Nearly a year has passed since Albert “Prodigy” Johnson, one half of hip hop duo Mobb Deep, died at 42 from complications of sickle cell anemia. WNYC Studios chronicles the Queens-bred MC’s journey through rap superstardom and the disease that eventually took his life in its new podcast, “The Realness.”
The public media outlet’s statement notes that “The Realness” draws on new interviews with hip hop figures like MC Roxanne Shanté and producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad to discuss Prodigy’s career and impact on the artform. It also uses recently unearthed medical records and audio of Prodigy discussing his health to illustrate how sickle cell anemia touched nearly every aspect of his life. Ultimately, the six-episode podcast places Prodigy’s struggles within the context of the structural racism that leaves sickle cell anemia, which disproportionately affects Black patients, chronically ignored.
Check out the first two episodes of “The Realness,” released today (July 19):