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Mobb Deep’s Prodigy dies at 42

The Queensbridge rapper had long battled sickle cell anemia

3:43 PMHe had you stuck off the realness from day one.

Albert “Prodigy” Johnson, half of the seminal 1990’s rap group Mobb Deep, has died at the age of 42, according to Nas’ Instagram account. Known as P, P Double and The HNIC, based on his series of albums by the same name, he had publicly battled sickle cell anemia for some time. He becomes the latest in a line of many rappers of his era to die before age 50, a trend that’s becoming more the norm than the exception.

More specifically, Prodigy was a personal favorite. Ever since he burst onto the scene with the head-cracking anthem “Shook Ones (Part II)” in 1995, captivating a generation of fans looking for a hardcore East Coast aesthetic that accurately portrayed the absurd and pointless violence of the streets, he was an instant legend. That album, along with the subsequent offering from him and his partner and producer Havoc, established them in a long line of greats on the hip-hop scene from the Queensbridge Houses project in New York.

When he branched out to make his solo move, he still held on to that in-your-face bravado mixed with street wisdom that for a certain type of rap head was impossible to let go of. Here are my favorite verses of his, from a time when rapping about killing people was still something that people did with some level of seriousness.

Here are my five Prodigy faves.

Honorable mention: “I Shot Ya” (remix)


Best lyric:
But anyway, back on the real side of things/
My n—-s sling cracks and wear fat diamond rings/
Not only is it inside the songs that we sing/
Everything is real not just a song that we sing

A more recent selection:

5. “G.O.D. Pt. III”

Best lyric:
Horror tales in Braille, for vision-impaired/
You looking for P, well you can find him everywhere/
In a project near you, I’ll be right there

4. “Eye for An Eye”

Best lyric:
Life is a gamble, we scramble for money/
I might crack a smile but ain’t a damn thing funny/
I’m caught up in the dirt where your hands get muddy/
Plus the outcome turns out to be lovely

3. “Mac 10 Handle”

Forget the lyrics — this video is completely insane and a true testament to just how creative this man was.

2. “Shook Ones (Part II)”

While many will call this the best, and I won’t argue with them, it’s still not my favorite. The first time I heard it, I had it memorized. It truly changed the world, and when I was 19 I sang this song louder than any I ever have in my life. It’s a classic, and it always will be. I won’t be forgetting this verse until I’m in a casket.

1. Keep It Thoro

Best lyric:
When you see me in the streets soldier, salute me/
You just a groupie, oh, you gangsta, then shoot me

This is easily the best “don’t start nothing won’t be nothing” song of all time for my money. The beat bangs viciously, and the line “I’ll throw a TV at you” is still an all-timer. I still play this when I’m ready to get hype to do random stuff like fold clothes.

Rest in peace, Prodigy. A real legend.

Daily Dose

Daily Dose: 6/19/17

Another black person killed by police, this time in Seattle

4:35 PMThe fight continues in Washington, D.C. And no, this one has nothing to do with President Donald Trump. On Monday, the Washington Redskins secured a small victory with a Supreme Court ruling that deemed the law preventing the team from registering trademarks with the word “Redskins”— or “offensive trademarks” — as unconstitutional. The controversial team name has been a topic of discussion for decades, but it intensified in May 2013 after team owner Dan Snyder staunchly vowed to never change it. Months later, President Barack Obama joined in, adding, “If I were the owner of the team and I knew that there was a name of my team — even if it had a storied history — that was offending a sizable group of people, I’d think about changing it.” A year later, the Trademark and Trial Appeal Board ordered the cancellation of the Washington Redskins’ six federal trademarks. Now, three years and several court appearances later, we’re here. Snyder is “thrilled,” according to reports, and team attorney Lisa Blatt praised the court’s decision. The team may have won the war, but something tells me this battle is far from over.

Oh, wait! There is Trump news. Within a few hours of releasing a statement acknowledging Juneteenth, the oldest and most well-known celebration honoring the end of slavery in the United States, the internet quickly drew comparisons between President Trump’s issued statement and former president Barack Obama’s — one focused more on freed slaves, while the other praised men who allowed slaves to be freed. As the statement continues to be debated, most social media users have moved on to criticizing the president’s silence after an overnight van attack in London that left one pedestrian dead and 10 others wounded.

Another day, another non-conviction. If you haven’t heard about the infuriating yet unsurprising acquittal of Officer Jeronimo Yanez in the shooting death of Philando Castile last July. The verdict prompted marches and calls to action across the country. Castile, a 32-year-old cafeteria supervisor and registered gun owner, reached into his pocket to get his license. Fearing that Castile was retrieving a weapon, Yanez shot him multiple times and walks away a free man, as we’ve witnessed so many times before. The same song will continue: The national outrage, pain and frustration and personalized hashtags will roar, then quiet until the next unfortunate encounter.

Two days later, another police-involved shooting. A pregnant woman was fatally shot by two officers in front of several children in Seattle after reporting a burglary earlier that morning. According to police, 30-year-old Charleena Lyles displayed a knife before the two officers opened fire. Although the incident is still under investigation, family members told media outlets that Lyles had been suffering with mental health issues for the past year. The children inside the apartment at the time of the shooting were not injured.

Jay Z adds context to the recent 4:44 ads. We’ve all seen the mysterious salmon-colored background with the bold, black 4:44 displayed directly in the center. The ads, which simultaneously popped up in New York and Los Angeles and on several websites two weeks ago, sent social media sleuths into a frenzy. The only clue: the word “Tidal” in the coding that accompanied the ads. Many speculated it might be a new project from the proud papa of newborn twins, and others hoped it would be specifically about the twins.

Jay Z will be dropping a new album on June 30 as a result of a new partnership between Tidal and Sprint. In addition to the new music, the partnership will support the 1Million Project to help 1 million low-income high school students across the United States gain access to the internet. Free mobile devices and free high-speed wireless internet will be provided to participating students during their high school years.

It’s a win for all.

The Morning Roast: 6/19/17

Father’s Day edition, with Mina Kimes in D.C.!

4:13 PMSo, Saturday afternoon I was sitting on my couch and I got a phone call from one Mina Kimes. She doesn’t usually call me on the actual telephone, so I figured something different was up. She was in the area and was having technical difficulties with her remote unit, and before she finished getting that out I started celebrating that she was going to be in studio with us! You have to understand, this doesn’t happen.

We’ve managed to do this show every week with two of us in the same place, or sometimes none of us in the same place, so for us to all be in the same room is a real treat. Particularly when it’s not the bright lights of Bristol. Anyways, it was a blast, but speaking of technical duties, the show got cut off with a half-hour left. Alas.

Hour 1

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Things got off to a fast start because I had the weekend Uber ride from hell. After recapping our weekends, Domonique Foxworth voiced his displeasure that Mina was even considering not coming into studio, considering how close she was to us in proximity. Once they sorted out that little spat, I got to break out my new drop, which is fun because it’s from a TV show that I enjoyed tremendously: Happy Endings.

Other than that we broke down the NBA’s draft situation, which was fresh off the Celtics trading their No. 1 overall pick to the 76ers. We also recapped the Petty Olympics between LeBron James and Draymond Green, which has made this gap between the Finals and the draft far more bearable.

Lastly, of course, the NFL came up, because it always does. I asked the question of whether the Patriots are going to eventually be considered the most accomplished franchise in the history of the NFL, because a Steelers linebacker seems to think them being a superteam is problematic for the league. Newsflash: It’s not.

Hour 2

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Can we show some love to Sam Hinkie? The former Philadelphia 76ers GM and president has been vindicated in his quest to make that team relevant again, even though he got fired. They got the young guys, they’ve got another top pick, and now everyone’s excited. Good for them, and for him too.

We also had as a guest Brian Custer of Showtime Boxing, joining to talk about the Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight — if you want to call it that. After that, we continued to break down the NBA draft with ESPN draft insider Chad Ford.

Domonique, the only father in the group, closed out with the Top 5 worst dad gifts, in honor of Father’s Day.

Hour 3

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After resetting the NBA talk, we got into the latest from the Bachelor in Paradise situation, which is really not good. The production has been shut down, and DeMario and Corinne are locked in a strange circumstance that involves a dispute over consent. Nothing good about that at all.


Bill Cosby’s sexual assault mistrial was as much about power as it was about rape

Cosby’s silence speaks of his wholesale betrayal

4:55 PMIf you ever needed proof that rape is as much about power as it is about sex, a Pennsylvania courtroom just handed it to you. On the day that Bill Cosby’s sexual assault case was declared a mistrial, his spokesperson Andrew Wyatt came right out and proudly preached to the world, “Mr. Cosby’s power is back. It’s back. It has been restored.”

While the blind comedian stood behind him, Wyatt methodically explained, whether he knew so or not, exactly why misogyny and toxic masculinity keep scores of women from never reporting their attackers.

In the words of Huey P. Newton: “Power is the ability to defy phenomena, and make it act in a designed manner.” Wyatt then repeated it. After the aforementioned declaration of the return of Cosby’s power, he continued: “The legacy didn’t go anywhere, it has been restored.”

It’s impossible to forget any of the steps that got us here. The initial accusers. The payoffs. The subsequent accusers. The pound cake speech. Hannibal Buress. All the other shenanigans that Cosby’s lawyers tried to pull to make sure this very trial would never come to light.

Ultimately, Andrea Constand was allowed to confront her accuser and a jury simply couldn’t bring themselves to convict a man who legitimately admitted to violating her when she was unable to move. Cosby was so obsessed with his invasive conquests that he told his accuser’s own mother about what he did to her.

It’s hard to describe what happens to people when they get to control things. Most men live their whole lives not realizing how much opportunity and unjust right they are given to power. But when they get it, they believe they deserve it. Bill Cosby, apparently since the age of 11, has been consumed with controlling women. When he agreed to pay Constand’s school costs, as an offset for his actions, he insisted she maintain a 3.0 GPA. Even in admitting wrong, he had to have some level of say in her choices.

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” were the words of Lord Acton, the 19th-century British politician. Cosby’s world and mind were so incredibly corrupted that he didn’t even believe that what he was doing was wrong. Woven into the fabric of his existence is a world in which women were in his life for the purposes of being his sexual objects. Most men are taught to think this way. He thought this was OK. From the way he talks, as a man of power, he thought it was his right.

I don’t need a courtroom full of people to come to a decision for me to know that Cosby is a scumbag. That was clear ages ago. In a time in America in which the legal system is so obviously perverted toward the maintenance of patriarchal power structures, nobody on earth thought this man was going to be convicted.

The odd irony of the entire thing is that Cosby knows his spokesman is lying. His eyes are failing, not his mouth. He made a living with his voice but would rather let someone else do his bidding at this stage of life. It’s a very cruel twist on rape culture that he should be allowed to be silent when he spent so many years silencing dozens of women who cried out to be heard.

No one man should have all that power. But only men do.

Daily Dose: 6/16/17

Two black officers honored at Congressional Baseball Game

1:35 PMI’ll be hosting The Right Time again Friday afternoon, filling in for Bomani Jones again on #TheRightTime. We’re getting into that time of year where the sports calendar is pretty bare. Summer Camp Radio!

So, it looks like President Donald Trump is under investigation after all. After all that nonsense in which he awkwardly yelled at NBC’s Lester Holt about the whole matter and started the whirlwind that has had Washington in a mess ever since. It’s about his potential involvement with Russia, which is a bizarre web that also involves Attorney General Jeff Sessions. What the president believes himself versus what is actually true, who knows, but Trump says that what he’s under investigation for is firing FBI chief James Comey.

So, Amazon just bought Whole Foods. Sure, it sounds a little weird off the top, but think about it. If you were going to take over the world, what would you do? You’d probably buy a major globally branded newspaper, right? Then, to find a proper distribution model for everything else you push, you’d snap up one of the most popular high-end grocery store chains in the country, right? Well, lucky for Jeff Bezos, he has that kind of money, and that’s exactly what he did. All hail the new king.

If you didn’t know, Rep. Steve Scalise’s life was saved by two black people. When a guy decided to open fire on a Congressional Baseball Game practice, elected officials were sent running for cover and had only their security to protect them. One of those Capitol Police officers was a woman named Crystal Griner. She is a lesbian. It was she and a colleague, David Bailey, who engaged in the firefight that killed the man who was ready to mow down a lot more people. Oh, it should be noted: Scalise is not an ally of the LGBTQ community. At all.

The closer we get to the NBA draft, the more LaVar Ball’s name comes up. You know who that’s good for? Lonzo Ball. After he popped off on his dad in a Foot Locker commercial, he’s got his fellow soon-to-be draftees going after LaVar, too. Now, De’Aaron Fox has joined the chorus of people who can’t stand the man who started Big Baller Brand, which is sort of hilarious to me. Why on earth would you get involved in this man’s drama if you didn’t have to? Fox is not here for Ball’s games, which means that draft night should be prettttty interesting.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Look, there’s a whole lot of new music out right now, so you need to understand that this weekend is about to be lit on multiple levels. Young Thug has a new album out, and it’s summery and amazing. Dej Loaf just dropped some new heat, too. And 2 Chainz is out here, in addition. I’M VERY READY FOR SUMMER, Y’ALL.

Snack Time: Getting props from Barack Obama will never not be cool. In this case, he congratulated Jay Z on making the Songwriters Hall of Fame. These two and their bromance will only grow.

Dessert: Rest in peace, Jim Graham.

Daily Dose: 6/15/17

There will be no slander of ‘The Color Purple’

12:51 PMI’ll be filling in Thursday afternoon on #TheRightTime with Bomani Jones on ESPN Radio from 4-7 p.m. EST. Tune in to that if you want to hear me yelling about random things.

The game will go on Thursday night at Nationals Park. Despite the fact that a gunman tried to kill elected officials while they were practicing for the Congressional Baseball Game. If you don’t know, that’s a game played by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle every year that raises money for charity. And although the world of many members of Congress was turned upside down, I imagine Thursday night will be a very celebratory scene. On the real, however, Rep. Steve Scalise is still in the hospital. By the way, here are the two officers who prevented a massacre.

Elizabeth Banks, we need to have a talk. If you’re going to be calling people out, please get your facts straight. She said to a crowd that Steven Spielberg has never cast a movie with a female lead. Even though she was corrected, at the time, and told that The Color Purple is actually a thing that exists, she basically ignored that. Because it’s real easy to ignore black people when our stories don’t center on white people. Meanwhile, people are trying to say that movie was a flop. Which is, of course, completely insane considering how much of a cultural marker that film is.

It’s been quite the offseason for Richard Sherman. There were rumors that he wanted out of Seattle, and there were stories about how the locker room might be at odds because of an overall lack of respect for Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Now, he’s opening up about his relationship with Wilson, which at this point feels like it’s basically the entire fulcrum of this team’s emotional balance. I gotta say, I’m fascinated by what this team is going to be in the upcoming season. They’ve easily got the most interesting locker room in the NFL.

Welp, it looks like things just got worse for Rick Pitino. The NCAA has ruled that the sex scandal that rocked the Louisville men’s basketball program will not only cost Pitino, the team’s head coach, a five-game suspension, but they’ll also have to vacate wins from 2010-14. You might recall that they won a little something called the 2013 national championship. Of course, who knows what vacating wins really means, because it’s not like you can unplay the games and undo the actual moments of victory.

Free Food

Coffee Break: There are certain goals in soccer that, no matter what, I will remember for the rest of my life. There are also certain guys who will be forever remembered for said strikes. Roberto Carlos is precisely that guy, and 20 years ago is when he made that mark. Check out this look back at one of the best goals, ever.

Snack Time: With Twitter getting a redesign and all this other nonsense going on, don’t let any of this distract you from the fact that DuckTales released its new title sequence.

Dessert: If you watch reality TV, this is worth your time.