Prodigy: 10 Essential Tracks From the Mobb Deep MC

Rapper Prodigy died at the age of 42, but his legacy of mixing street-level grit with emotional heft lives on

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Mobb Deep, "Front Lines (Hell on Earth)" (1996)

1996 found the hip-hop nation consumed in nightmares about the Illuminati, the four horsemen and the New World Order, a horrific vision illustrated in the "Front Lines" video with stormy skies, black and white clips of Adolf Hitler and a crumbling Statue of Liberty. It was all material for Mobb Deep's gristly stories of Queensbridge street life. "The saga begins … Begin war," says Prodigy. On his verse, he talks about tapped jaws, blood flooding from eyes and soldiers illuminated like radiation. On a second verse, he calls himself "the heavy metal king," brags he has "blood on my kicks, shit on my knife," and says he's "the phantom of crime rap." But he doesn't have to tell you. It's right in front of eyes. M.R.

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