The Realness Ep5: Go See About the God
DERRICK: Can’t let you see my secret hiding place. OK?
MARY: Out in Hempstead Long Island. Just a few minutes away from where Prodigy grew up is the house of this guy named Derrick Parker.
DERRICK: This is a safe you can’t penetrate this. If you get into it, Ima take it back to the manufacturer.
MARY: Right by his front door is a safe, and it's like a big one like the size of your high school locker.
MARY: OK, I have to tell you this is like a straight up a safe like. You see in like a movie,
DERRICK: Is it?
MARY: Yeah. Where It's like you -
MARY: He's covered it up with a garbage bag. I guess it's to make it look less obvious.
DERRICK: Yeah, I guess you could say that.
MARY: For years Derek was a detective with the NYPD. He likes to call himself the hip hop cop. He's basically a cop who is also a hip hop fan which meant that he became the in-house expert on rap music.
MARY: Oh my God. That’s - that’s Diddy!
MARY: You’ve got everyone.
DERRICK: These a lot of the rappers….
MARY: Derek still does security for hip hop acts. It explains why this safe is stuffed with mugshots - mugshots of rappers. He painstakingly mapped out who is connected with who - Mobb Deep’s crew included -
DERRICK: He used to be with the Mobb boys back then.
MARY: Derek pulls out a three ringed binder - points to a rapper named Tragedy -
DERRICK: Tragedy. See? These guys all ran Queens back then - Queen's crew guys. Queensbridge guys.
CHRISTOPHER: While Derrick was with the New York Police Department, he helped start something called the "Rap Intelligence Unit".
DERRICK: Some of the rap artists were perpetrators in crimes and some of them were victims and the police department had to come up with a plan to kind of combat the violence in the rap music industry. And that's where I fit in because they called me up and the commissioners wanted me to sit down and to explain to them what was going on especially with this East Coast West Coast rift. And I made my own hours.
CHRISTOPHER: Derek would just hang out in front of clubs on the weekend just waiting.
DERRICK: - I was out in my car with my camera or my video camera or you know just watch with my binoculars and lots people going in and people going out see who runs with who, who I know, who I don't know, you know car license plate numbers of cars if they’re leaving. We would watch everything.
MARY: I’d heard this rumor about Mobb Deep that I wanted to talk to Derrick about.
MARY: Is it true that because a bunch of people who said this to me that they were banned from performing in New York City for a certain amount of time ‘cause of the violence?
DERRICK: Mobb Deep was I mean what happens is the police department could put a stranglehold in your business.
MARY: He says. It's not that the NYPD could actually ban rappers from performing -
DERRICK: - But the police department can strangle your money. Because they'll tell the venue if you’re putting this act in here we're going to come down to your venue. And how do we do that. We'll put up roadblocks. A DWI checkpoint. We'll start checking people for open containers… we're not going to tell you that you can't bring them the artists we're suggesting you don't and we know when you suggest that it's like almost telling them don't do it.
MARY: In our last episode, we told you the story of that probation violation. It brought Prodigy to court right as Tupac and Biggie were killed.
CHRISTOPHER: Around that same time, the NYPD started to keep track of rappers in a whole new way. They cracked down at concerts. They put cameras in front of a hip hop radio station. They kept tabs on who ran with who.
MARY: And all this surveillance, eventually, it caught up with Prodigy. He’d carried guns for years. Always said it was for his own protection. But in 2006 he was arrested for weapons possession - again.
CHRISTOPHER: He'd beaten this kind of thing in the past but not this time. This time, Prodigy was headed up state for three and a half years. A lot of folks we talked to said that when he came out he was really different.
MARY: Even Prodigy said getting locked up. Changed him for the better. Made him healthier. So in this episode we're going to get inside the case that sent him to prison, and talk about why he came out a different man.
MARY: I'm Mary Harris.
CHRISTOPHER: And I'm Christopher Johnson. This is The Realness.
PRODIGY: Going away that, was probably - that might have been like the best thing that happened to me - getting locked up. Because I was acting real young minded, and doing foolish shit. You know what I mean? The music raised us. And when I got locked up… I think it helped save my life because I was going in the wrong direction; it just made me focus and made me, you know, get back to what I was supposed to be doing… you know what I’m saying - in life period. With music, with personal shit, you know - just everything.
CHRISTOPHER: Here’s how Prodigy wound up going to prison.
PRODIGY: October 26, 2006. It was Alchemist’s birthday.
CHRISTOPHER: The Alchemist is a producer who’d worked with Mobb Deep. He’s also one of Prodigy’s close friends. And they’re celebrating -
PRODIGY: With a case of Heinekens, a case of coronas, and a lot of Kush.
CHRISTOPHER: Alchemist, Prodigy, and a bunch of their dudes.
PRODIGY: Twin was pushing to go out, but Alchemist wanted to stay in the apartment and make music...Come on yo! It’s Alchemist’s birthday! Twins said. Let’s go out!
CHRISTOPHER: Eventually they all pile into Prodigy’s bulletproof Chevy SUV - and they start going, from club to club to club. And while they’re doing the circuit, Prodigy's got a small, 22 caliber pistol in his car. So then around 2 AM, they circle back to Alchemist’s house -
PRODIGY: Alchemist and I stopped at a red light directly across from his building on 30th street and 9th avenue.
CHRISTOPHER: And while they were waiting for the light to change, P spotted a parking spot across the street -
PRODIGY: - which was like winning the lotto in Manhattan. So when the light turned green, I made an illegal u-turn up 9th avenue and backed into the spot. Just as I was about to parallel park…a yellow cab with a six wide tag at the top and a red flashing police light on the dashboard pulled in front of my truck. Damn.
CHRISTOPHER: The cops get out of their car, walk up to Prodigy’s truck and pull everyone out.
PRODIGY: Do you have any weapons on you or in the car. The cop asked. “No” I replied. I knew I was going to get locked up.
CHRISTOPHER: Twins says he was always trying to convince Prodigy - to just leave the guns behind.
TWINS: Before we left we told P - he had two guns - we like leave one of them! You know what I mean? So he left one of ‘em. He would have got charged with two guns!
MARY: But why did he bring the guns?
TWINS: P used to have a gun everyday. Everyday - I don’t know why. We had no beef. Give me the gun. You know what I’m saying? I’m like let me hold it, son. I’m good. We good. We had no drama. Nothin’. I don’t know why. He just wanted to keep a gun on him.
MARY: Was he scared?
TWINS: I don’t know why. We used to - like how we sitting down me and Alchemist used to talk to him. We don’t need no gun; why you got the gun? We -
CHRISTOPHER: And what would he say?
TWINS: Ah you know, son. Gotta make sure we good.
PRODIGY: They threw Alchemist and me in the yellow cab, and brought us to the Midtown South Precinct on 35th street between 8th and 9th avenue… locking us in separate holding cells… with long hours of waiting. Yo Alchemist! I yelled through the cell bars after about an hour. Happy Birthday!
MARY: Prodigy was charged with criminal possession of a weapon.
CHRISTOPHER: And by this point, he had two kids: a boy, who he’d named T’Shaka, a version of his own childhood nickname; and a daughter, Fahtasia. They were still in grade school, so Prodigy did not want to do a lot of time. So he took a plea deal and got 3 and a half years.
MARY: And as this case wound down one day P is headed to the courthouse and he runs into that hip hop cop, Derrick Parker.
MARY: You said you ran into Prodigy in court. What happened tell me about that?
DERRICK: Well you know what, he was sick and he had just gotten out of a court case and I saw him outside. And I told him basically, I said Prodigy it wasn't personal. Well you thought that the police department had a personal vendetta against you. It was against the violence that was associated with you and some of the people that you ran with. And most rappers at that time. When you come up in the streets you bring your boys with you. You bring your community with you because you represent. But the problem is everything else comes with it. The drug dealers, the conmen, everybody comes part and parcel. So that's a problem I said to him. It's not personal against you, Prodigy, but it's just against some of the people that you are with. He was worried about going to prison and worried about jail. You know especially his condition.
MARY: Sickle cell. It was always there, just below the surface. Prodigy lived with this idea that he was always one crisis away from his body totally betraying him. He knew that being sick in prison could be especially dangerous.
KATHY: Hey, P, wassup?
PRODIGY: Hey, wassup?
CHRISTOPHER: Years after Prodigy got out of prison, he worked on a book with hip hop journalist Kathy Iandoli.
PRODIGY: When I realized I had to go to jail for three years, in my mind I was like - aight I’m going to jail from the hospital, so I can get my fucking medication every day.
CHRISTOPHER: Prodigy told Kathy, that as he sat there in that courtroom, and he was waiting to be taken to prison, he was worried about his - sickle cell.
PRODIGY: I had a - you know my experiences when I was young being young being locked up, I had got sick a few times. I got locked up in Long Island in Nassau County. I was in the county for a couple weeks - that was about as long as I did in jail, you know what I mean?
CHRISTOPHER: Prodigy told this story, about being locked up when he was younger, and getting sick -
PRODIGY: I had got sick because it was mad cold. I had the orange jumpsuit on it’s like wintertime, and it was freezing in the fucking jail. They got the AC bumping in there. So I had got sick. My sickle cell started acting up. And um - you know I had told the CO like yo I gotta go to the hospital - sickle cell acting up. I need to go to the hospital. And they didn’t know what the fuck I was talkin’ about. They didn’t give a fuck. They like gave me ibuprofen, Tylenol or whatever - so the shit just like progressively got worse to the point where I couldn’t even move, and I’m fucking crying. I’m in mad pain and shit, so that’s when they was like aight this kid gotta go to the hospital.
CHRISTOPHER: So NOW, it’s setting in for Prodigy: he’s facing hard time, and he’s getting worried. In our last episode, we told you how he’d stopped showing up to court for violating his probation. So he knew one way to get the court’s attention was to get hospitalized.
PRODIGY: While I was going to trial I would purposely pretend like I was sick - go to the hospital - and then when the trial date come up, I would make sure I was admitted in the hospital on that date, so I missed the trial date.
CHRISTOPHER: Prodigy refused to show up to his own sentencing. He missed five court appearances -
PRODIGY: And so finally judge was like ‘nah that motherfucker better show up to court this next time or else we gonna do whatever’. I went to court in a wheelchair, I ain’t even need that shit. Just so I could get my medication when they sentenced me, you know what I’m saying? I had the doctors at the hospital write a letter saying that he needs pain medication twice a day. He ain’t going in there with severe sickle cell or whatever, so when the judge sentenced me, that part was in my paperwork. So that day when I got sentenced and went to jail, they took me straight to Rikers Island to the infirmary.
MARY: This strategy worked. While he was incarcerated, Prodigy’s lawyer made sure he got his morphine, two-30 milligram tablets each day.
CHRISTOPHER: But even with all that, look, Prodigy was going to prison: where the healthcare system just isn’t set up to deal with a chronic condition - like sickle cell.
PRODIGY: If you just like complaining you got pain or you’re sick. They ain’t going to do shit.
PRODIGY: In Rikers, it was just like a big dorm. It wasn’t no cells. It was like 40 beds; everybody was all next to each other…
CHRISTOPHER: After a month in the Rikers Island jail, Prodigy told Kathy Iandoli that he got on a bus with dozens of other inmates. They were all about to enter the state prison system.
PRODIGY: I was handcuffed - like - to 100 different inmates - we was all shackled together -
CHRISTOPHER: They gradually - one by one - realized… that they’re handcuffed to a rap star.
PRODIGY: All the inmates on the bus is all talking to me - they knew who I was - a lot of bloods, a lot of gang motherfuckers and shit - they was just like yo Prodigy oh shit I’m locked up with Prodigy!
CHRISTOPHER: They start giving Prodigy little bits of advice on how to survive life behind bars.
PRODIGY: So they was like yo it’s your first time going up north? I’m like yeah. So they was like explaining to me everything and how the process and everything. They was like yo try to get a job in the kitchen - do this do that the third. Get ready for these motherfuckers. They gonna make you shave your head and take a cold ass shower - once we get to downstate. So they was just like giving me the rundown.
CHRISTOPHER: But Prodigy wasn’t a normal inmate.
PRODIGY: So when I got up north - you know they took me on the side. They was like yo you ain’t gotta go through all that shit everybody else going through. They was like we gonna take you this way…. other inmates, they all had - it was like 40-50 inmates - they all had to strip buck naked and like get screened on, look at the wall, and all kinds of weird shit I didn’t have to do none of that shit -
CHRISTOPHER: And the prison system had to decide what to do with an inmate who had Sickle Cell Anemia.
PRODIGY: I was in the isolation room (why?) because that’s - you know, they didn’t know where to put me - know what I mean? (So what did that look like) It was just a room with big ass - like - bulletproof window - and like a door with bulletproof glass - and then like behind the bed, it was like another window with bulletproof glass where you could see outside into the yard. (And were you allowed to leave it) Nah.
CHRISTOPHER: He spent his first few months being bounced from prison to prison. And most of that time, he was confined to solitary hospital rooms, where his only company was the clean up crew.
PRODIGY: So one time they slipped me a bunch of weed and some cigarettes under the door and uh - (How were you even able to smoke it? Couldn’t they smell it?) Well, I was in a isolation room, so it’s like one small ass room. So I was scared to smoke it. I actually flushed that shit down the toilet (Yeah). Yeah, I was shook! I was like nah I ain’t getting caught smoking this shit in here.
CHRISTOPHER: Prodigy eventually got out of those isolation rooms. He was moved to Midstate Correctional Facility in Marcy, NY, where he was put in protective custody with other inmates.
GREGORY: Yeah, it was protective custody. And basically what that meant is we were escorted whenever we went anywhere so we weren’t attacked.
MARY: Gregory Kaczmarek is a former police chief who was caught selling cocaine - and he was locked up alongside Prodigy.
GREGORY: There was a lot of characters on our unit. You know there was Prodigy - Dennis Kozlawski was on our tier…
MARY: This guy Gregory’s talking about -- Dennis Kozlowski. He was one of a slew of businessmen arrested in the early 2000s for financial trouble. Here's how decadent this guy was. He threw a 2 million dollar birthday party for his wife. It had an ice sculpture of Michelangelo's David and that ice sculpture peed vodka. So this unit was a kind of a ragtag bunch.
GREGORY: There were some people that had sex crimes and you know other law enforcement you know -
MARY: Such a weird mix? It’s like sex crimes, famous people, rich people, former law enforcement. It’s just a funny mix.
GREGORY: Oh it sure is. It’s also informants. Because if somebody was a rat, they were in trouble.
MARY: From the outside, it sort of looks like Prodigy had it good in prison. People knew who he was. They looked out for him. But it was still - prison.
GREGORY: And the common phrase is if you don’t like it don’t go to jail.
MARY: In protective custody, a doctor came by once a week, but inmates told us it was actually harder to get medical attention in this unit than it was in the general population. Gregory was getting monthly bloodwork for his cancer.
GREGORY: But with 6 months to go I refused all medical attention; it was that bad.
GREGORY: I just said I’ll get through 6 months it was really atrocious.
MARY: Gregory used to be a nurse. So he knows a little bit about what good medical care looks like.
GREGORY: I was told that I could get an annual teeth cleaning and I went to the dental clinic - you know as an inmate, you have no way of knowing if it’s policy or just somebody’s attitude. But when I got in the chair to have my teeth cleaned - the woman had her back to me and she was very nice and everything, but she said which 8 teeth would you like cleaned?
MARY: You got to select the 8?
GREGORY: The number 8. I said I don’t get what you mean. She goes well that’s the average number of teeth inmates have here, so that’s what we’re authorized to clean. And she said you have a full mouth. I suggest you get the - I said how do I pick - and she said I would suggest to do your lower teeth ‘cause that’s where there’s the most tartar…
MARY: That’s crazy!
GREGORY: I - but and again I have no way of knowing, if that’s standard practice, if that’s this person’s jollies. You have no way of knowing any of that stuff.
MARY: Prison officials told us this wasn’t their policy. Like Gregory says, he could have just been treated by one especially sadistic person. And we can’t know what Prodigy’s medical care looked like while he was in prison, either.
CHRISTOPHER: But we do know that getting locked up forced Prodigy to grapple with who he’d been on the outside, before he went to prison.
PRODIGY: I was just outta control, smoking mad weed, drinking heavily. I already learned that shit fucks up my sickle cell when I do that, but I was so angry, and just wanting to hurt somebody. Just always - trigger finger itchy. Like ready to show a n---- like, don’t play with me - I’m just trying - I’m going about my business, doing my music. Making my money. Don’t come over ever playing with my life, you know what I’m saying, ‘cause you’re gonna find out! So this was my mentality everyday, and that’s what started to rot away my spirit, my brain, everything was just like ugh - felt disgusting. And I didn’t realize how disgusting it was until I got caught with the gun in my car, and got locked up, and I just started thinking about everything… like damn.
MARY: Prodigy decided to use his time in prison, to focus his mind. Get himself straight.
PRODIGY: You know just being locked up it made me like - aight - I want to see what happens if I’m on some military discipline shit. Straight water every day - green vegetables - I wanted to see the outcome of that. So I did it.
CHRISTOPHER: He convinced his family to start sending him 30 pounds of canned vegetables in the mail. The packages came every month, and at least it was a better diet than what prison food gave him.
PRODIGY: You know what I mean, and because of doing that I was able to work out - doctors told me all my life I can’t work out I can’t do any - physical contact or strenuous exercise ‘cause it’ll trigger your sickle cell. And it’s true like certain things I do like if I’m running around too much and my heart rate start going too fast, I get too hype my adrenaline start pumping - it can trigger my sickle cell.
MARY: The thing with sickle cell and exercise is that exercise actually decreases the amount of oxygen that's getting to your muscles. It's a kind of stress but that kind of stress is really hard because sickle cell patients just don't have any oxygen in their blood to spare. And so it can trigger you into a full on pain crisis. So while he was at mid-state, P developed a system slow steady workouts, lots of push ups. He'd give himself tablets of morphine if he needed them, and he found if he didn't rush he could be OK.
PRODIGY: It felt great. It felt great. I was like wow this is ill.
MARY: And soon enough, his friends started noticing he was different.
BENNY: ‘Cause you’d see from a picture - so by the time I got to see him - he already looking different you know what I mean, since the last time I seen him.
MARY: There’s one person who saw him change up close, week after week. This is a guy who goes by King Benny.
BENNY: Small skinny dude - you know. He ain’t so skinny no more!
MARY: Benny grew up a few miles down the road from Mid-State, in Utica. He’s a hip hop producer - he had worked with some guys from Queensbridge. When P got locked up, one of them gave him a call:
BENNY: P the god, go see the God. I’m like alright. You sure? You just want to pop up on a motherfucker… who the fuck is this dude oh yeah I heard of you type shit...
MARY: So did you literally just like show up one weekend?
BENNY: Basically, yeah (like, what’s up) - I mean first you know I’m trying to contain - you know like - my excitement right now you know you still gotta be a man at the end of the day… on the inside like “it’s fucking Prodigy!” one on one…
MARY: Did he know you were coming?
BENNY: He got - it’s a couple trips I went up there and seen people like - I’m looking at him, we both neither one of us know who the fuck this person is that just come, but - one fucking person came from Russia. I swear to God. Russia. Didn’t speak English just sitting there at the table - it was the funniest shit ever - just at the table. But that just shows you how he touched people. That goes to show you. Somebody traveled from Russia just to see you.
MARY: Benny would roll up weekend after weekend. He'd bring Prodigy little bits of gossip. He’d talk to him about Kendrick Lamar's latest mixtape. Sometimes he'd bring shoes for Prodigy to wear. Benny would just wear some new shoes to prison, swap with P while they were sitting across the table from each other. Once, Benny even brought his stepdaughter with him. She’d been diagnosed with diabetes as a kid.
BENNY: At the time this was my girlfriend's daughter, so she lived, she lived with me. So I see what she deals with the insulin shots, you know, having to take that shit daily having to watch what she eats you know… he said bring her up, I wanna talk to her. So you know they had had their talk...
MARY: Benny drove her out one Saturday, introduced her to Prodigy. Then he left the table, and let them talk, one on one, about how they coped. When I spoke to her, she told me Prodigy put her at peace.
BENNY: Yeah, she said thank you. She said thank you. It’s a very big fucking void, man. It’s a very big void with him gone - aside from the music shit.
MARY: When we started reporting about Prodigy, I began following his daughter, Tasia, on Instagram - she’s 19 years old now. She’s a photographer. I noticed that last year she put up this letter she got from him, while he was in prison. It's written on the same yellow legal paper he was using to write his autobiography. He writes down all the normal dad stuff: he tells her to keep working hard in school and wear a scarf when she goes out in the cold. He tells her not to worry about him.
CHRISTOPHER: He also writes a rhyme for her. He says it was inspired by a phone call they had. He’d asked her how she was doing, and she said - I’m happy, for no reason. So, that’s what he called it.
PRODIGY: There used to be a time when I was mean spirited and angry
cause sickle cell hurts so bad I cursed the heaven’s daily.
But then I came to understand the lifestyle I was living
as causing me tremendous pain and misfortune was a given.
The air is sweet and the taste of water even sweeter,
and just to hear my daughter speak like this is a pain reliever.
PRODIGY: The day I got out, I was real anxious I know that.
CHRISTOPHER: After three years inside Prodigy was released on a cold March day. He actually walked through the prison gates and out into a snowstorm.
PRODIGY: After you get processed, they give you your package, whatever going home clothes you got. So I got my clothes; I changed into my street clothes that my family sent me. That felt good. I felt like I was closer to being out being dressed regular.
CHRISTOPHER: Years later Prodigy's still remembers exactly what he was wearing.
PRODIGY: It was like a pair of gray and black Bo Jacksons, and some like blue jeans, and like a button up white shirt, and like a pullover cardigan. And then when I got out - bunch of my friends were outside, a lot of my friends from Queensbridge - just a bunch of my friends and family was waiting outside for me. 10-15 people.
CHRISTOPHER: And he spent the whole drive back trying to figure out the touchscreen on his new phone.
PRODIGY: i was bugging off of that, but it was like it was something new - that I never seen before.
CHRISTOPHER: After he gets back to the city he goes to his favorite Korean restaurant and then he goes to meet up with 50 Cent. And remember Prodigy was a dude who had made a career out of beef and with other rappers, but now he pulls 50 aside and he says listen I've had this realization while I was inside. I don't want to fight with rappers anymore. I want to squash all of my beefs.
PRODIGY: You name it, whoever it is I’m squashing beefs with them I was like honestly I can’t afford to be beefing with n---s… Like you could beef with whoever you want to beef with you got the bread. Like, you know what I'm saying? I can’t afford to be beefing with n---s that shits fucking my money up. I started looking at life different when I was in jail. I started seeing the bigger picture. And then I bounced. I went straight to the studio after I left 50’s office - went straight to the studio.
CHRISTOPHER: That first day out of prison, Prodigy stayed up all night making music - song after song after song - tracks that he thought of while he was incarcerated. This dude was grinding - grinding so hard that he never actually left the studio. He started living there.
PRODIGY: When I had to come home, I had to parole to an address, so I paroled to the studio. You really not supposed to do that. You supposed to parole to a place that has a bathroom, a shower, a kitchen. It had to be a home - a residence. So the studio is a commercial space, but it has a shower, it has a bathroom, it has a little makeshift hot plate, kitchen. You know I was sleeping on a futon in the mic booth - first monday had to check in to parole I said yo listen, I work every day doing music. The best place for me to be, is in the studio 24/7. I need to be doing my job. I was like please let me parole here to this place - so he came, and looked at it. He said aight I’ll let you parole here. And, I just lived in the studio. I had a futon in the mic booth, and I just made songs 24 hours a day. And went right back to work. Like I never left.
CHRISTOPHER: In our final episode of The Realness, how we lost a hip hop icon:
GREG: I just dropped the phone. And I screamed. Like just screamed and screamed NO NO NO MAN NO NO NO...
CHRISTOPHER: The Realness is a production of WNYC Studios - hosted by me, Christopher Johnson, and Mary Harris.
MARY: Our editor is Christopher Werth. We had help from Consulting Producer Kathy Iandoli and Associate Producer Eryn Mathewson. Celia Muller makes sure we’re legally in the right. And Michelle Harris is our fact checker.
CHRISTOPHER: Jared Paul is our engineer, Cayce Means is our technical director. Our team includes Merritt Jacob, Amanda Aronczyk and Audrey Quinn. Along with Steven Reneau, Kaitlin Sullivan, Arianna Jones, and Nikki Galteland.
CHRISTOPHER: WNYC’s Vice President of News is Jim Schachter.
CHRISTOPHER: Thanks to WNYC’s Assistant Program Director Stevan Smith for reading Prodigy’s poem. And thanks to the Dooinit Festival and Manimal Studio for the audio of Prodigy you heard at the top of the show.
MARY: Trumpeter Christian Scott wrote our beautiful theme song, and composed a lot of the music in this series.
CHRISTOPHER: The additional music is by Melanie Hsu.
MARY: Thanks to Pandora for sharing audio of Questlove Supreme. A heads up from them: you can stream their “Sounds Like You” concert online; that performance included a rendition of Mobb Deep’s “Shook Ones Part 2” by Nas, recorded just a few weeks after Prodigy died.
CHRISTOPHER: We also want to show love to Prodigy’s friends and family who gave us their time, welcomed us into their homes, and shared their memories of a man they treasure.
WNYC’s health coverage and The Realness is supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Jane and Gerald Katcher and the Katcher Family Foundation, Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.