Prodigy and Havoc begin laying down rhymes together in high school. When their first album flops, they come up with a new sound that's directly influenced by P's sickle cell, and it helps define a generation of hip hop. Plus: Big Twins talks about the sickle cell attack he’ll never forget.
One of the interviews we didn’t get a chance to use was this appearance Prodigy made on The Breakfast Club a while back. About 12:40 in, he talks about how sickle cell influenced his music, and says “a lot of the pain that comes out of me” is from having sickle cell.
If you ever needed proof that Prodigy was hella influential, this tribute show Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg put out after P’s death proves it. Eminem and Kendrick Lamar (who later gave Prodigy a shout out on the BET awards) make guest appearances, rapping some of P’s most famous lines.
Finally, check out the music video for Peer Pressure, one of Mobb Deep’s first singles. In it, Havoc and Prodigy are carrying sickles. A producer who worked with them told us they were meant to represent P’s sickle cell.
LANGUAGE WARNING: The Realness contains strong language that some listeners may find offensive.
WNYC’s health coverage and The Realness by Only Human is supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Jane and Gerald Katcher and the Katcher Family Foundation, Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Audio of Prodigy on Questlove Supreme is provided by Pandora, which also has a recording of Mobb Deep's classic hit "Shook Ones (Part II)" performed by Nas.