Prodigy (of Mobb Deep)
Prodigy revolutionized NYC thug-rap as part of the seminal New York group Mobb Deep. Over the course of six Mobb albums, ranging from '93s Juvenile Hall to '06s Blood Money, P's ultra-graphic storytelling, gravely voice and raw flow set the standard for criminal-minded mic-burners from the East. His rhymes were bleak, nihilistic looks at an urban world corrupted by the early '90s crack epidemic. Havoc's spare, gothic beats were a perfect foil for Prodigy, and many doubted that P would be able to sustain a solo career. But 2000's H.N.I.C. (Head N*gg* In Charge) and 2007's Return of the Mac proved otherwise. Both albums found P relying upon the considerable talents of producer the Alchemist. Mac, in particular, was a strong effort, and some consider it to be a return to form for the Queensbridge emcee.