Prodigy, one-half of the legendary hip-hop rap group Mobb Deep, dies Tuesday, three days after his last performance in Las Vegas, his publicist confirmed. He was 42. This is the last known footage of him rocking live!
“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 N.Y. rap duo Mobb Deep,” his publicist said in a statement. “We would like to thank everyone for respecting the family’s privacy at this time.”
The exact cause of death has not yet been determined, but the publicist said Prodigy was hospitalized “a few days ago” due to complications caused by sickle cell anemia, a disease he has had since birth.
Prodigy and Havoc grew up together in Queens, N.Y. They released their first demo together in 1992 under the name Poetical Prophets and followed it a year later with their Mobb Deep debut, Juvenile Hall.
Mobb Deep’s 1995 second album, The Infamous, reached a No. 18 peak on the Billboard 200. The Infamous produced the Billboard Hot 100 hits Shook Ones Pt. II, which peaked at No. 59, and Survival of the Fittest, which hit No. 69.
Their highest-charting single as a lead artist was Hey Luv (Anything) at No. 58 on the Hot 100 in 2002. They reached No. 6 on the Hot 100 as a featured artist via 50 Cent’s Outta Control (Remix).
Prodigy and Havoc released eight records together as Mobb Deep, including their last, The Infamous Mobb Deep, in 2014.
Prodigy launched his solo carer in 2000. He had solo Hot 100 hit with Hold You Down. He released his last solo record, Hegelian Dialectic (The Book of Revelation), in January.
Prodigy wrote a cooking book, Commissary Kitchen: My Infamous Prison Cookbook, last year.
His mother, Fatima Johnson — then known as Francis Collins — was a member of the 1960s girl group the Crystals and his grandfather Budd Johnson was an acclaimed bebop saxophonist.