Prodigy is one of the fathers of hardcore hip-hop. As a teenager, in the early nineties, he and his partner Havoc formed the group Mobb Deep. Together they created music that was an east coast answer to the emerging west coast gangster sound.
Mobb Deep’s tone was dark, eerie and minimal. And their lyrics were cold and brutal. They didn’t yell because they didn’t need to. The words spoke for themselves.
Prodigy was born with sickle cell anemia, a condition he dealt with for the entirety of his career. In 2017, he was hospitalized for his anemia. He died while in care.
Prodigy was only forty-two when he passed. And we’re replaying this interview with him today not because there’s some posthumous recording coming out or a boxed set or whatever.
Late last year, the FDA approved a first-of-its-kind therapy to treat and almost eliminate symptoms of sickle cell disease. Had it been available to Prodigy when he was alive, there’s a good chance he’d still be here today.
When he joined the show back in 2011, Prodigy had just written a biography – My Infamous Life. He talked with us about the book, his lifelong battle with sickle cell and more.
If you or someone you know is experiencing Sickle Cell Disease, here are some available resources:
This interview originally aired in May of 2011.
About the show
Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.
Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney’s, which called it “the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world.” Since April 2013, the show has been distributed by NPR.
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