOC: I didn’t even have the car for two weeks, so I wanted to stab that nigga! I had to really, really calm myself. It was like some- thing fell out the sky and hit me! It’s funny. Even though dudes know it wasn’t my fault, they’ll say, “Havoc crashes cars!” Everybody from Banks to Yayo was like, “I’m not riding with you!” I’m on point. My insurance is great, so they need to chill [laughs].
There’s a war going on outside, but your cars are safe from it. What made you get the armored shields?
HAVOC: These days, you gotta have the armor on your car. In our positions, at ￼least. Everybody guns for the people on top, and that’s where G-Unit is resting. An armored car is smart.
How does one test that? Bucking shots at your own whip?
PRODIGY: Nah, you know that shit is official because the door is like 300 pounds! My mom was trying to get in the car, and she couldn’t even open the door [laughs]. You can throw two grenades on it and nothing would happen.
What caliber of cars were you push- ing prior to the bulletproof features?
PRODIGY: Back then, I had an Acura Coupe and a Sterling. That Sterling was some real imported shit. Niggas hadn’t really seen too many of those on the streets. I had that back when I was like 15, right when we got signed to do Juvenile Hell [in 1993]. I was doing my little dirt, getting money without a license. I had to park my cars down the block so my mom and grandmother wouldn’t see them [laughs].
4th & Broadway Records paychecks must have been chump change compared to your Loud days. Did your fleet’s quality increase with those zeros?
PRODIGY: Hell yeah! We became car motherfuckers to the fullest! Once the money started rolling in, we knew that we could afford new whips. We were buying new cars every week. I used to be on Jamaica Avenue, and there were a lot of used car lots on Hillside Avenue. Back then, I would hit those lots up heavy. Buying mad used cars. I had a Lexus GS, because I had a hook-up. I didn’t have a license, so my man would give me the cars once I showed him cash. He’d hook up the registration and insurance for me, no problem.
What’s the most amount of money y’all have dropped on a car?
PRODIGY: I always wanted the big-body, grandfather Benz. I got a $50,000 check one day, busted it straight cash, and went car shopping on Queens Boulevard. They had an ill blue Benz S320. I paid like $48,000 in cash. That nigga jerked me. It was only worth like $29,000, but I didn’t care. That was the car I wanted since I was younger.
HAVOC: Funny thing is, that’d be nothing nowadays. Back then, if you had a Benz, you were the man. That was like having a Bentley! Now, you aren’t the man if you don’t have a Bentley, and a Benz can be a hooptie. Everybody getting cars way above $100,000.
The Porsche and Lambo here are light on customizations. Not fans of interior or exterior upgrades?
PRODIGY: We did that shit back in the day. When I had my Acura and Sterling, I painted my car money green, had the white and green seats with white piping. I had the green neon lights underneath, and the Hammer rims and air-horns. I look at it now, though, and it’s corny to me. That’s like wearing a Gucci pouch with a matching hat [laughs].
HAVOC: I keep my cars all factory, too. I’ve had some bad experiences where niggas hooked up my rides horribly. TV starts falling out, and the system isn’t balanced out. I don’t have time for all that anymore.
P, according to the rumor mills, you’ve been having time for Ms. Lindsay Lohan. Say you two are set for a late-night creep. Who’s picking whom up?
PRODIGY: Neither one of us would be driving. We’d have a chauffeur. Our time is too precious, we can’t be wasting it behind the wheel. Too much business to handle in the backseat [laughs]!
-March/April 2006 issues of RIDES Magazine