The hip hop community lost a great one today.
As we previously reported, Mobb Deep member Prodigy passed away after being hospitalized in Las Vegas over the weekend due to complications caused by sickle cell anemia. The Queens, N.Y. native, who was in Vegas for the Art of Rap tour, had been battling the red blood cell disorder his entire life, as his publicist confirmed in her official comment to CASSIUS:
“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,” Roberta Magrini told us. “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.”
Though he’s no longer with us, Prodigy once went into heartbreaking detail about his struggle with the disease on his 2000 debut solo album, H.N.I.C. In a song titled “You Can Never Feel My Pain,” he rapped that his sickle cell complications were so bad, he’d rather die:
“Nigga, my pain’s in the flesh/And through the years that pain became my friend;
sedated, With Morphine as a little kid/I built a tolerance for drugs, addicted to the medicine;
Now hospital emergency treat me like a fiend/I rather die sometimes I wish a nigga O.D.”
Before going solo, he made history with Havoc, the other half of legendary duo Mobb Deep. They left their stamp on hip hop in a way that not many other groups were able to. Known for classic hits like “Shook Ones, Part II” (The Infamous), “Get Away” (Infamy), “Quiet Storm” (Murda Muzik), and “Cradle To The Grave,” (The Infamous), their records would go on to be sampled by legends like Mariah Carey, 50 Cent, Big Pun, Nas, Raekwon, and others.
Celebrate Prodigy’s legacy with the playlist below, which highlights 11 times other artists sampled Mobb Deep’s music.