Words by Richard “Treats” Dryden
Prodigy of Mobb Deep has had many aliases—Bandana P, Don P, Bumpy Johnson—during his 20 years in rap music. His latest appearance, in a featured verse on “Hoodie Weather” alongside buzzing newcomer Your Old Droog, suggests that he might be due for a West Indian-inspired alias, as he switches to a Jamaican accent interpolating lyrics from Shelly Thunder’s “Kuff” over Marco Polo’s beat. (“Don’t you know you haffi respect me, a wheelchair see they act properly/Sometimes a man fi-get, you haffi get violent.”) Prodigy’s wink to one of our all-time favorite lady deejays comes fresh off his recent trip to Jamaica’s Calabash book fair to promote his Infamous Books imprint this past spring. We’re told P spent a few days after his business trip catching vibes dung ah yahd, in what we hear was his first ever vacation. A break from work is hardly in P’s vocabulary, as he even questioned the mere idea of a vacation in his autobiography, My Infamous Life. But by the looks of his travels this year, and now from the patois in his rhyme a few months later, Jamaica has left a lasting impression on him.
It’s not like Prodigy is a complete outsider to the islands. He was raised near large Caribbean communities in Long Island and Queens, and affected patois on more than a few occasions. Before “Hoodie Weather,” some of P’s most notable yardie flows included a reference to Lennox from Belly (“Told Y’all,” 2012), a bumbaclaat on “New Yitty,” and the entire chorus of Mobb Deep’s rare white label “Gun Sling (Rude Boy).” If we’re really discussing the Mobb/JA connection, we haffi mention “Deadly Zone,” Prodigy and Havoc’s 1998 collaboration with Bounty Killer off the Warlorld’s Next Millenium LP. (The trio also reconnected in 2011, for “Dead Man Shoes.” ) Catch the video below after checking “Hoodie Weather.”