Prodigy, half of the New York City hip-hop crew Mobb Deep, died Tuesday at the age of 42.
“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,” Mobb Deep’s publicist confirmed to Rolling Stone. “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 was in Las Vegas over the weekend for the Art of Rap tour with Ghostface Killah, Onyx, KRS-One and Ice-T. Mobb Deep performed Saturday night.
Celebrities from the hip hop world, like Ghostface Killah, Nas, Chuck D and Nikki Minaj, have expressed their sorrow on social media.
R.I.P. Prodigy damn… he showed me love since day one
— Kid Ink (@Kid_Ink) June 20, 2017
Haven’t woke up with an upset stomach all year. Woke up today and saw Nas post something about RIP Prodigy smh ??? Sad day in Hip-Hop ?
— M ! L L Z ¥ (@JAE_MILLZ) June 20, 2017
Prodigy and his gangsta rap cohort, Havoc, formed Mobb Deep in the 1990s from Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing development in North America, located in Long Island City in the New York City borough of Queens.
Mobb Deep was involved in some East Coast-West Coast beefing, mainly with the Dogg Pound. 2Pac even called out Prodigy’s illness in “Hit ‘Em Up”: “Oh yeah, Mobb Deep, you wanna f—k with us?/You little young ass motherf—kers/Don’t one of you ni—as got sickle cell or something?/You’re f—king with me ni—a/You f—k around and catch a seizure or heart-attack/You better back the f—k up before you get smacked the f—k up.”
2Pac called out The Notorious B.I.G. on the same track.
Prodigy and Havoc’s biggest hits include “Quiet Storm” and “Shook Ones.” The team released eight albums together; the last “The Infamous Mobb Deep” was released in 2014.
Prodigy launched his solo career in 2000 and, in the years that followed, he was arrested twice for illegal possession of a firearm. Prodigy served 3 1/2 years in Mid-State Correctional Facility in New York. Last year, Prodigy published “Commissary Kitchen: My Infamous Prison Cookbook.”
In January, Prodigy released his last solo record, Hegelian Dialectic (The Book of Revelation).
In July 2012, there was bad blood between Havoc and Prodigy after Havoc reportedly tweeted that Prodigy had homosexual sex while in prison. Havoc originally said his account was hacked, but later admitted he wrote the tweets. He released a diss track aimed at Prodigy called “Separated (Real from the Fake)” but the duo made up and announced a tour in March 2013.