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)
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”
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”
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
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.
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 was never here for Bill Cosby’s morally arrogant lecturing of black women + black youth. Overall legacy died long before the accusations
— Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti) June 17, 2017
Am I right in a tweet I just read? Bill Cosby has admitted to being guilty during his trial but… it was declared a mistrial? 😰
— (Méls) 'Tis I, Stormaggedon, Dark Lady Of All (@PINKTROID) June 17, 2017
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!
When you haven't checked Twitter in an hour. pic.twitter.com/Tl3JCSgoBy
— Danforth France (@danforthfrance) June 15, 2017
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.
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.
Obama congratulates Hov for being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame pic.twitter.com/Va2PrftU8h
— XXL Magazine (@XXL) June 16, 2017
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.
today is as good a time to remind people… pic.twitter.com/V4cLyKOjow
— Brandon Caldwell (@_brandoc) June 15, 2017
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.
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.
All Day Podcast: 6/14/17
‘Bachelor in Paradise’ gets canceled, and a sci-fi series looks to get off the ground
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | RSS | Embed
What’s up, gang? This week found us moving away from the sports world in quite a few ways. With the summer coming up, we’ll be doing a lot more exploring of the rest of the globe since the sports calendar slows down tremendously until NFL training camps start back.
First, I sat down with ESPN anchor, attorney and friend of the show Adrienne Lawrence about the legal ramifications surrounding the production shutdown of Bachelor In Paradise this week. There have been lawsuits and speculation about sexual misconduct, which overall is a very difficult topic to discuss, considering the overall premise of that program. People get sent to an island to potentially hook up and are plied with booze while they do it. It’s stunning that we haven’t had more incidents like this on that show, to be honest.
— Little Apple (@LilAppleSeries) June 13, 2017
Then, I got on the phone with Riley S. Wilson and Lisa Cortes, executive producers of the Little Apple series, which is described as “a live-action sci/fi drama following a 9-year-old claircognizant (all-knowing) little black girl growing up in a new Harlem.” Yes, it’s quite the show in the making, and the two talked about how using that character came to be important to them in a larger discussion about what’s happening in many urban landscapes across America.
Lastly, I dropped a quick take about Lonzo Ball’s newest commercial in which he absolutely roasts his own dad, LaVar. It’s genuinely one of the funniest things I’ve seen in sports in a really long time, and I hope it’s an indicator of exactly what we’re going to get from the UCLA point guard once he gets drafted next week, wherever he may go. Unfortunately, we had to cut it because the audio wasn’t cleared for use, but it’s worth seeing.
Enjoy the show!
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | RSS | Embed
Michael Bennett speaks to ‘The Breakfast Club’
Seahawks defensive lineman covers a wide range of topics on sports and politics
You know Michael Bennett. He’s the Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman who wears dashikis on TV, has pulled out of NFL events because of his personal beliefs and generally speaks up about what he feels is right and wrong in America. He’s a smart dude and also knows when not to take himself too seriously. Overall, a good dude.
You also know The Breakfast Club, the radio show based in New York City featuring Charlamagne Tha God, who recently penned a book called Black Privilege. Well-known for stirring up controversy, the sit-down with Bennett was guaranteed to be solid. It was.
It was a wide-ranging conversation in which Bennett touched on all sorts of topics, from Colin Kaepernick to 21 Savage.
“Of course I think Kaepernick’s being blackballed,” Bennett said when asked about the former 49ers quarterback. “Obviously, all the stuff to do with the issues, nobody likes race and politics in sports. I think that’s one of the things that nobody really wants to talk about. For him to bring [it] up, I think it struck a lot of people in the wrong way. I mean, the people that really watch football, it’s middle America. … And for him to bring that into that crowd was one thing that people felt like shouldn’t have been there.”
Overall, he’s just a guy doing all this because it feels right and he wants to set a good example for the people who matter most to him: his family.
“I don’t want my daughters to look back and be like, ‘Where were you when they were talking about Black Lives Matter?’ ” Bennett said. ” ‘Where were you when they were talking about women’s equality?’ I want my daughter to be like, ‘Daddy, thank you for being a man that stood up at the time when it was time to stand up.’
“You can’t really care about the Nikes, the brands that are behind you. Because those brands, they’re going to outlive you. That’s just how it is. Your legacy in your community is what’s going to live on, and that’s important for you to always think about.”
Oh, and he’s writing a book called Things That Make White People Uncomfortable. Welp.
Daily Dose: 6/14/17
Gunman who shot a congressman at baseball practice killed
1:53 PMWhat a day. The president spoke to the nation, and it was probably the best public speaking appearance of his life.
WHO BEAT TRUMP INTO SUBMISSION BEFORE THIS ADDRESS? This is… what you'd expect to hear from a president.
— Linda Tirado (@KillerMartinis) June 14, 2017
Every year, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle get together to have fun. It comes in the form of America’s onetime pastime: baseball. It’s a great tradition that fosters a good environment and allows the people we elect to show off a little of who they are outside of the Capitol. All their staffers attend when the game happens, and it’s a good time and solid baseball. That’s because they practice. On Wednesday, someone broke the sanctity of that space and opened fire, wounding five, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana. His name is James T. Hodgkinson, and he was killed in a gunfight with Capitol Police.
Poetry is magical. Linguistic entertainment in the purest way isn’t easy to do. As someone who writes words for a living, often the hardest part is not writing too much. Paring that down to something meaningful is the reason that we have, well, poets. The best ones are recognized every year by the Library of Congress, and the Poet Laureate award basically makes you the best poet on earth. This year, Tracy K. Smith, a black woman, won it. If you’re not familiar with her work, get right. She is tremendous.
Sen. Kamala Harris showed out again Tuesday, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifying in open session during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. He answered her questions seemingly as best as he could but clearly was not ready for any level of intense scrutiny. She was dogged, fair and straightforward, but Sessions was completely flummoxed and said as much. He also interrupted her, which was only to be expected, on some level. But Sessions did himself no favors in helping his own case about any potential ties to Russia.
Once again, we learn that LaVar Ball is about his money. When it comes to pushing everything about his Big Baller Brand, dude pulls no punches when it comes to publicity. Now he’s moved into a different realm, and it seems like kind of a weird bit. He’s got a deal to sell, for $60, trading cards that have his autograph and random sayings that he’s concocted. On top of that, he’s pushing them on eBay. Why anyone would want to buy that I have no idea, but, hey, smoke ’em if you got ’em, I guess.
Coffee Break: If I’m being honest, I use Uber all the time. As a concept, it’s a service that is invaluable for people whom cabs don’t often stop for on the street. But the company itself has had major issues. The working environment appears to be awful. It’ll be really hard for people to ditch it.
Snack Time: While we’re not huge on media business news, sometimes it’s interesting. And the story around how SiriusXM managed to acquire Pandora is sort of fascinating.
Dessert: Take some time today to appreciate a very important moment in American television history.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 14, 2017