I looked up the definition of the word prodigy: “a person, especially a young one, endowed with exceptional qualities or abilities.” And it all made sense.
As one-half of perhaps the most transcendent street rap duo ever, Prodigy lived up to his fame and died a legend. He was a master of simple complexity as an artist and as a person. I recently told him and Havoc that I am a fan — not just someone they’re cool with. Because sometimes we tend to take greatness for granted when it’s homegrown — and accessible — until we are fed a steady diet of random.
When I got my deal with Violator/Def Jam, one of the first songs we released was “Angel Dust.” At the very beginning, you hear Prodigy talking. P was not selfish with the spotlight and was never intimidated by seeing others shine.
Another thing I really admired about P was his confidence. Some artists will wait for you to do your verse so they can study it and try to outdo you. Not Prodigy. P would do his verse and never had to change his verse or hear mine. He did what he did confidently, knowing he gave a good performance.
The mutual respect and chemistry benefited me tremendously as I appeared on platinum and gold projects by Mobb Deep (Murda Muzik, HNIC) as well as my own songs featuring Mobb Deep (“Killaz Theme,” “Thun and Kicko”). P was attracted to the street but as I too have learned the street is emotionless and gravel intoxicated by blood, sweat, and tears, and no matter how much you love the street, it won’t love you back. It’s the people that love you and the people loved P.
Me and P had many conversations about dreams and aspirations, and one of his biggest dreams was seeing Queensbridge together. He also was the first person I know who did a street movie, Murda Muszik. When you consider how the movie was filmed— and the time period — it only enhances your appreciation for his vision. Havoc’s musical genius matched Prodigy’s artistic ingenuity, thus they have songs that are unmatched in any genre.
“Shook Ones” is mythical as is “Survival of the Fittest.” Around the time of Hell on Earth, Prodigy must have found a calling inside of him because something erupted and he penned some of the most epic bars I’ve heard to date. “Apostles Warning” was a confirmation and a declaration that Prodigy was a force to be reckoned with. And the hidden gem of that era to me is “Still Shining.”
In order to be great, there are levels to reach and P stood at the top of the mountain with a vulture claw emblem on his chain. When I grew disillusioned with the industry and people were intentionally closing doors on me, P opened his and gave me food for thought. You can always tell how a person truly feels about you from what is said when you’re not around anymore.
Immortal Technique called me a few months ago and said, “P has a lot of respect for you” and when he was in the studio with my people recently (Thirst, Bagz) and he knew I was waiting on a verse from him, he said, “I can’t rush it, I got to come right because Mega be going in.” Things like this make me appreciate that I showed him love.
There was no fake love in Prodigy. He either was cool with you or he wasn’t. When he was locked up in Midstate, I drove upstate to see him. He was surprised but also appreciative and understanding that I was genuine in my movements. This morning I woke up but was instantly reminded of Prodigy and fought back tears.
I feel better now and strangely enough, Prodigy was prepared for death for about as long as I’ve known him. He spoke of the pain and expectations. Prodigy’s death is itself poetic because he denied death so many times that he got bored with winning and only let death win after his mother passed away recently.
Rest in peace, P. Thank you for sharing your gift with us while you were here. —- Cormega