Though his fight with sickle cell anemia was well known for the better part of two decades, that knowledge did nothing to soften the blow of losing Prodigy at age 42. Hip-hop decided it would send Prodigy out the only way it knows how—by sharing some words about their fallen brother.
Reports suggested other artists might have been involved if not for contractual issues, but the tribute ended up being Prodigy's partner, Havoc, and rapper Lil Kim, who featured alongside the duo on the "Quiet Storm" remix, honored his name during their presentation of the Best Male Hip-Hop Artist at the BET Awards.
"This week, hip-hop suffered a painful loss, with the sudden passing of our brother, Prodigy," Lil Kim said. "His pen painted vivid pictures of street life. He made what was ugly sound beautiful."
"For over 20 years, he and I went through it all, and seen it all," Havoc added. "I'm going to miss my dude. This loss is painful. But the lyrical legacy he left us will impact the culture forever. Rest in peace, Prodigy. My brother." You watch the their speech below.
The tributes, shout outs, and love sent Prodigy's way poured in during the days following his passing. Well wishes poured in from all corners of the rap universe, and Q-Tip even dedicated his entire Beats One radio show to Prodigy over the weekend.
Fellow Queens compatriot Cormega wrote several tribute letters to Prodigy after his passing, expressing his love for the man he credited with helping to launch his career.
"Over the years, Prodigy and I had valleys and peaks," said Cormega, "but I can say this sincerely—with God as my witness—I loved him. And I’ll always feel honored that we made music together and be grateful for the things he did for me."
No amount of tributes will replace having Prodigy here with us, but it has been wonderful watching the hip-hop community come together to let him know how much he was appreciated by his peers. You can catch Kendrick Lamar's acceptance speech above, where he notes that one his earliest mixtapes (Y.H.N.I.C.) was inspired by Prodigy.