Harlem, NY - 

The magnitude of the life Albert “Prodigy” Johnson lived within the Hip Hop community continues to reveal itself as the late Mobb Deep member’s funeral approaches.

As the West Coast endured BET Awards madness last weekend, P-Dolo’s great New York City put on a tribute to honor his memory via the Harlem Arts Festival. The act of solidarity came about from a tragic situation, seeing that Prodigy was supposed to be the headlining act of the charitable celebration. M-1 of dead prez was there, not only to rep for the legacy of P, but to unearth some lyrics that have been in the vault for more than 17 years.

Back in 2000 when dead prez released their debut album, Let’s Get Free, they shared the same Loud Records umbrella as Mobb Deep. Prodigy was asked to participate on an interlude connecting to the song “Be Healthy” — a self-explanatory diatribe that preached smart eating within the black and Hip Hop community — but his verse was left off the final pressing.

M-1 addressed the Harlem Arts Festival audience saying, “I gotta say as an MC and a lyricist, what [Prodigy] said on the album is which we kept but was totally different from the rap that we asked him to say. And that rap hit the cutting room floor and we never put it out,” M-1 explained before launching into the rap while offering up a small parental advisory warning.

dead prez lets get free

New World Rap Order: dead prez’s debut album featured classic hits such as “They Schools,” “Mind Sex” and of course, “(It’s Bigger Than) Hip Hop.”

The rap obviously didn’t match the sensibilities of the “Be Healthy” record but it did highlight the dynamics of Prodigy’s capabilities of the time, having been less than a year removed from helping Mobb Deep earn their first platinum plaque with Murda Muzik and several months away from going Gold with his solo debut, H.N.I.C. M-1 and Prodigy stayed friends over the years, most recently collaborating on the 2016 album, Between Me and The World.

Aside from M-1, Maurice Brown put together the all-star ensemble which also included Ski Beatz, Marc Carey’s Short Circuit and John Robinson to pay tribute to Prodigy at the festival, which puts on events year-round. Its founder, Neal Ludevig, tells HipHopDX exclusively that its main purpose is not only to uplift the Harlem community but to exemplify the talents that are created within the borough.

“HAF’s purpose is to provide resources, visibility, and career opportunities to artists, to increase participation and engagement in the arts, and to continue Harlem’s artistic legacy of making art that preserves the history and develops the identity of Harlem,” he said.


Watch above for the exclusive look of M-1’s Prodigy tribute and visit www.harlemartsfestival.com for more information on upcoming events.