Albert “Prodigy” Johnson, the legendary solo rapper and a member of Mobb Deep, has passed away at 42.
The cause of his death is currently unknown, but the New York rapper has publicly battled health issues due to sickle cell anemia for decades.
Prodigy died in Las Vegas, according to TMZ. He was in the city as part of the “Art of Rap Tour” with Ghostface Killah, Onyx, KRS-One, and Ice-T.
“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,” reads a statement from his rep (via Billboard). “We would like to thank everyone for respecting the family’s privacy at this time.”
Nas, a longtime collaborator and one time rival, honored his late friend on Instagram. “QB RIP King P,” he wrote. “Prodigy 4 Ever.” Joe Budden, another former Prodigy rival, also remembered the late legend with reverence. “Rest In Peace Prodigy,” he wrote. “HipHop will miss you…That 1 hurts.”
As Mobb Deep, Prodigy and Havoc broke into the rap world with 1993’s Juvenile Hell. Two years later, they released their seminal classic, The Infamous, followed by acclaimed projects like Hell on Earth, Murda Muzik, Amerikaz Nightmare, and Blood Money. Their final album together was 2014’s The Infamous Mobb Deep, a double album comprised of old and new material.
As a solo artist, Prodigy released a slew of albums, starting with 2000’s H.N.I.C. and ending with 2012’s The Bumpy Johnson Album. After that, he dropped joint projects with The Alchemist (2013’s Albert Einstein) and Boogz Boogetz (2014’s Young Rollin Stonerz). This year, he was expected to release The Hegelian Dialectic.
Rest in peace, Prodigy.