Prodigy dies at 42
The rapper Prodigy, who made up one half of the group Mobb Deep, has died aged 42.
The hip hop star – real name, Albert Johnson – was on tour in Las Vegas performing with the “Art of Rap” tour. He was performing alongside Ghostface Killah, Onyx, KRS-One, and Ice-T, amongst others. Mobb Deep performed Saturday 17 June.
Prodigy suffered from health issues throughout his life, however it wasn’t immediately clear what the cause of death was.
He had long suffered from sickle cell anaemia. The condition is most common in people of African descent. It is a severe hereditary form of anaemia in which a mutated form of haemoglobin distorts the red blood cells. It distorts the cells into a crescent shape at low oxygen levels.
It leaves a shortage of healthy red blood cells in the body, leading to a painful blockage of blood flow.
Extreme sadness and disbelief
Prodigy’s publicist confirmed the news, citing “extreme sadness and disbelief” at that the death “of our dear friend Albert Johnson”.
“Prodigy was hospitalised a few days ago in Vegas after a Mobb Deep performance for complications caused by a sickle cell anaemia 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 emerged onto the music scene with his partner, Havoc, in New York City in the 1990s. The duo formed Mobb Deep and participated in high profile feuds during their early years.
They once had “beef” during the media-fueled East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry with Tupac and Biggie Smalls.
Their influential music has been described by Rolling Stone as a “raw, vivid, and vicious distillation of East Coast gangsta rap”.
They collaborated frequently with other artists, including Nas, who helped propel their visibility early in their career. Prodigy was generally regarded as the lyrical lead in the duo, while Havoc was better known for producing the beats.
Nas was among those to pay tribute to Prodigy following the news of his death. Nas posted a photo of him reading on Instagram with the caption, “QB RIP King P. Prodigy 4 Ever”.