A Look At Prodigy’s Career As Defined By His Lyrics

Features

The purest form of hip-hop is reality rap, which is when an artist is fully transparent and bears their soul or touches on life as we know it, sans a filter. Many rappers have tried their hand at speaking from the heart and without concern for putting on airs, but few have done so in quite the fashion that Prodigy has throughout his career, during which he gave listeners a piece of himself on various occasions.

READ: Remembering Mobb Deep’s Prodigy: From A 31-Year Old Rap Fanatic’s Perspective

The author of the lyric: “I put my lifetime in between the paper’s lines/I’m the quiet storm n***a who fight rhyme” has surely lived up to that billing. The Queens rapper’s pen accounts for some of the greatest contributions to hip-hop music, his first being The Infamous, the 1995 classic he released as part of Mobb Deep alongside rapper-producer Havoc. The Infamous, which announced Prodigy as an anti-hero and an instant star due to singles like “Shook Ones Pt. 2,” and the album cut “Survival of the Fittest,” would land Mobb Deep on the map and be the first of a trilogy of albums that would cement them as East Coast deities, and Prodigy as a top-tier wordsmith.

Equally effective as a soloist as within the confines of a group, which he proved with efforts like his H.N.I.C. trilogy, Return of the Mac, and The Bumpy Johnson Album, Prodigy’s legacy as one of the greatest to ever pick up a mic is surely intact. Although his death after a lifelong bout with sickle cell anemia has served as tragic news and placed the hip-hop community in a state of mourning, it’s also an opportunity to remember what he and his music meant to the culture as a whole.

READ: The Ultimate ‘Dun’: How Mobb Deep’s Prodigy Became The Embodiment Of East Coast Rap

Below, revisit 25 of Prodigy’s lyrics that best define both his artistry and his career.

1. Mobb Deep – “Survival of the Fittest”
“There’s a war goin’ on outside no man is safe from/You could run, but you can’t hide forever/From these streets that we done took/You walkin’ with your head down/Scared to look, you shook/‘Cause ain’t no such things as halfway crooks”

2. Mobb Deep – “Give Up The Goods (Just Step)”
“Ayo, Queens get the money long time no cash/I’m caught up in the hustle when the guns go blast/The fool retaliated so I had to think fast/Pull out my heat first, he pull out his heat last/Now who the f**k you think is living to this day?/I’m tryna tell these young n***as crime don’t pay/They looked at me and said “Queen’s n***as don’t play/Do your thing, I’ll do mine kid stay outta my way”

3. Mobb Deep – “Shook Ones Pt. 2″
“A Q-U soldier/From Lefrak to Rockaway back to Queensbridge/Black it’s only crack sales makin n***as act like that/Back in the days we could scrap, now you lay on your back/As things changed with time I traded in my knuckles for a Mac-10/And rather live the life of crime”

4. Mobb Deep – “Drop A ‘Gem On ‘Em”
“when you see my clique you need to run behind s**t/You got a gat you better find it/And use that s**t, think fast and get reminded/Of robberies in Manhattan, you know what happened/60 G’s worth of gun clapping/Who shot ya? You probably screamed louder than an opera/New York got ya, now you wanna use my mob as a crutch/What you think you can’t get bucked again?/Once again”

5. Mobb Deep – “Hell on Earth (Front Lines)”
“Blood on my kicks, s**t on my knife/You’s the wild child, kid cold turnin’ men into mice/I was born to take power, leave my mark on this planet/The Phantom of Crime Rap, n***as is left stranded/Shut down your operation, closed for business/Leave a foul taste in your mouth like Guinness/POW n***as is found MIA/We move like special forces, Green Beret”

6. Mobb Deep Featuring Nas – “It’s Mine”
“I got the style of a still-born child, I’m ill/If it’s beef, poke him with the fork, make sure he’s done well/The streets raised me crazy, now I’m immune to it/So when they start shootin, we don’t stop the music/Keep it moving that’s how we do it/Been through more drama than the Baldwins, you still crawlin/Apply street rules to the office, high performance”

7. Mobb Deep Featuring Kool G Rap – “The Realest”
“Never prejudge, it be the humble that squeeze slugs/It be the ones standin’ still that’ll peel guns/Spill blood for my duns thuggin’ for me/Man you don’t wanna get involved f**kin’ with P/I spent more nights illin, less nights chillin/The more shots they hold the better they feel it/What be the deal”

8. Mobb Deep – “Where Ya Heart At”
“S**t gets hot like a ill pot of grits spilled on you/Spit fire with nines but never squealed on you/I understood you should try to take my life/If I was you I would too damn right/If I had drama with a n***a like such as myself/I couldn’t even sleep at night until I made things right/Pull out guns exchange a fight/Be the first to let off mines ignite the pipes…/And never let the daylight deceive/During the suns’ hours n***as do bleed”

9. Prodigy – “Keep It Thoro”
“Rhymes cocky, crazy ill, mad rowdy/Did a buck off of my s**t and wrapped your Audi/Temperamental, I snap quick, very touchy/Ayo my attitude is all f**ked up and real s**tty/I rap like no one out there can f**k wit me/You feel different, nigga, see me/I throw a TV at you crazy, b***hes say ‘P, you crazy’/A +Pain in Da Ass+, nah but +F**k you, Pay me+”

10. Prodigy – “Can’t Complain”
“Lean my seat a taste, lumbar support/On the belt doin’ 90 or more/Debatin’ on the latest rhyme wars where units don’t count/But your rap pay add up to large amounts/Get my thrills puttin’ other n***a’s skills to sleep/Catch chills off’a infamous beats/Swing the trees doin’ one-handed u’ees/Blowin’ on the ouwee cause we can’t have the medicine canoein'”

11. Prodigy – “You Can Never Feel My Pain”
“Nineteen seventy-four, motherf**ker I was born with pain/My moms and my pops pass it down to me/So don’t talk to me about can I feel yours/Cause I ain’t feelin you at all, your pain isn’t pure/You cryin cause you broke from the projects/That’s not pain, that’s emotions, you a b***h/Im talkin bout permanent, physical sufferin/You know nothin about that/You just complain cause you stressed/N***a, my pain’s in the flesh/And through the years that pain became my friend”

12. Tony Touch Featuring Prodigy – “The Basics”
“Let me start from the beginning at the top of the list/P-Double dispose of rap garbage/Expose novice, trash style, n***as try hardest/Clowns attempt to rep get slapped the farthest/I’m P/pee like the stink of urine in your staircase/N***a, from me stay the most distant, you outta place/Grime rhyme, my story too foul for primetime/So I don’t give a f**k about MTV/Or any radio station, they won’t play me/They own kids give me spins on tapes and cd’s”

13. Mobb Deep – “Clap”
“Y’all better protect that boy, I’ll murder that kid/You got jokes but ain’t nobody over here laughin/All you get is standin ovation with mack 10’s/45ths and more shit we applaud it/N***as runnin wit cops, scared to go to war with/Some real rap n***as, we’ll catch you at the Source Awards/From gettin at this n***a, pardon my force/You better get from around that n***a or you catchin it too/Your power is no match for my strength of wolves”

14. Mobb Deep – “Got It Twisted”
“And they can’t stop us…they too scared/They know our caliber of thugs shoot at heads, n***a/QB drop you off of that bridge/Show you how we do it in Queens where murder ain’t s**t, n***a/This is P talkin, show you where I live/You can come right to my crib and get it for shiz/You bein manslaughtered, right in front of my kids/A little blood get on my daughter, it’s nothing, she’ll live”

15. Prodigy – “Rotten Apple”
“In real life you’re puss’, neva pulled no juxe/Neva pull no trigger and let the blood gush/As for my ‘lil cousin over here; n***as get booked/You p***y come back for his s**t, the p***y get douche/We the ultimate Thug N***as, The Grand Goons/Majesty and E Money Bags already told you/If ‘Pac was still alive we be on the same team/We got bigger fish to fry then that b***h supreme”

16. Prodigy – “Stuck On You”
“Even get me outta drama, or put me in a locker/Y’all gon’ have me wind up in that chair with the tires/Stab a n***a like Myers/But I’d rather put fire to your ass like Pryor (Damn!)/’Cause I prefer the iron/Shoot at b***h ass n***as and do ‘em like Bison/I got big jump-off that fit down my pants leg/’Lil jump-offs, your dunn know/A damn thang”

17. Prodigy – “Bang On Em”
“Projects f**ked me up, made me strong as an Ox/Made the n***a cold blooded ain’t no friends on the block/This the comrades and coldies, the crooked ass police/Playin’ cracks in the pocket send you up in creek/Look don’t ask me why Queensbridge can’t stick together/If you don’t know the answer then you don’t know the ghetto/Everybody don’t get along and that’s what it is/We either shootin’ when we shoot them n***as or we gon’ get hit”

18. Nas Featuring Mobb Deep – “Live Ni**a Rap”
“Yo, NYC, U-N-I-verse, seriously/Havoc and P, Queens n***as so it seem to be/Monopolize, strategies of war, exercise/Mega got word back from Noreaga/The D.A. got video cassette taper/The god with the God-U-Now, pullin’ a caper/Runnin’ up in the spot, mask and duct taped up/Pig-tied they motherf**kin’ wrists to they ankles”

19. Big Pun Featuring Prodigy & Inspectah Deck – “Tres Leches”
“My rhymes, get Ruger endorsements/My song boost/Intertec sales through the ceiling/Let’s talk with guns, convo til the po-lice come/Give you a red shirt with the wet hat to match/First max like it’s Hamburger Hill for real/It’s Red Dawn when the Mobb get it on, my outfit/Stuck on some wild out s**t, all about it/We move gambit, through the overcrowded”

20. LL Cool J Featuring Keith Murray, Prodigy, Fat Joe & Foxy Brown – “I Shot Ya (Remix)”
“I conversate with many men, it’s time to begin again/Forgot what I already knew, ayo, you hear me friend/Illuminati want my mind, soul and my body/Secret society, trying to keep they eye on me/But I’m stay incogni’, in places they can’t find me/Make my moves strategically, the G.O.D/It’s sorta similar but iller than a chess player/I use my thinker, it coincides with my blinker”

21. DJ Clue Featuring Mobb Deep & Big Noyd – “The Professional”
“Yo you catch chills, P stimulates your eardrum/Tastebuds, more higher than drugs, my song take em/I blast off on the track, lord/My s**t is pure satisfaction, what more could you ask for/Wit facts like an answer, I pour fire on earth, I been to hot raw/Do Queens tires get burnt, let’s peel through the real slide through my terrain, take a ride wit me/Check out my lifestyle, it’s a off-road course, I stay challenged/But that’s a good thing cause it creates balance”

22. Pete Rock Featuring Raekwon, Prodigy & Ghostface Killah – “Tha Game”
“Vintage rhyme division got the globe listening/My rap scroll belittled your goals and visions/Prohibition got my whole block pissing Christians/One-fifty-one Dunn’ll have you off balance walkin/Don’t let your emotions get involved, talkin/To the wrong culprit, the killer be the soft spoken/So what’s ya intentions, you want to glow for the moment?/Throw on your two pennies, then you bolting/I rock for the few chosen, who got their third minds open”

23. Prodigy – “Real Power Is People”
“Live from the belly, they got me behind the fence/I run s**t from the inside of the f**king President/Of the Infamous Gang – get whiff from my stank/I got that iky-iky cotton picky s**t that have you dazed/I’m a quadruple O.G., a O so call me/The reincarnation of the Pharaoh with an Olde E/The barrel full of hot lead; shoot a pot head/Talking that s**t about Hip-Hop dead”

24. Prodigy – “Young Veterans”
“You’re a plant fool; I’ll put your flesh in the dirt/I tried to be polite, but you wanna be a jerk/Tried to prove a point; the only thing that you proved/Is people get killed simply for being rude/You thought you was the man, turned out to be a chump/You thought something sweet, believe Jay[Z] if you want/Ga’head believe Nas or whoever you choose/You come on over here and you gon’ see the truth/It’s nothing out the ordinary, this is what we do”

25. Mobb Deep – “Win or Lose”
“It’s like ahh, s**t it’s on, time to go shopping/For cars not fashion, my whips be the bomb/My clothes be the same s**t that we had on/And f**k looking cute, save that for the broad/And we the only n***as you know, that f**k they P.O.’s/They push our files to the top, you still on parole/We got, money to roll, no time for penitentiaries/Too much dollars to fold, it’s bulging out our jeans”