Prodigy of Mobb Deep dead!
Prodigy, one-half of the seminal New York City hip-hop outfit Mobb Deep has been confirmed dead. Kathy Iandoli, a co-author on one of his books, confirmed his death a while ago.
The rapper had been hospitalized for complications caused by sickle cell anemia prior to his death, but the exact cause of his death is yet to be announced. Prodigy had been in Las Vegas for a Mobb Deep performance.
A statement released by Rolling Stone read thus;
“It is with extreme sadness and disbelief that we confirm the death of our dear friend Albert Johnson, better known to millions of fans as Prodigy of legendary NY rap duo Mobb Deep,” the statement read. “Prodigy was hospitalized a few days ago in Vegas after a Mobb Deep performance for complications caused by a sickle cell anemia crisis. As most of his fans know, Prodigy battled the disease since birth. The exact causes of death have yet to be determined. We would like to thank everyone for respecting the family’s privacy at this time.”
Prodigy and his Mobb Deep cohort, Havoc, grew up together in Queens, New York City and broke into hip-hop with a raw, vivid and vicious distillation of East Coast gangsta rap. The pair released their first demo together in 1992 under the name Poetical Prophets, which they followed up a year later with their Mobb Deep debut, Juvenile Hell. While that record wasn’t well received, their 1995 follow-up The Infamous, remains a hardcore NYC classic and features one of the group’s signature songs, “Shook Ones Pt. II.”
The Juvenile Hell project didn’t generate much buzz, but the duo found more success with their sophomore album “The Infamous.”
With its gritty rhymes and contributions by the artists Nas and Raekwon, the album helped launch Mobb Deep to the top of the hardcore, hip hop ladder.
Their 1996 follow-up, “Hell on Earth,” included the single “Drop a Gem on ‘Em,” which was a response to a Tupac diss track, “Hit ‘Em Up.”
Prodigy detailed his beef with Tupac in a 2012 interview with Hip Hop DX.
“When we made ‘The Infamous,’ we had a song called ‘Survival of the Fittest,'” the rapper explained. ” On that song, in the beginning, my man that came home from jail…in the beginning of the song, he says, ‘Thug life, we still living.'”
“Tupac was the one who was most known for saying that,” Prodigy said. “So I think that pissed Tupac off a little bit.”
Mobb Deep was entangled in the East Coast/West Coast rapper rivalry of the ’90s.
After West Coast rappers Snoop Dogg and Tha Dogg Pound released the single “New York, New York,” Mobb Deep, along with Capone-N-Noreaga and Tragedy Khadafi, countered with the track “L.A L.A.”
Prodigy and Havoc would release eight records together as Mobb Deep, with their last, The Infamous Mobb Deep, arriving in 2014.
In 2000, Prodigy launched his solo career with H.N.I.C. and would go on to release an array of solo records and mixtapes, as well as collaborations with producers such as the Alchemist and Big Twins and Un Pacino. In January, Prodigy released his last solo record, Hegelian Dialectic (The Book of Revelation).
Johnson was mourned on social media Tuesday by many fellow artists, including rapper Nas, who was the first to post about Johnson’s death.
“Damn. RiP to the great one Prodigy,” rapper Lil Wayne tweeted. “Rap game lost a legend the world lost a G. [Prayers] to and for his fam. Love. MOBB”