R.I.P Albert “Prodigy” Johnson

Like most hip-hop fans I was taken by surprise last week when Prodigy from Mobb Deep was pronounced dead of either complications from Sickle Cell or from choking while being hospitalized due to the aforementioned condition. In the pantheon of Hip-Hop I’ll go as far as declaring Mobb Deep to be the greatest rap duo of all time. With their classics like Survival of the Fittest and Shook Ones, which were made when they were teenagers, and their solid presence today I see little room for debate.

I was 15 years old when The Notorious B.I.G’s memorial was held and I was 17 years old when Big Pun had passed away. Both were New York hip-hop icons but I was still in high school and didn’t have the opportunity or the presence of mind to pay my respects in person. Today, I felt it appropriate to attend Prodigy’s memorial. I had met Prodigy once around 2002-2003 when they were on a lineup at a Rutgers University concert and Prodigy signed my copy of his first solo album, HNIC. Mobb Deep is a mainstay in my Spotify rotation and Prodigy’s second-to-last solo album, Albert Einstein, gets regular play. Rap has changed in the last two decades but Mobb Deep remained consistent from the start to their last studio album in 2014. It feels like the end of an era but I’m glad to have experienced it from the beginning.