As we sometimes find out our musical heros’ who seem invincible are human. I was reminded of that with the passing of Prodigy from the hip hop duo Mobb Deep. Prodigy passed from complications from sickle cell anemia, the most common type of sickle cell, a blood disorder typically inherited from a person’s parents. He passed on June 20th at the age of 42 and was in Las Vegas performing on the Art of Rap Tour in Las Vegas.
I’m a huge fan of the M.O.B.B. These guys were the soundtrack of my young adulthood. Even today when I listen to their music I am reminded of the realness that the duo represented as well the lyricism displayed amid menacing snares, kicks and melodic samples. Prodigy’s voice was so distinctive. His rhymes so visual, you could imagine him ‘stabbing you in the face with your nose bone’, a quote from ‘Shook Ones part II” a hip hop classic and one of my all-time favorite songs. Mero of the ‘Desus and Mero show said, “Prodigy made you feel invincible, like you can do anything”. Prodigy was a master storyteller, a motivator, and a co-creator of the ‘dun-language’. A way of talking were you replace the first letter of a word with the letter ‘D’, for example, Son becomes Don (pronounced Done).
When Tupac dissed New York and Snoop Dogg was knocking over New York skyscrapers, Mobb Deep along with Capone and Norega (with the production help of Marley Marl) released ‘LA LA’ an answer dis track to Snoops’ — ‘New York New York’. Mobb was the only rap group of note to stand up and rep for NYC.
I wasn’t always a fan of the duo. I thought the groups first album ‘Juvenile Hell’ was terrible. It was the release of their second album, ‘The Infamous’ that made me a fan. I would play this album from start to finish and not want to skip a song. No album fillers, just the “realness”. That album today still strikes me as hip hop perfection. I subsequently would purchase practically every album they dropped after that release. I was hooked, I was a fan!
We often take time for granted and P’s passing reminds me that time waits for no man. I had several opportunities to see Mobb Deep perform live, and for some reason or another decided to wait, thinking my favorite rap group will be here forever, or at least when I am ready to see them. That wasn’t the case. Prodigy is gone, but P’s contribution to hip hop will never be forgotten. Long live M.O.B.B. -AhlonIsMusic