Whether through sheer determination or the innate knack for crafting music, Prodigy has once again become a mainstay since his 2011 release from a three-year prison stint. A street Rap favorite since the mid ‘90s, he has remained astute and dedicated to satisfying his core audience aside from infrequent letdowns such as last year’s H.N.I.C. 3—an effort panned for blatant commercial attempts including “Gangsta Love” and “Pretty Thug.” Never resting on his laurels for long, Prodigy’s present output is the bold yet unsurprisingly titled Albert Einstein, and it serves as his second project fully produced by long time collaborator Alchemist.
While saving face to restore the fractured public image of Mobb Deep, recent history has found Prodigy developing a bond with Alchemist, who is steadily evolving towards his own legendary status behind the boards. Threatening as ever, “Give ‘Em Hell,” “Curb Ya Dog” and the crime caper “Confessions” all fit a running theme that has yet to be exhausted, despite this late point in P’s career. Speaking to his timeless nature, Prodigy boasts, “Got my style preserved like cans on the shelf” on “Bear Meat,” taking its title from the hook “Retweet that, you sweet like bear meat…” (a likely reply to his group’s turmoil spilling onto social media). In a similar vein, “Stay Dope” and “Raw Forever” both emphasize his focus on longevity, the latter taking the unusually mature stance that seeks a drama free existence.
Though carrying the majority of the lyrical duty by himself, Prodigy holds his own alongside an assorted cast who properly fit the gritty scope of Albert Einstein. His descriptive parables include “Esoteric knowledge and I’m criminal minded / A lady’s wet dream and the devil’s worst nightmare…” on “Death Sentence,” where he doesn’t allow the brutally competitive Roc Marciano to steal his thunder. “R.I.P.” resurrects the outdated breakbeat concept as P’s now sporadic partner in rhyme Havoc and Raekwon help him properly honor the old school. And on the Action Bronson assisted “The One,” Prodigy still manages to escape embarrassment despite restructuring an infamous Trinidad James line with “I don’t (fuck) with no snitches / So I need to know who’s telling.” One of the few departures from hardcore Hip Hop, the smoothed out “Y.N.T.” features an unmemorable appearance from usual show stealer Domo Genesis, a sign of the lead emcee’s hunger to be recognized amongst today’s most mentioned.
Sharing his first name with the famed genius, Prodigy breaks his advanced expertise down to a science on Albert Einstein. Mediocre moments occur far and few in between quality tracks, as “Dough Pildin” is outweighed by the strong composure and focus contained within “Breeze” and “Say My Name.” Though his synergy with Alchemist hasn’t quite matched that of his former duo, and the album is repetitive in nature (a sure complaint for anyone highly critical of his solo work), Prodigy continues his largely consistent reign as a still thriving pioneer of New York’s once thugged-out era.