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Mobb Deep's Prodigy dies at 42.

Summary: The rapper was hospitalised a few days ago in Vegas after a performance for complications caused by a sickle cell anaemia crisis

Gerrick D. Kennedy, Los Angeles Times

After performing in Las Vegas over the weekend, the rapper, born Albert Johnson, was hospitalised for complications caused by sickle cell disease, his publicist said. He was found unconscious on Tuesday morning.

"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. Prodigy was hospitalised a few days ago in Vegas after a Mobb Deep performance for complications caused by a sickle cell anaemia crisis," a statement from the group's representative read.

"As most of his fans know, Prodigy battled the disease since birth. The exact causes of death have yet to be determined. We would like to thank everyone for respecting the family's privacy at this time."

News of Prodigy's passing first broke when collaborator Nas posted a tribute to the rapper on Instagram. "QB RIP King P. Prodigy 4 Ever," he wrote.

Born in Hempstead, NY, Johnson was part of a family with deep musical connections. His mother, Fatima Johnson, who died late last year, had performed with '60s girl group the Crystals. His grandfather, Budd Johnson, was a respected jazz saxophonist.

Albert Johnson formed Mobb Deep with rapper-producer Havoc in the early '90s. The duo released its first album, Juvenile Hill, in 1993 but broke out with 1995's The Infamous, which was certified gold by the Recording Industry Assn. of America for shipments of more than 500,000 copies.

The Times once described "The Infamous" as a "dazzling album" that served as "a soundtrack for a lost generation of wild kids roaming the grimy New York streets in search of the next cheap thrill, illegal gain or suicidal showdown."

Mobb Deep last released an album in 2014, "The Infamous Mobb Deep." The group was respected for its relentlessly hard-core take on East Coast hip-hop, with The Times describing another one of the act's albums as a "brutal batch of barbaric assaults with uncompromising edge."

Prodigy launched his solo career in 2000 with H.N.I.C. He released his fifth solo album, Hegelian Dialectic (The Book of Revelation), earlier this year.

Last year he published Commissary Kitchen: My Infamous Prison Cookbook, a collection of recipes inspired by his three-year jail stint due to criminal possession of a weapon. He was released in 2011, and the book features meals created by inmates using the few ingredients available at the jail commissary.

Mobb Deep was in Vegas performing as part of the Art of Rap tour - a mega-bill of veteran hip-hop stars including Ghostface Killah, Onyx, KRS-One and Ice-T. The group was due to perform on June 30 in Newark, N.J.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Article Type:Obituary
Geographic Code:1U8NV
Date:Jun 21, 2017
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