Albert “Prodigy” Johnson, All Day, Mobb Deep, Rest In Peace -

Mobb Deep’s Prodigy dies at 42 The Queensbridge rapper had long battled sickle cell anemia

Albert “Prodigy” Johnson, All Day, Mobb Deep, Rest In Peace -

Mobb Deep’s Prodigy dies at 42 The Queensbridge rapper had long battled sickle cell anemia

He had you stuck off the realness from day one.

Albert “Prodigy” Johnson, half of the seminal 1990’s rap group Mobb Deep, has died at the age of 42, according to Nas’ Instagram account. Known as P, P Double and The HNIC, based on his series of albums by the same name, he had publicly battled sickle cell anemia for some time. He becomes the latest in a line of many rappers of his era to die before age 50, a trend that’s becoming more the norm than the exception.

More specifically, Prodigy was a personal favorite. Ever since he burst onto the scene with the head-cracking anthem “Shook Ones (Part II)” in 1995, captivating a generation of fans looking for a hardcore East Coast aesthetic that accurately portrayed the absurd and pointless violence of the streets, he was an instant legend. That album, along with the subsequent offering from him and his partner and producer Havoc, established them in a long line of greats on the hip-hop scene from the Queensbridge Houses project in New York.

When he branched out to make his solo move, he still held on to that in-your-face bravado mixed with street wisdom that for a certain type of rap head was impossible to let go of. Here are my favorite verses of his, from a time when rapping about killing people was still something that people did with some level of seriousness.

Here are my five Prodigy faves.

Honorable mention: “I Shot Ya” (remix)

Best lyric:
But anyway, back on the real side of things/
My n—-s sling cracks and wear fat diamond rings/
Not only is it inside the songs that we sing/
Everything is real not just a song that we sing

A more recent selection:

5. “G.O.D. Pt. III”

Best lyric:
Horror tales in Braille, for vision-impaired/
You looking for P, well you can find him everywhere/
In a project near you, I’ll be right there

4. “Eye for An Eye”

Best lyric:
Life is a gamble, we scramble for money/
I might crack a smile but ain’t a damn thing funny/
I’m caught up in the dirt where your hands get muddy/
Plus the outcome turns out to be lovely

3. “Mac 10 Handle”

Forget the lyrics — this video is completely insane and a true testament to just how creative this man was.

2. “Shook Ones (Part II)”

While many will call this the best, and I won’t argue with them, it’s still not my favorite. The first time I heard it, I had it memorized. It truly changed the world, and when I was 19 I sang this song louder than any I ever have in my life. It’s a classic, and it always will be. I won’t be forgetting this verse until I’m in a casket.

1. Keep It Thoro

Best lyric:
When you see me in the streets soldier, salute me/
You just a groupie, oh, you gangsta, then shoot me

This is easily the best “don’t start nothing won’t be nothing” song of all time for my money. The beat bangs viciously, and the line “I’ll throw a TV at you” is still an all-timer. I still play this when I’m ready to get hype to do random stuff like fold clothes.

Rest in peace, Prodigy. A real legend.

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