A few days ago, we lost one of the most important figures in hip hop and one of my favorite people of the culture, Prodigy of legendary New York rap duo Mobb Deep. As a music enthusiast through and through, this hurt me to my core. Mobb Deep is one of those groups that holds a permanent place in my heart and life. The Infamous was the soundtrack to a lot of unforgettable memories of my 20s. In fact, every Mobb Deep album between '95 and '06 was on my list of favorite rap albums of that time. In terms of east coast rap, Prodigy and Havoc are the cream of the crop. They were a part of that original collective of MC's that shaped the gritty, street style that has become synonymous with New York rap. This is a huge loss for hip hop, for music in general. I've literally spent the last week immersing myself into nothing but Mobb Deep albums, Prodigy's solo work, even original recordings sampled in their songs. I always celebrate my favorite artists, living or dead, on their birthdays and/or the day of their passing. It serves as sort of a ritual for me. It fills me up.
In honor of P, I've decided to curate a playlist of timeless songs that were sampled on Mobb Deep's projects. From Miles Davis's Bitches Brew, to Bobbi Humphries's Blacks and Blues, to Herbie Hancock's Jessica, to movie scores from Scarface and Foxy Brown, this playlist is definitely a mood and has the spirit of Mobb Deep all through it.
I didn't fall in love with the art of sampling until around the very beginning of the 2000s, and ever since, I've turned it into an adventure. It's such a dope way to discover classic songs from prior decades, that is, if you're not already hip to them. I love old school music to the core, so putting this playlist together was a special moment, even more special because of Prodigy. If you're a fan, you will enjoy the guessing game of figuring out which Prodigy/Mobb Deep song the sample was featured in. You can check out the playlist here. And if you just need your MB fix, I got you there too.
Rest in peace, P. Your legacy will live for eternity. We love you.