Beloved New York MC was hospitalized days ago for complications related to sickle cell anemia.
Prodigy, one-half of the seminal New York City hip-hop outfit Mobb Deep, died Tuesday at the age of 42. Mobb Deep’s publicist confirmed the rapper’s death in a statement to Rolling Stone.
“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,” the statement read. “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.”
Prodigy and his Mobb Deep cohort, Havoc, grew up together in Queens, New York City and broke into the hip-hop world with a raw, vivid and vicious distillation of East Coast gangsta rap. The pair released their first demo together in 1992 under the name Poetical Prophets, which they followed up a year later with their Mobb Deep debut, Juvenile Hall. While that record wasn’t well received, their 1995 follow-up The Infamous, remains a hardcore NYC classic and features one of the group’s signature songs, “Shook Ones Pt. II.”
Prodigy and Havoc would release eight records together as Mobb Deep, with their last, The Infamous Mobb Deep, arriving in 2014.
In 2000, Prodigy launched his solo career with H.N.I.C. and would go on to release an array of solo records and mixtapes, as well as collaborations with producers such as the Alchemist and Big Twins and Un Pacino. In January, Prodigy released his last solo record, Hegelian Dialectic (The Book of Revelation).