Our final #BlackHistoryMonth highlight is dedicated to rapper and sickle cell warrior Albert “Prodigy” Johnson, one-half of the iconic 90’s rap duo Mobb Deep. Prodigy was born in the 1970s to a family of musicians and was diagnosed with sickle cell SS at three months old. He grew up in Queens, New York City, and formed Mobb Deep with his partner Kejuan “Havoc” Muchita while attending the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan. They released their breakthrough album “The Infamous” in 1995, which is widely recognized as a hip-hop classic.
Mobb Deep’s street-smart rap style and emotionally charged lyrics are credited with the renaissance of the East Coast hip-hop scene. Mariah Carey, Jordan Knight, Kanye West and Jay Z have all sampled tracks from the group.
Prodigy made music with Mobb Deep and on a solo basis until the mid-2010s. He lost his battle to sickle cell in 2017, but his music lives on. Hear what he had to say about living with sickle cell in this 2011 interview.