Image via Up North Trips

Aaron Matthews once mixed vodka and milk with unfortunate results.

Jesse Thorn has built a rep for thorough interviews through over a decade of his radio show, but he truly excels in his interviews with rappers. His latest interview with Prodigy of Mobb Deep, finds a lucid and emotionally connected P reminiscing on his sorta-famous family, early rap career and a childhood in Queens. You can listen to the whole megillah here. In the meantime, I learned a few things from the conversation myself.

1. Prodigy’s father was a karate sensei with a fondness for Peppermint schnapps. Now if we only had an explanation for how Starks learnt how to slapbox with Jesus…
2. Grandpa P was a jazz musician who played with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie
3. Back in the Mobb’s Poetical Prophets days, the duo waited outside the Def Jam offices with a 50-song (!) demo before Q-Tip discovered them
4. Prodigy’s first recorded verse was a charmingly awkward guest rap on newjack swing group Hi-Five’s “Too Young”, off the Boyz-N-The-Hood soundtrack. 16 years old at the time, no Earl Sweatshirt.
5. Prodigy got caught selling yola at 12 his second time dealing and got off with a slap on the wrist before leaving the game behind for good
6. Prodigy decided he wanted to rap after hearing “The Symphony” for the first time.
7. How dare you question Queensbridge’s trend setting? P credits Queens for coining “the new slang that people had never really heard, and all the new styles, and all the stuff that we were doing that was basically unique to that neighborhood”. Nothing on P’s bandanna folding secrets, sadly.

its incredibly thorough and all the more impressive coming from a self-proclaimed professional dandy. We’re talking Nardwuar-worthy incongruous hip-hop knowledge to fancy dress levels. You should listen to the whole thing, but you can also read a transcript at the site here. I’ll close this out with “Peer Pressure”, one of the earliest Mobb vids from the group’s Juvenile Hell days. Can’t imagine why sickles never took off as hip hop accessories. Hell, they’d probably pair well with the OF inverted cross beanie.

Download:
MP3: Prodigy-“Up North Service”
MP3: Prodigy-“600 Benz”

MP3: Prodigy-“P Against the World”
MP3: Prodigy-“Pebble Beach”

MP3: Prodigy-“Life is Real Easy”
ZIP: Prodigy-The Ellsworth Bumpy Johnson EP (Left-Click)

Embed: TSOYA Prodigy Interview
The Sound of Young America

Video: “Peer Pressure”