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Prodigy
Prodigy

Birth name

Albert Johnson

Born

2 November 1974
Hempstead, Long Island, New York, United States

Origin

Queens, New York, United States

Died

20 June 2017 (aged 42)
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

Genre

Hip hop, hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

Occupation(s)

Rapper

Years active

1989-present

Label

Infamous, E1, Relativity

Associated acts

The Alchemist, Big Noyd, G-Unit, Infamous Mobb, Mobb Deep, Nas

Albert Johnson (2 November 1974 - June 20, 2017), better known by his stage name Prodigy, was an American rapper and one half of the hip hop duo Mobb Deep with Havoc. Prodigy and Havoc met while both attending Graphic Arts High School in Manhattan as teenagers, and released their debut album, Juvenile Hell, in 1993 when they were still teenagers. Although the album wasn't very successful from either a critical or financial standpoint, it served as a fitting platinum for the duo to launch their careers. They crafted a rap style that conisted of a street-smart poetic approach centering on the ghetto lifestyle that surrounded them. Their brutally honest reality rapping and complimentary melancholy beats landed them a deal on Loud Records, resulting in their major-label release, The Infamous.

Propelled to awareness partially by fellow Queens rapper Nas, who used a similar lyrical style on his 1994 album Illmatic, as well as the release of their single "Shook Ones Pt. II", Mobb Deep developed a cult following. The duo released their third album, Hell on Earth, in 1996, which debuted at number six on SoundScan. The album found them mastering their musical method of using evocative beats and cinematic rhymes that communicated the dark side of New York's urban landscape. The duo were among those responsible for the revival of the East Coast hip hop scene, as well as bringing hardcore hip hop to a level that was unseen in New York.

Prodigy eventually branched out into a solo career, releasing several albums starting with 2000's H.N.I.C. He was sent to jail in 2008 for a gun-possession charge, and was released in March 2011. He released the autobiography My Infamous Life: The Autobiography of Mobb Deep's Prodigy in spring of that year. His latest release was as a member of Mobb Deep, with the 2014 album The Infamous Mobb Deep.

Prodigy suffered from sickle-cell anemia, and addressed his struggle with the disorder on the song "You Can Never Feel My Pain" from H.N.I.C. On 20 June 2017, it was reported that Prodigy had died in Las Vegas, Nevada, after having been hospitalised a few days earlier for complications related to his sickle-cell anemia. He was performing in the Art of Rap Tour in Las Vegas at the time he was hospitalised. The exact cause of his death is yet to be determined.

DiscographyEdit

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