Prodigy, One-Half of Mobb Deep Duo, Dies at 42
Albert Johnson, better known by his rap alias Prodigy and one half of the East coast gangster rap duo Mobb Deep has passed away. Prodigy was hospitalized several days ago in Las Vegas after a Mobb Deep performance and meet and greet for complications related to sickle cell anemia, a disease the rapper battled his entire life. It’s unclear at this time whether his death is directly due to the disease or an alleged choking incident at the hospital.
Johnson was bred from musical greatness. His grandfather and great-uncle Bud and Keg Johnson respectively made significant contributions to the bebop era of jazz music, his father, Budd Johnson, Jr., was a member of Doo wop group The Chanters, and his mother Fatima Johnson was a member of the pop, R&B group the Crystals. She was also Mobb Deep’s first manager and, as Johnson eulogized last year on Instagram after her death, she was the duo’s first support team.
Johnson met Kejuan Muchita AKA Havoc in high school, and the two formed the Poetical Prophets before changing their name to The Infamous Mobb Deep at the suggestion of a mutual friend. Mobb Deep soon became synonymous with the East Coast gangster rap sound that permeated the city and spilled over in to the rest of the country throughout the ‘90s. Their debut album Juvenile Hell dropped in 1993, but it was their sophomore album The Infamous, that cemented their place as an East Coast legacy, expertly weaving poetic lyrics and dark music to dutifully represent the socioeconomic conditions in which the two were born and bred.
Prodigy was sentenced to a three-year prison sentence in October 2007 for illegal possession of a firearm. After having six months shaved off his sentence for good behavior, the rapper was released in March of 2011, and in the years since, Prodigy embarked on a solo career, wrote the autobiography My Infamous Life, and even published a cookbook last year called Commissary Kitchen: My Infamous Prison Cookbook, which highlighted Johnson’s mission to eat healthfully while serving time. Prodigy was 42.