Nas, Questlove, and pretty much everyone else in hip hop is mourning the death of Prodigy
Son, they shook.
The hip-hop world is collectively in mourning Tuesday as Prodigy, half of the the legendary rap duo Mobb Deep, died at the age of 42 earlier this week, according to a statement released by his publicist. The news comes just a week after a performance at New York’s annual Summer Jam music festival.
According to a statement provided to Complex and various outlets, the genre-defining rapper, born Alton Johnson, died after a lifetime battling sickle cell anemia:
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. 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.
Johnson’s battle with the disease was not private, but since Prodigy’s passing countless tributes from musicians and fans have cropped up, including hashtags #RIPProdigy and #MobbDeep trending on Twitter.
Prodigy’s voice changed my life. His expressions of bravado and pain define the paradox of rap. Listen to his music.
— Sean Fennessey (@SeanFennessey) June 20, 2017
If you didn’t love Prodigy and Mobb Deep, you didn’t like rap music. They defined an era, place, aesthetic, and attitude. This is rough.
— Otto Von Biz Markie (@Passionweiss) June 20, 2017
RIP PRODIGY 🙏🏾 . HIP HOP LOST ANOTHER LEGEND
— LORD FLACKO JODYE II (@asvpxrocky) June 20, 2017
Hip hop has lost one of its best voices …..New York will never be the same again … RIP Prodigy
— Peter Rosenberg (@Rosenbergradio) June 20, 2017
Prodigy, along with Havoc, were formative figures in the New York hip-hop scene during the early ’90s. The Queens-bred duo released eight albums as Mobb Deep. Their sophomore album, The Infamous, became a critically acclaimed classic that has since cemented itself in hip-hop lore, and their 1995 track “Shook Ones, Pt. II” — arguably the duo’s biggest hit — best exemplified their brash, grunge-filled aesthetic. It still can be heard in clubs and bars today.
This story is still developing.