Rapper Prodigy, one half of the legendary New York hip-hop duo Mobb Deep, has died at the age of 42.
The rapper’s publicist said in a statement Tuesday that Prodigy was hospitalized a few days ago in Las Vegas “for complications caused by a sickle-cell anemia crisis.” Prodigy has battled sickle-cell since birth and was in Las Vegas for a performance.
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“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,” the statement read. “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.”
The news first surfaced after it was posted to Instagram by rapper Nas and later confirmed by Prodigy’s representative and other news outlets.
Prodigy was born Albert Johnson in New York. He found success in the ’90s with fellow rapper Havoc in Mobb Deep. The duo’s hits included Quiet Storm with Lil Kim, Shook Ones (Part II) and Hey Luv (Anything).
Mobb Deep released its studio first album, Juvenile Hell, in 1993 and continued to come out with new music through 2014, when their most recent album, The Infamous Mobb Deep was released.
Their second album, The Infamous, was released in 1995 and is a hardcore hip-hop classic. The Infamous produced the hit Shook Ones Pt. II.
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Their influential music has been described by Rolling Stone as a “raw, vivid, and vicious distillation of East Coast gangsta rap”.
The rap duo collaborated frequently with other artists, including Nas, Lil Jon, 50 Cent, and 112.
Prodigy launched a solo career in 2002, releasing mix tapes in collaboration with producers including the Alchemist and Big Twins. He released his last album, Hegelian Dialetic, in January.
He performed last at the Hot 97 Summer Jam at Metlife Stadium in New Jersey on June 11 this year. Prodigy had a concert scheduled in Newark for June 30.
Prodigy released a cookbook of prison recipes last year, based on his time in jail. The book, Commissary Kitchen: My Infamous Prison Cookbook, was released on Infamous, Prodigy’s own imprint at Brooklyn-based Akashic Books.
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Condolences started pouring in on Twitter once news of his passing spread.
—With files from The Associated Press