Google Images: Prodigy of Mobb Deep
June is historically known as Black Music Month, A time when music of the African American culture is celebrated. Well it use to be like that, There use to be different music specials that would come on and many album releases would come out during this time.
The music nerd in me still looks forward to this time of year even though things in music has changed greatly I still celebrate Black Music Month. Well this year this month on June 20th. Hip-Hop has lost a very valuable member of the community. Albert Johnson better known as Prodigy, 1/2 of rap duo Mobb Deep passed away at the age of 42 years old.
Currently as of late his death is still being reported that the cause may have been due complications of sickle cell anemia. Prodigy was born with the disease and if anyone is familiar with Mobb Deep music. He has rapped numerous times about dealing with sickle cell anemia. Prodigy and Tboz from TLC who also suffers from the disease. Has to me in my personal opinion has been the faces of sickle cell anemia from a celebrity level.
"Sickle cell is a genetic blood disorder caused by the presence of an abnormal form of hemoglobin. Sickle red cells die after only about 10 to 20 days. Instead of the usual 120 days or so. Because they cannot be replaced fast enough, the blood is chronically short of red cells, causing anemia. The gene for sickle cell anemia must be inherited from both parents for the illness to occur in children. A child with only one copy of the gene may have sickle-cell traits but no symptoms of illness". - Medicinenet.com
Sickle Cell is common trait that African Americans carry through genetic traits. Fans of Mobb Deep was often educated through Prodigy on what it is like to live with Sickle Cell disease. He was very transparent about living with the disease. Since Prodigy passing there has been a non stop dialogue about Sickle cell awareness and I hope the conversation keeps going and hopefully lead us to a cure.
Mobb Deep entered the rap seen in 1993 with their debut album Juvenile hell, this was at tale end of Another Bad Creation/Kris Kross era of Teenage rappers in hip hop. Mobb Deep who was nineteen years old at the time. They were on different level then their younger peers. In one their first videos they was walking around with machetes, Prodigy was walking around shirtless and showing off his tattoos.
Spring 1995 was a year of game changing Hip Hop albums and when speaking of classic Hip Hop albums. The Infamous is probably the first album mentioned, east coast hip hop was booming in 1995. A year prior classic albums from the Nas (Illmatic) and Biggie (Ready To Die) debut was dominating music also the solo release of Method Man (Tical) was blazing up the charts (no pun intended).
Mobb Deep owned 1995 with The Infamous, I was fourteen at the time, what I do remember going into that summer anyone that owned a car I guarantee on a warm summer day. You were going to hear songs from that album. Shook Ones part II gave Mobb Deep the stamp of approval in Hip-Hop "I got you stuck off the realness, You heard of us, official Queensbridge murderers, The Mobb comes equipped for warfare." - Prodigy verse from Shook Ones Part II
That opening line, I don't care what I am doing where I am going or what is happening. I am going to be rapping along on my east coast shit. That video was so dope first of all Prodigy and Havoc had on football Jersey's and not of their favorite teams. No their jersey had Hennessy written on them, yes the brown hard liquor. The Infamous lead us on a journey through the trial and tribulations of Prodigy and Havoc.
Prodigy had a certain delivery and cadence with his lyrics, when he rapped he was able to paint a picture for the listening audience for us see while we were listening. Sometimes he didn't always rhyme or place words together that made sense. But Prodigy made it work, he was one of the select few artist that could get away with that in my opinion.
Mobb Deep continued on to release more albums, such as 1996 Hell on Earth, 1999 Murda Muzik, which also has the certified banger Quiet Storm remix feat Lil Kim. In the year 2000 Prodigy released his debut solo album H.N.I.C which boasted singles "Keep It Thoro" & my favorite "YBE (Young Black Entrepreneurs) feat B.G".
The duo came back together and release more albums such as 2001 Infamy, 2004 Amerikaz Nightmare. 2006 Blood Money and many more projects as well as more solo Prodigy projects. Mobb Deep stayed pretty consistent from the 90s through the 2000s releasing music. Unfortunately during their run Prodigy in late 2007 went away to serve time in jail for illegal possession of having fire arms.
He was released from prison in early 2011 and later on became a author and released his book titled "My infamous life". Which was a really good book that detailed Prodigy life up until 2011. He even came out with his own cookbook later on.
One thing I will remember most about Prodigy outside of his music, is that he was one of the few artists that gave great interviews. Very articulate, well spoken and sometimes outspoken. He will definitely be missed in the game. When the news spread of Prodigy passing in Las Vegas it was very heart breaking to hear.
As someone who grew up listening to Mobb Deep, it such a great loss to hip hop music. With the state of current hip hop, It was great to see the overwhelming love for Prodigy. I would like to chime in on this and Master P said this as well. Recently the BET awards happened this past Sunday and Master P mentioned how last week Prodigy probably was not even allowed to attend the awards.
We have do a better job of respecting our artists while they are still here, give them the flowers now. I will have more on this and BET awards next post
R.I.P Albert "Prodigy" Johnson 1974- 2017, Rhyme In Peace Prodigy........
2015 Prodigy Interview with Peter Bailey from YouTube.
Mobb Deep Shook Ones Part II Vevo/Youtube