Tag Archives: Prodigy

Prodigy, was one of the illest storytellers to ever grace the culture.

Article via OkayPlayer.com

Extremely sad news, rap fans, as the legendary Mobb Deep lyricist Prodigy has passed away. According to his fellow Queensbridge rap savant, Nasir Jones, the man born Albert Johnson has shed his mortal coil. No other details have been offered and we will continue to follow along with the story as it develops.

Born in Hempstead, New York, raised in Queens, Prodigy became a member of the street-wise duo Mobb Deep. His grandfather, Budd Johnson, and his great-uncle Keg Johnson were strong contributors to the Bebop era of jazz, making Prodigy just that for music at a young age. Nas helped to raise public consciousness about Prodigy and Havoc, as the single, “Shook Ones Pt. 2,” raced up the hip-hop charts.

An album fueled by the inner city experiences of the then-young lyricists, The Infamous and Hell on Earth became hip-hop classics, studied by the likes of EminemCapone-N-Noreaga and more.

The group’s publicist issued a statement confirming the news stating:

“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. 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.”

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11 Years Running! The Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival 2015

Last week marked the 11th annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival—a celebration of not only music, but the progress of the culture in entirety. I had the honor of being present at the event, which for me is another box checked on the list. The festival was birthed in 2005, integrating some of the most revered names with a background in hip-hop.  It is vital to understand that this gathering is not merely artists gracing a stage.  This year’s Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival include the first Hip-Hop Institution conference, the Juice Hip-Hop Exhibition, the Dummy Clap Film Festival, Beats and Eats and the Big Show. The number of attendees increases every years, and the energy of the events reaches immense levels.

For those of you who have never had the privilege of attending BHF, allow me to recreate the scene.  If ever you have dreamt of a fantastical realm in which conscious hip-hop rules, let it be known that this dream exists in BHF.  The headliner was none other than Common—the renaissance man himself.  Other appearances on the set list included Mobb Deep, Freeway, John Robinson, Brooklyn natives Stro, Skyzoo, Rob Swift, and video pioneer Ralph McDaniels.  You simply cannot err with such a cast of greats.  Each performer contributed to the colorful atmosphere of the occasion. From Torae freestylin about What is Hip-Hop, to Lion Babe kicking it with the crowd, to live instrumental by the PVD band and Sean Taylor, every time the stage was blessed, the festival goers showed nothing but admiration and respect. It was a love fest to the fullest.

The highlight of the 2015 Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, for me, was Foxy Brown as a surprise performer.  Foxy remains to be one of the most respected contenders in the game. Common brought out the reigning rapper himself, which he explained to AllHipHop:

“I feel like its fly to bring her [Foxy] out, because she’s fly. You can picture certain people that Common may bring out but, Foxy Brown is no another level, it’s like something unique and fresh and different.”

I concur, Common.  Known for her great panache, Fox Boogie put it down for us with “Oh yeah”, a favorite of mine.  Imagine the tide of nostalgia that descended the crowd (definitely over myself) at the commencement of that unforseen bestowal.

Besides Foxy Brown, other surprise happenings included Consequence, large professor (another favorite of mine), and Sean Taylor taking the stage.  BHF 2015 embodied the true essence of “Hip-Hop’s Birthday in July”.  Overall, the event has become a benchmark for the continuation of striving for cultural celebration.

The founder, Wes Jackson, received a proclamation from the Borough President of Brooklyn, Eric Adams presented by Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo.  What better testament to progression? I’d give this year’s gathering a solid “Starquake” on the Richter scale.