Prodigy of the iconic hip-hop duo Mobb Deep has died. He was 42 years old.
Born Albert Johnson in Hempstead, New York, Prodigy was a lifelong Queensbridge supporter as one-half of Mobb Deep, along with Havoc. The group’s publicist confirmed that Prodigy was found unconscious this morning, after suffering some sort of health issue within the last few days. He was known to have struggled with sickle cell disease for most of his life.
Prodigy was in Las Vegas over the weekend, performing with the Art of Rap tour, along with Ghostface Killah, Onyx, KRS-One, and Ice-T. Mobb Deep performed Saturday night.
P was known for having a singular rap style; a laid-back, spoken word style flow that was style aggressive and convincing with every threat and boast. When he rapped, “Rock you in the face, stab your brain with your nose bone,” on “Shook Ones,” arguably Mobb Deep’s most well-known track, it was as believable as if he said he tied his shoes to go running. While Mobb’s output slowed down in recent years, their impact on the rap game has been permanent and undeniable.
Debuting in 1993 with Juvenile Hell, the group would go on to have critical and commercial success on their next two releases, The Infamous and Hell On Earth. They would come to exemplify gritty, hardcore, NY rap for the latter part of the decade, and became embroiled in feuds with both Tupac and Jay Z. After a relatively short falling out with Nas, they got a second shot via a short-lived stint on G-Unit records, and eventually went all-indie for their final release, The Infamous Mobb Deep.
Prodigy himself saw success as a solo artist as well; his 2000 album H.N.I.C. was certified gold by the RIAA. He was acknowledged recently by former rival Jay Z as an inspiration and influence. Prodigy’s indelible style will be missed and saluted throughout hip-hop today.
Mobb’s publicist issued the following statement, via XXL
“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. 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.”
More updates to follow as information becomes available.
Rest In Peace, King.