NearClassics: Prodigy – H.N.I.C.

12 12 2008

The infamous Mobb Deep emerged onto the rap scene in the mid 90’s with their gritty style of New York street rap. The duo consisted of producer-rapper Havoc, and Prodigy. After numerous solid releases, beefs, and controversies, Prodigy decided to make a solo album with production help and appearances with his crew mate Havoc. Apparently the things hip hop loved about early Mobb Deep albums, persisted with HNIC making it one of hip hop’s most slept on albums to date.

Prodigy let his “dunns” Bars-n-Hooks kick off the album with their intro warning the rap game about their presence. On “The Genesis”, Prodigy hooks up with the Alchemist to create an outstanding opening track for an album. Aside from the opening, Alchemist created other bangers for the Head Nigga In Charge. On the street banger “Keep It Thoro”, P raps over a piano-looped instrumental with his signature laid back rap style with grimey lyrics. Alchemist also delivers “Trials of Love”, where Bandana P and his wifey argue on wax in a rap format; and then on “Three” where Prodigy raps about things that occur around his way at 3 in the morning’.
While Mobb Deep signature style is street music, the most club friendly track was The Rockwilder’s “Do It”. Another joint that was outside of Mobb Deep’s typical sound was “YBE” which featured B.G. Prodigy and B.G. both rap about the lavish life over an updated version of Whodini’s “One Love”. The rare materialism continues on “Diamond”, where Prodigy’s protege’s Bars-n-Hooks talk about their determination to go diamond (hilarious when you think about it). P wraps the album up with “You Can Never Feel My Pain”, where he expresses his hardships in life and his struggle with Sickle Cell.
In conclusion, H.N.I.C. is somewhat of a time capsule of New York hip hop. Back in 2000 when this album dropped, producers like Rockwilder and Bink Dawg were hot on the production scene making beats for albums like The Dynasty, with Just Blaze still an up and coming producer. Eight years ago, I heard this album and thought it was thoroughly great and it still holds it’s value today. If you ever wonder what was Prodigy’s claim to fame, you need to check out H.N.I.C..



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