Rest in Glory : Albert “PRODIGY” Johnson / November 2, 1974 – June 20, 2017
Among the pantheon of universal human truths that live inside the world we call earth, you will find the commonality, and personal impact of geographic origin. Each and every one of us hail from a specific place. If you happen to be a native of New York, this holds an even greater meaning, personal esteem, and occasional arrogance, the likes of which annoy the sh*t out of many non-New Yorkers. In the case of the iconic Hip-Hop legend Albert ‘Prodigy’ Johnson, we are talking about “LeFrak City” aka Queensbridge, Queens with nods to Hempstead, Long Island (colloquially known as “Strong Island”). The sudden June 20th, 2017 passing of this lyrically consequential half of the Hip – Hop musical duo MOBB DEEP emitted a tremor that rocked and swayed the Classic B-Boy community to it’s foundations….Again.
Sadly, this kind of mournful impact has become all too familiar to the fans, players, and artists involved with, and dedicated to, the uniquely American art form of Hip-Hop Music. It could easily be argued that Hip-Hop and the often dramatic story-lines involved with it’s artists, has consistently been plagued since it’s late 1970’s beginnings, and through it’s mid 1980’s inception into the American entertainment psyche, with tragic consequence. Arguably as much tragedy as it’s overall transcendent societal impact. This is not to say ‘Prodigy’s’ passing resonates highly among these almost Shakespearean type literary outcomes, because it wasn’t. His life-long battle with ‘Sickle Cell Anemia’ has been a part of the social narrative since his November 2000 interview with ‘Vibe’ magazine, as well as the meaning behind his track “You Can Never Feel My Pain” from his first solo studio release “H.N.I.C.” of the same year.
Nevertheless, his premature passing at the remarkably young age of 42, satisfies a tragic tenor, although not exactly prompted by violence. That said, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that Prodigy was a vocal and outspoken critic, provocateur, and obsessor of the mysterious, shadow organization known as the “Illuminati”. Such was his fixation on this alleged organization, that while he was incarcerated in 2007 he felt compelled to pen an open letter to fellow Hip-Hop legend ‘Jay-Z’ in which he made more than a few cryptic allegations of sinister repute. In addition, at the time of his death it is asserted that Prodigy was in production on a musical about the Illuminati. Thus opening up the timing of his death to conspiratorial inspection. As to is the fact that his death came just a couple of weeks before the release of Jay-Z’s latest album titled “4:44”. We’ll leave it to the conspiratorially minded to make connections if there in fact, are any to make.
‘Prodigy’ is now resting in glory with the Angels of Hip-Hop. However, his music lives on, as does Mobb Deep. TheIdiotsGuides.com has compiled the Essential 8 Prodigy & Mobb Deep tracks for musical posterity and historical retrospective. Enjoy
#8. “The One and Only” / Album: “The Hegelian Dialectic (The Book of Revelation)”
#7. “The Shook Ones” / Mobb Deep / Album: “The Infamous” (1995)
#6. “Survival Of The Fittest” / Mobb Deep / Album: “The Infamous” (1995)
#5. “Get Away” / Mobb Deep / Album: “Infamy” (2001)
#4. “Have a Party” / M. Deep w N. Dogg & 50 Cent / ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2005)
#3. “Back at You” / Prodigy / Album: “Sunset Park Soundtrack” (1996)
#2. “Eye for an Eye” / Mobb Deep / Album: “The Infamous” (1995)
#1. “Quiet Storm” / Mobb Deep / Album: “Murda Muzik” (1999)