Prodigy, New York rap legend and one-half of hip-hop group Mobb Deep alongside Havoc, died in Las Vegas on Tuesday (June 20), a rep has confirmed to Billboard. The 42-year-old was hospitalized several days ago due to complications caused by a sickle cell anemia crisis, a disease he has battled since birth.
“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,” a statement from the rep read. “We would like to thank everyone for respecting the family’s privacy at this time.”
News first spread of the rapper’s passing from an Instagram post from Nas. “—- QB RIP King P. Prodigy 4 Ever,” he wrote.
The exact cause of death is yet to be determined.
Mobb Deep’s second album, 1995’s The Infamous, is a hardcore hip-hop classic — its impact on the next generation of rap far outpaced its No. 18 peak on the Billboard 200. The Infamous produced the Billboard Hot 100 hits “Shook Ones Pt. II,” which peaked at No. 59, and “Survival of the Fittest,” which hit No. 69. Their highest-charting single as a lead artist was “Hey Luv (Anything),” which reached No. 58 on the Hot 100 in 2002; they went as high as No. 6 on the Hot 100 as a featured artist via 50 Cent’s “Outta Control (Remix)” ft. Mobb Deep.
Prodigy notched a solo Hot 100 hit with The Alchemist’s “Hold You Down” ft. Prodigy, Illa Ghee and Nina Sky, and he placed three solo albums in the top 10 of the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Of Mobb Deep’s eight top 10 albums on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, three of those hit No. 1. The duo placed five top 40 songs on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart as well.