The death of US Hip Hop artist Prodigy has indeed dealt a huge blow to the music industry and the Hip Hop nation in particular. The legendary rapper from Queens, New York worked together with Havoc on the classic album “The Infamous” which included the hit single “Shook Ones”.
The cause of death is yet to be determined. He was hospitalized after a show in Vegas for complications related to sickle cell anemia, a condition he had been battling since birth.
Prodigy was born Albert Johnson had a solid music background; his grandfather Albert “Budd” Johnson was a saxophonist and clarinetist who worked with likes of Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Goodman. His mother Fatima Johnson was a member of The Crystals, a 60s r&b group.
The late rapper met his Mobb Deep mate Havoc while in High School where they later formed what later became one of the most respected group in Hip Hop circles.
Mobb Deep’s first record deal as teens saw the release of “Juvenile Hell” in 1993, but it was their second album “The Infamous” that propelled the duo to the highest levels of success. The album which featured the classic “Shook Ones” had contributions from Nas and Wu Tang’s Raekwon. “Hell on Earth” was to follow six years later at a time when the beef between West Coast and East Coast was at peak. Prodigy and Tupac were at this time not seeing eye-to-eye, at one time Tupac taking jabs at Prodigy over his sickle cell condition.
Other Mobb Deep projects include: Murda Muzik (1999), Infamy (2001), Ameriakaz Nightmare (2004), Blood Money (2006) and The Infamous Mobb Deep (2014) Murda Muzik sold over 2m copies and was certified platinum.
The MC who is credited for helping forge the sound of New York Hip Hop, made his solo debut in 2000 with the release of “H.N.I.C.” where he continued his brazen raps and uncompromising approach to issues until his death. Havoc and Prodigy at times would not see eye-to-eye leading to a series of scathing attacks published online, but they would later reconcile their differences.
An autobiography “My Infamous Life: The Autobiography of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy” written by Laura Checkoway was published in 2011 detailing the life of the American rapper; his health struggles, career, street life and family. In 2016 he penned "Commissary Kitchen: My Infamous Prison Cookbook” in which he detailed recipes he said were inspired by his 3-year stint in jail after he was jailed for criminal possession of a weapon.
His most recent album “Hegelian Dialectic (The Book of Revelation)”, described as philosophic, was released in January 2017. One of the most sampled MC worked with Conway on Hell Still On Earth EP released in 2016.
Prodigy’s last show was in Vegas with the Art of Rap tour.