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ThrowbackThursday: Remembering Prodigy of Mobb Deep

Prodigy Of Mobb Deep (via Social Media)

By Sean Smith

On Tuesday the rap industry was saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Prodigy, who along with Havoc, made up the hip hop duo Mobb Deep. Prodigy, whose real name was Albert  Johnson, was only 42 years young.

It was well known that Prodigy had been living with sickle cell anemia since birth. It is believed that his sudden death was due to complications with that disease. He was hospitalized in Las Vegas, Nevada, a few days prior to his death. He was in Vegas performing this past weekend for a stop on The Art of Rap Tour along with other legends like Onyx, KRS-One, Ice-T and Wu Tang’s Ghostface Killah.

Hayden Johnson was born in Hempstead, New York on November 2, 1974, to parents Budd Johnson Jr. and Fatima Johnson. He was born with music running through his veins. His mother was a member of the R&B group The Crystals during the 1960s, then going by the name Frances Collins. His father Budd Johnson Jr. was a member of a little known Doo Wop group called The Chanters.

He also had another notable family member, though not in the music business. While he was researching his family lineage for his book, My Infamous Life, he discovered that he was the great-great-grandson of William Jefferson White. White was the founder of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, one of the most renown historically black colleges in the United States.

Prodigy got his start in the music industry performing with his long time partner Havoc in 1992 when the duo went by the name Poetical Prophets. They would soon change their name to Mobb Deep and release their debut album Juvenile Hell in 1993.

Mobb Deep’s second album The Infamous was the record that put Prodigy and Havoc on the map. The lead single for the album “Shook Ones Pt. II” was the first huge record for Mobb Deep. It remains to this day as one of the duo’s signature songs. The album also included the noteworthy Mobb Deep underground classic “Survival of the Fittest.”

Another one of Mobb Deep’s most well known songs came to us via their fourth studio album Murda Muzik with “Quiet Storm.” That album also included a remix of “Quiet Storm” that featured Lil’ Kim, which was a moderate hit on the charts.

The last commercially noteworthy single from Mobb Deep came in 2001 on their Infamy album. The lead single featured the vocals of 112 on the hook of “Hey Luv (Anything)”. That album also included the noteworthy songs “Pray For Me” featuring Lil’ Mo and “Get Away.”

Prodigy and Havoc will go down as one of the most successful hip hop duos of all-time. Mobb Deep’s sound of the early to mid-90’s helped shape what many consider the golden age of New York rap. Along with the likes of Nas, the Queensbridge duo of Prodigy and Havoc exemplified the popular East Coast gangsta rap of the 1990s. Mobb Deep’s gritty and grimy descriptions in their lyrics gave voice to the struggle of what it was like to grow up in the crack infested projects of New York City during the 1980s.

So it is with great sadness that we here at take a moment to remember the life and career of Prodigy of Mobb Deep with the somber news of his untimely passing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.


Mobb Deep

“Shook Ones Pt. II”

From: The Infamous

Loud/RCA Records

Mobb Deep

“Survival Of The Fittest”

From: The Infamous

Loud/RCA Records

Mobb Deep
“Quiet Storm” (explicit)
From: Murda Muzik
Loud/Columbia Records 
Mobb Deep Featuring Lil Kim
“Quiet Storm” (Remix)
From: Murda Muzik
Loud/Columbia Records
Mobb Deep Featuring 112
“Hey Luv (Anything)”
From: The Infamy
 Loud/Columbia Records
Mobb Deep Featuring Lil Mo
“Pray For Me” (Explicit)
From: The Infamy
 Loud/Columbia Records
Mobb Deep 
“Pray For Me” 
From: The Infamy
 Loud/Columbia Records
Related Media As Featured Artists:
Mariah Carey Featuring Mobb Deep
“The Roof”
From: Butterfly
Columbia Records
50 Cent Featuring Mob Deep
“Outta Control” (Remix)
from: The Massacre (Re-Released Version Only)/ Blood Money (Mobb Deep Album)
G-Unit/Shady/Aftermath/Interscope Records