Prodigy, the rapper best known for his work as half of long-running New York duo Mobb Deep, died in Las Vegas, after a hospitalization due to complications from sickle-cell anemia. He was 42.
A statement Released by the Group’s publicist reads
“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.”
Along with his musical partner Havoc, Prodigy was a leading light of the hardcore hip-hop sound of the 1990s, and Mobb Deep’s 1995 album “The Infamous” — with its raw depictions of inner city life — was instrumental in returning New York City to the hip-hop vanguard after years of dominance from upstarts on the West Coast.
Prodigy, born Albert Johnson, was raised in a musical family — his grandfather was a jazz musician, his grandmother owned a dance studio, and his mother was for a time a member of the 1960s girl-group the Crystals