5 Little Known Facts About Mobb Deep's Prodigy

The rapper was dynamic in and out of the hip-hop world.

The hip-hop community is in mourning after one of its pillars, Prodigy of Mobb Deep, died Tuesday.

The 42-year-old from Queens, born Albert Johnson, was a power player in the genre that made classics like “Shook Ones” and “Quiet Storm.”

Beyond the lights, there was so much more to know about the man that solidified New York City as a capital for its own kind of rap and social awareness in the early 1990s. Learn more about Prodigy below.

Prodigy and Havoc both attended the High School of Art and Design

The friends that would form Mobb Deep met at age 15 in the lunchroom of the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan. Prodigy turned down a solo record deal with Jive to be in a duo with Havoc— the group’s first name was Poetical Prophets before changing to Mobb Deep. They eventually dropped out to pursue music full time. 

Beyond rap, Prodigy ran several businesses

As reported by the River Front Times, since his release in 2011, Prodigy started his own label, clothing line, and publishing imprint (all under the name “Infamous”), and released three solo albums, a Mobb Deep EP and two books.

His family lineage created Black history

Prodigy was the great-great-grandson of William Jefferson White, who founded Morehouse College in the basement of his Baptist church in Augusta, Georgia; his grandfather was world-famous jazz musician Budd Johnson, as reported by The Village Voice.

Nas inspired him to step up his lyricism

“You could just hear the difference between his lyrics and beats and ours,” he told the River Front Times. “That’s when we started putting our heart and soul into the music and really trying to make something that could last.”

Chris Lightly was his manager

“Chris was the greatest hip-hop manager that ever lived,” Prodigy said in a Complex interview. “He was more than just a manager, too. He was one of the greatest business minds as far as bringing hardcore hip-hop and real street hip-hop to the corporate world. He did that real good. There was a few people that was real good at that and he was one of the best ones. His networking, his communication skills were incredible.”

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[BLANK_AUDIO] Being locked up, we only had access to a limited amount of stuff. So we had to eat out of cans and we had to use only a microwave and a toaster oven. So now that I'm home, I can switch It's fresh ingredients, I can use my grill oven, you know what I mean? I can use olive oil instead of butter. So a lot of the stuff I can substitute, but the actual cookbook just shows what we were. Objective to using. Only thing that we're available to the inmates and friend system in that particular git. My favorite recipe in commissary kitchen is probably the macaroni salad with apples. That was my after school meal every day. I come home from school, and my mom is gonna be there. She'd have a big bowl of macaroni salad in the refrigerator so that's something close to my heart. I didn't get real serious about it until I was locked up, and like see how you know, you take your time you prepare a meal, you can make different things, its fun. We didn't have any measuring cup, or measuring spoons or nothing like that, so we would just look at it and make sure. And make sure, and then taste it, you know, every once and a while taste it and make sure it was right. The little bit of time that we spent cooking it like took our mind off of where we was at for a while Diet is definitely one of the main things, you know what I mean? That needs to be really, really changing in the prison system. They need healthier food so people can actually get rehabilitated and be healthy, and come home healthy. [MUSIC]