The hip-hop community is mourning the terrible loss of rapper Prodigy, one-half of the Queens, N.Y. rap duo Mobb Deep. The rap vet reportedly has passed away today (June 20).
News first broke after Nas posted a photo of Prodigy on his Instagram page with the caption, “QB RIP King P. Prodigy 4 Ever.”
According to XXL, the 42-year-old was hospitalized in Las Vegas several days ago due to “complications caused by a sickle cell anemia crisis.” Prodigy, whose real name is Albert Johnson, has battled the disease since birth.
“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,” a rep said in a statement. “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, along with Havoc, formed Mobb Deep in 1992 and brought a new and raw energy during the golden era of New York rap with their classic 1995 album, The Infamous. The collection featured several gritty street anthems including “Shook Ones, Part II,” “Eye for Eye” (featuring Nas) and “Survival of the Fittest.”
Overall, Mobb Deep recorded eight studio albums together during their illustrious career. Their last effort was 2014’s The Infamous Mobb Deep, a double CD project in celebration of the 20th anniversary of The Infamous. One half featured songs from The Infamous LP, the other half contained brand new tracks from the rap tandem.
From 1995 to 1997, Mobb Deep also found themselves embroiled in the East Coast Vs. West Coast rap rivalry after Tha Dogg Pound released the “New York, New York” video where they kicked down the Twin Towers. The rap duo took this as an affront to their beloved city and appeared on the response song, “L.A., L.A.,” along with Capone-N-Noreaga and Tragedy Khadafi. 2Pac would later attacked Mobb Deep on his legendary diss track, “Hit Em Up.”
In 2000, Prodigy embarked on a successful solo career with his H.N.I.C. LP trilogy and his collaborative projects with the Alchemist, including the 2013 effort, Albert Einstein.
During his solo career, Prodigy also had several run-ins with the law. In November 2003, Prodigy was arrested in New York and charged with third degree criminal possession of a weapon and unlawful possession of marijuana. Three years later, Prodigy was busted again with criminal possession of weapon after police found a .22 caliber handgun during a traffic stop.
In October 2007, Prodigy was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for illegal possession of a firearm after accepting a plea deal with prosecutors. In March 2011, Prodigy was released from prison on good behavior and stayed on parole until 2014.
Mobb Deep’s last New York-era performance together was at Hot 97’s Summer Jam concert earlier this month where they performed with Joey Bada$$ during his set.
This is such a terrible loss to hip-hop. Prodigy will be sorely missed. We want to send our prayers and condolences to Prodigy’s family and friends. May he rest in peace.