Albert Johnson

Albert "Prodigy" Johnson, as one half of the hip-hop phenomenon Mobb Deep, has sold millions of albums, performed throughout the world, and recorded with the elite of hip-hop, R&B, and rock with his signature style of hard-core, reality-based music. Born with the hereditary disease sickle-cell anemia, Prodigy has battled pain his entire life and is now promoting the importance of a healthy diet, spiritual enrichment, and a positive, productive lifestyle. He lives in Queens, New York.
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From one of the greatest rappers of all time, the memoir of a life cut short, a revealing look at the dark side of hip hop’s Golden Era...

In this often violent but always introspective memoir, Mobb Deep’s Prodigy tells his much anticipated story of struggle, survival, and hope down the mean streets of New York City. For the first time, he gives an intimate look at his family background, his battles with drugs, his life of crime, his relentless suffering with sickle-cell anemia, and much more. Recently released after serving three and a half years in state prison due to what many consider an unlawful arrest by a rumored secret NYPD hip hop task force, Prodigy is ready to talk about his life as one of rap’s greatest legends.

My Infamous Life is an unblinking account of Prodigy’s wild times with Mobb Deep who, alongside rappers like Nas, The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur, Jay-Z, and Wu-Tang Clan, changed the musical landscape with their vivid portrayals of early ’90s street life. It is a firsthand chronicle of legendary rap feuds like the East Coast–West Coast rivalry; Prodigy’s beefs with Jay-Z, Nas, Snoop Dogg, Ja Rule, and Capone-N-Noreaga; and run-ins with prodigal hit makers and managers like Puff Daddy, Russell Simmons, Chris Lighty, Irv Gotti, and Lyor Cohen.

Taking the reader behind the smoke-and-mirrors glamour of the hip hop world, so often seen as the only way out for those with few options, Prodigy lays down the truth about the intoxicating power of money, the meaning of true friendship and loyalty, and the ultimately redemptive power of self. This is the heartbreaking journey of a child born in privilege, his youth spent among music royalty like Diana Ross and Dizzy Gillespie, educated in private schools, until a family tragedy changed everything. Raised in the mayhem of the Queensbridge projects, Prodigy rose to the dizzying heights of fame and eventually fell into the darkness of a prison cell.

A truly candid memoir, part fearless confessional and part ode to the concrete jungles of New York City, from the front line of the last great moment in hip hop history.
"A gritty, fast-paced tale of revenge...Tight, terse prose harkens back to pulp fiction of the 1950s...The work is a breath of fresh air from lengthy, trying-too-hard-to-shock street lit and is an excellent choice for all metropolitan collections."
--Library Journal (starred review, Pick of the Month)

"The urban setting is unnamed but familiar in this brief, bloody tale of wasted lives lived short and hard."
--Publishers Weekly

"Simultaneously a fast-paced crime drama and an engrossing, unsentimental moral tale, H.N.I.C. peers into the dark heart that underpins the codes of loyalty and friendship, betrayal and vengeance."
--Brooklyn Daily Eagle

"In a genre that too often places incorrect ebonics in the mouths of black characters and fails to cross the empathy gap to get into their heads, Savile and Prodigy arrive at a seamless voice that is a refreshing take on crime fiction tropes...if tone and texture are what you're looking for in your hardcore literature...H.N.I.C. delivers the goods."
--Okayplayer

"H.N.I.C. is written by Prodigy himself and shows the extent to which good rappers can make good storytellers."
--Brooklyn Based

"Ultimately, H.N.I.C. deals on all the right levels and is completely satisfying."
--Blackout Book Review

"If you don't have this novella in your library collection already, please be on the lookout for this 2013 release, H.N.I.C., penned by Hip Hop artist Prodigy of the group, Mobb Deep."
--StreetLiterature.com

"The strength of this novella, in addition to its straightforward prose and rapid pacing, rests on the universal theme at its center: loyalty. Loyalty and the bullshit our friends put us through...Like any good work of crime, H.N.I.C. is grounded in such common experiences and, like any good work of crime, it speaks to all of us, despite the fact that very few of us can bypass an alarm system through some computer trickery."
--Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together

"It tells the...urban tale of deceit, greed and questioned loyalty with just enough drama to keep you turning the pages."
--Literary Jewels

"A brutal and quick read...custom-made for the big screen."
--Charles Tatum's Review Archive

Prodigy, from the legendary hip-hop group Mobb Deep, launches Akashic's new Infamous Books imprint with a story of loyalty, vengeance, and greed.

Pappy tries to break out of the game before the head of his crew, Black, gets them all killed. Against his better judgment Pappy agrees to do one last job, but only because it's the price of his freedom. He knows his "brother" Black would rather see him dead than let him walk away. Yet he still agrees to do the job because Black isn't the only one who can't be trusted.

Further developing the stark realism and uncompromising streetwise narratives of his lyrics, H.N.I.C. cements Prodigy's position as one of the foremost chroniclers of contemporary urban life. Simultaneously a fast-paced crime drama and an engrossing, unsentimental moral tale, H.N.I.C. peers into the dark heart that underpins the codes of loyalty and friendship, betrayal and vengeance.

With H.N.I.C., Prodigy inaugurates Infamous Books, a revolutionary partnership that pairs the Infamous Records brand with Brooklyn-based independent publisher Akashic Books. Infamous Books' mission is to connect readers worldwide to crime fiction and street lit authors both familiar and new.
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