In what would turn out to be one of his final interviews, Prodigy sat down with Mass Appeal as part of their Open Space feature.
The Queens MC shares pure wisdom through the seven minute interview and reminds us of the perseverance and mindset required to proceed through life and achieve our goals. There’s no glory without struggle and Don P is evidence of that.
Touching upon the beginning of Mobb Deep, the man born Albert Johnson reflected on the hardships him and Havoc faced when trying to get noticed by a label or executive.
“When me and Hav first met and we started doing our demo tape, we would go get the address on the back of albums and we’d go stand outside whatever company…just stand outside with our headphones and our Walkman you know what I mean, wait for celebrities or somebody that we recognized to come out and be like ‘yo could you listen to our shit?’ trying to get a record deal,” said Prodigy.
“Nobody would stop for us, everybody was like “I ain’t got time for that shit’ like walking past us and shit. Q-Tip came out the building, we asked him to listen to us and he stopped and he was like, ‘alright’ so he listened to our shit and he was like ‘yo where y’all from?’ and we was like ‘Queens yo’ and he was like ‘yo I like y’all.’”
Running into the legendary Tribe member would serve as a Godsend, as Q-Tip would introduce the Infamous duo to Chris Lighty and various Def Jam execs according to Prodigy.
The Infamous Mobb ended up in front of those buildings, persistently trying to secure a deal, because of the OGs Prodigy grew up around; they wouldn’t let him stray in the first place.
“The hustling motherfuckers that were making lots of money would sit me down when they see me running around doing the wrong things, they would sit me down on the block in Queensbridge and be like, ‘yo listen – stop what you doing – go in the studio with Hav’ they wouldn’t let me hustle,” he said.
“A lot of my niggas if they catch me hustling they’d probably fuck me up.”
With great success…comes bootlegging, and Prodigy had to deal with his fair share once him and Havoc started blowing up.
Unlike most artists and labels who try to tear the bootleggers down, Prodigy took it in stride, opting to let it be and with good reason.
“There’s nothing you can do about it…if you see your album bootlegged on the street it was like what you gon’ do just beat up all the dudes that’s selling the albums? You gonna be doing that forever,” he said.
“That’s like trying to fight your song being on the internet…if you take down ten posts there’s gonna be ten more posts in another hour. Just be happy that, you know what I’m saying, that motherfuckers want to hear your shit.”
With that, what was a normal spring interview highlighting one of hip-hop’s legends has now turned into a hip-hop legend’s parting, sage advice to any young or open mind out there. Prodigy always kept it real when he spoke or spit a verse and he was truly an intellectual. His words should resonate with every hip-hop head out there, as his words always found a way to transform perspective. Rest in power, Albert Johnson.
Watch the full interview below (albeit a short one) where he talks about the making of Mobb Deep’s “The Infamous” album and how Nas helped inspire it and how he obtained the “Quiet Storm” beat in addition to the aforementioned topics.