Updated: Jan 30, 2020
AUTHOR: Albert (Prodigy) Johnson and Laura Checkoway
PUBLISHED DATE: April 1, 2011
Prodigy's life reads like a best selling street lit novel. Deadass. I listened to the audiobook which was incredibly produced. Prodigy includes sound effects and music to bring the story to life. He narrates the book himself, and I could truly visualize everything he was saying. This is a gritty illicit straight-no-chaser autobiography, and if you're here for that, this will deliver.
If you are unfamiliar with Prodigy, you'll be surprised to learn that he comes from a musical family, and a family connected to the history of New York City. His mother, Fatima Frances Collins, was a member of the music group The Crystals.
AUGUSTUS66ful: THE CRYSTALS then he kissed me
Prodigy is the grandson of jazz musician Budd Johnson.
And his father Budd Johnson Jr. was a member of The Chanters.
Prodigy's grandmother is Bernice Johnson, who owned a dance school in Queens. The Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center is the first black owned dance studio in Queens.
Prodigy writes candidly about his wild father and hard mother. And though he came from such an illustrious family, he grew up in the projects. His grandmother did pay for him to receive a private school education, where he was bused to a prestigious school and would come home to a father who was abusing jobs, and on one occasion took young Prodigy with him when he went to rob a store.
Prodigy was a student of his grandmother's dance school before joining the rap duo Mobb Deep. As a young boy, Prodigy was sexually active and began abusing substances. Shook Ones was released in 1995 and made a huge imprint on hip hop - an imprint that is still felt today.
Prodigy is very open about his feelings about other rappers. He talks about Ja Rule, Nas, the Jay Z feud, and working with 50 Cent and G-Unit. He also writes about his marriage to Kiki Johnson as well as his many infidelities.
Prodigy is the first rapper to name the Illuminati in his lyrics and he talks about the books he read that increased his knowledge in that area. Prodigy talks openly about his sightings of UFO's and belief in numerology.
I listened to the audiobook which included music and sound effects - so when Prodigy reads about being shot at - you'll hear guns shots. This book has humor, is in part a cautionary tale, and is revelatory about Prodigy as a family man and an artist who comes from a legacy of African Americans who have contributed to the legacy of American music and education. You'll get all of that, and some shots at Ja Rule, Jay Z, and other rappers. He talks about Lil Jon's grilled chicken with a literal can of beer lodged inside of the chicken! Seriously...I was cracking up!
Recommendation: Read it! This was very vivid autobiography from a rap legend.
Audience: Millennials and up (...even though there may be come teens who are hard core rap fans who would enjoy this - graphic and all.)