With an abundance of headlines swirling around about the unfortunate passing of the solidified hip-hop vet, Prodigy, I began thinking about why he grew to be one of my favorites. Aside from the anthem-like classics he is recognized for as a part of Mobb Deep, or the unforgettable beefs he was involved in with people like Jay-Z or Crooked I, there was something about P that made him different. It seemed no matter where his career took him, he would die before he forgot his adversely vicious upbringing. He was a true New Yorker through and through, and it was heard with clarity every time he breathed on a mic. I had the pleasure of meeting Prodigy a couple years back after a show. There was no doubt in my mind that he hung around to speak with fans because it was what he felt the need to do, not his manager or anybody else.
So, without further ado, here are my top 5 verses from the Queens legend (in no order).
Prodigy & Alchemist - Give Em Hell (2013)
Smoke a Dutch full of dust, pull a homo"
I always felt P adapted to the challenge of aging quite well. His voice grew heavy and pronounced, and his stayed true to his grime. This imagery of getting high on PCP and committing a homicide will testify.
Big Pun - Tres Leches Ft. Inspectah Deck & Prodigy (1998)
One of the best New York cuts ever, Prodigy getting it done on the late Big Pun's classic Capital Punishment. P really just dances all over this RZA instrumental and paints a picture, the visuals become branded in your head.
Mac Miller - Confessions of a Cash Register Ft. Prodigy (2013)
Like I said before, there's something about the later days of P that catches my ear and resonates so well. Also, in case you can't tell, I am really fond of the chemistry he had with his good friend Alchemist who supplied this instrumental.
Mobb Deep - Hell On Earth (1996)
"Test me, you must be bent, G, don't tempt me/I had this full clip for so long, it needs to empty"
This track, being the title track from Mobb Deep's 1996 LP, serves as one of the staple records for fans of the duo. The beat has their name written all over it, and Prodigy sandwiches a tight verse from Havoc with two gems of his own. That's where this decision got tough. Prodigy truly bodied each of those verses, although I think I would have been criticized if I didn't choose the latter.
Prodigy - Three Ft. Cormega (2000)
"F**k a cab lets take cracked out Yolanda's Saab/
We gave that bitch two wibbles"
Coming from my personal favorite Prodigy project (Mobb Deep or solo), Prodigy rolls along this head-banger of a beat utilizing that imagery I think so highly of. He tells a story so well you almost forget that he's rhyming to a brilliant scheme. That's what P did so well- come off as effortless.
Rest in Power to Prodigy, a real stand-up guy.