In honor of Prodigy's recent rant on being hip-hop's greatest innovator, here's a snippet from an interview I did with him recently.
You went to an art school high school. How did that influence you in your rap career?
That’s where me and Hav(oc) met. Basically the only reason I went to that school is cause all my friends from my neighborhood went there. It didn’t really have that much to do with art. I had to take a test to get in there. I used to do some little graffiti type characters, and they accepted me in. I was always interested in drawing, little cartoon characters and graffiti art, but I wasn’t too serious into it. When I met Hav in the school, we was running around getting in trouble, and we found out we both had an interest in rap music. Me and Hav started cutting out of school going to the studio and the first thing we did right away was something special. Our first name was Poetical Prophets. It fit us, but it didn’t really fit how we was living our life. So we wanted to change our name to really describe how we was living.
You’ve been emphatic that you’re a rapper and not a criminal. But you are still rapping about murder on H.N.I.C. 2. How do you explain that?
If I’m rapping about anything like that, I’m talking about a situation of self-defense. Anytime we say something like that, we don’t speak recklessly, we don’t tell anyone to go out there and murder and kill. We’re trying to bring a message to people: what life is like in the hood and what we go through. We came into the game when we was like 14, 15 years old. We said a lot of reckless shit back then. But as we got older, you will hear exactly what Mobb Deep mean and what we talk about.
You speak about spirituality on the new song “My World Is Empty Without You.” Can you elaborate your beliefs?
I mean I’m not a religious person. I’m a spiritual person. I believe I got my own connection with the creator. I don’t believe in a lot of these religions and a lot of these things that the government and the system and the way they raised us and the things that they did to my people in the past. That gives me the right not to believe a lot of the shit they teach us. About my own connection with the creator -- that’s how it’s supposed to be. We didn’t have a bible, we had our own connection with the people.
Are you a conspiracy theorist?
I mean it’s definitely not theory, it’s fact. If you do the homework you’ll see. You’ll start to see on the dot. The more you dig deep, the more you’ll start connecting all the dots. It’s definitely a conspiracy against our freedoms. I just read a lot about history and my people, other cultures. History of religion, about foods and ingredients.