If Prodigy ends up being another rapper who fell off after doing a bid in jail, it won’t be because he was lazy or lacked motivation. Since being released on March 7, after serving three years for a gun possession charge, P has already locked in features on the upcoming Curren$y and Alchemist EP, Convert Coup, and Jim Jones’ new album, Capo. He’ll also be releasing an exclusive Complex-sponsored mixtape, The Ellsworth Bumpy Johnson EP, tomorrow. If the recently leaked Mobb Deep-Nas collaboration, ”Dog Shit,” is any indication of where P’s at creatively, then fans should expect a healthy dose of murda muzik.
Interestingly enough, even with all these new songs on the horizon, the thing that seems to have people the most excited is Prodigy’s revealing autobiography, My Infamous Life, which drops tomorrow as well. It is chock full of classic stories involving Nas, Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G., Big Pun, Mary J. Blige, and even Lindsey Lohan. With everything going on, when Prodigy stopped by the offices last week, we took the opportunity to speak with him about his current status in regards to G-Unit, and ask about some of the wild stories from his book.
Interview by Toshitaka Kondo (@ToshitakaKondo)
Are you currently signed to G-Unit?
Yeah, basically what happened was, while I was locked up, 50 switched distributors for the G-Unit label. And there’s a clause in our contract that says if there’s no distribution for a period of time, in order to protect us, it null-and-voids the contract. I don’t know how long it took him, but whatever the period of time was in between the distributors, it was enough to void our contract. That was a protection that our lawyer put in the contract for us. It’s in a lot of contracts for most artists.
Just so if there’s no distributor for a label, you don’t get stuck languishing for two or three years.
Exactly. You can go get your money, elsewhere. And when that happened I was always talking to 50 the whole time while I was locked up, and I basically asked him “How are we going to proceed? How are we going to move forward when I get back?” And he was telling me he was interested in negotiating a new deal, with the new situation he’s got, and I was like, “Alright, cool.” Came back home, and we’re still talking about it, throwing ideas around now about how we want to do it, but as of right now we’re free agents.
Are you looking for another label situation?
Right now we’re not concerned with which label it’s going to be. We’re really concerned with making an incredible album. Like never before. To basically solidify our careers, and our legacy for the next 20 to 30 years.
We’ve been in the game for like 20, and we’ve had a good run, so we’re just trying to solidify the next 20 right now. And the only way that you can do that is make sure the music is not just good, that shit has to be incredible.
One of the themes throughout the book was you’re wanting to try going independent rather than signing to a label, especially after parting ways with Loud after Infamy, while Hav didn’t want to be independent. Now you have the opportunity once again to be completely independent.
We had our little differences of opinion when it came to certain things on how Mobb Deep should proceed forward after the Loud situation. And we went through our little back-and-fourth, tug-of-war situation about which way it should be, but at the end of the day we compromised with each other because it doesn’t make any sense for us to be arguing. That ain’t going to put no money in our pocket, so we’ve got to try to think of an idea to make this work.
So that’s what we always do at the end of the day, and that’s what keeps me and Hav going so long. Compared to these other dudes, partnerships or whatever, they fall apart because of creative differences or whatever differences, but me and Havoc are different because we understand the power of our music, and the money that we make off of this shit. The importance of this shit for our families and our future.
Since you’ve gotten out, how many songs would you say you’ve recorded?
We’ve been working with other producers, but mostly Havoc and Alchemist. Our home team is Havoc, Al, and Sid Roams, and right now I’ve been home about a month, and we’ve got about 70 songs done in that time. We’ve got a lot of fire, man.
Where have you been recording out of?
We own our studio in Queens. We’ve been going on Ustream, and actually streaming live sessions of us writing and recording. Showing people how we make our songs. The whole month I’ve been home we’ve been doing that. Every now and then, not every night. Like last night we were on until seven in the morning just fucking around, working out in the studio, joking with each other, and playing songs, letting people hear all the new music that we’ve got.
One of the first things I did when I came home was I contacted Nas, because me and him needed to talk because we were going through some bullshit.
We had a real long, interesting conversation about the future and how we want to move forward with our music, just everything like that. But mostly about how we need to put our little bullshit aside, and how our music is more important than any of that bullshit that we were going through. Right away, we sent him the song “Dog Shit” that we had did, and he got on it, and it’s coming out crazy. We did a couple of other songs with him that we haven’t put out yet.
So Nas wasn’t in the studio with you at the time for “Dog Shit?”
Nah, he was actually on tour with Ky-Mani Marley, so we sent it through the email. We did a couple other joints. Because you know, back when we were coming up, The Infamous and our early albums, that was what we did. We recorded songs with the home team, and Nas was part of the home team.
It was only right that we bring that feeling back. You can never go back to a time and try to recreate that sound because that time is done. But you can bring some of the feeling and that nostalgia back by reminding people what niggas was about, and how niggas is a team. That’s what we did, and it’s coming out crazy man.
In your book you talk about a lot of different incidents involving Nas from him hating on you when you first rapped for him, to Mike Delorean from Bars-N-Hooks choking him at Sony Studios, to the brawl backstage at Nas’ Central Park concert, so when you guys spoke, did you guys talk about him being in your book at all?
Nah, I think I told him I had a book coming out, but basically the book is about my life story and Mobb Deep’s story, so everything in there is real. I’m not going to go around, and tell everybody, “Yo, I put you in my book. Yo, I mentioned...” Nah, you’ll see. It’s my story, so real shit is in there.
It seems throughout the book there was always this weird tension with you and Nas. Like he never really embraced you fully even going back to when you guys first met.
Nah, it was never no animosity. Only thing I would say, is that I was new to the projects over there. I came around, new face, niggas don’t know me. So niggas had to get to know me, so that’s why I believe Nas acted the way he did, and he wasn’t the only one.
A lot of people from Queensbridge was acting like that with me, because I was new. And to tell you the truth, I would treat people the same way. I don’t like new people coming around me. I’m going to really be leery and watch you, and take my time before I embrace you. Some of it had to do with when I first came around, he thought my shit was wack. And to tell you the truth, my shit was type-wack. I had to step my game up.
He wasn’t doing nothing, but stating his opinion about how he wanted his friend Hav, who he grew up with, to proceed with the future of his career. He was giving his best opinion saying, “Yo, I don’t think you should fuck with this dude P. He’s not as good as you.” So, there’s really no animosity. I never felt no kind of way that he said that.
The only thing that it made me do was try to make myself better and write better rhymes. It actually helped me, so there’s no way I could be mad at him for that.
Click next page to see Prodigy talk about how Capone testified against Havoc's brother...