Today, the hip-hop world is stunned by the news that Prodigy, one half of influential 90’s New York duo Mobb Deep, has passed away. Prodigy, born Albert Johnson, died in a Las Vegas earlier today. According to a statement from his publicist, he 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.”
Known for their shocking lyrical and sonic depictions of gangland urban culture in New York and the imagery of drugs and guns featured prominently in their album artwork, Mobb Deep became controversial yet influential figures in the hardcore gangsta rap scene during the mid ’90’s. At the time of his death, Prodigy and his Mobb Deep cohort Havoc had been on the road with the traveling Art of Rap festival, and were coming off a performance featuring Ice-T, KRS-One, Big Daddy Kane, Wu Tang Clan’s Raekwon and Ghostface Killah, Onyx, and more. As of now, there is no word on how the tour will continue without Prodigy. The next date for the traveling festival is scheduled for June 30th at New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ.
The news of Prodigy’s passing was first publicized when fellow New York rap pioneer Nas posted about the late MC on his Instagram page earlier today with the caption “QB RIP King P. Prodigy 4 Ever.”
While we wait for more information about Prodigy’s untimely death to arise, we’ll be bumping Mobb Deep and remembering the massive influence he and Havoc had on the rise of East Coast hip-hop’s golden age.
Rest East, Prodigy…there still ain’t no such thing as halfway crooks.
[Cover photo via Billboard]