Thursday, May 19, 2011

Review: My Infamous Life: The Autobiography of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy

The first thing that may take some getting used to about this book is that he actually wrote it. Yes he had an editor (not a great one, I found a few typos) but this book is literally in Prodigy’s words. Even if those words are ridiculously simple they are always straight to the point. Even if those words are abrasive, profane or hood, they are his (but not as profane as you might think). The words are appropriate for his life. He was shockingly candid and seemingly not afraid to expose his weaknesses and fears. If you are a fan of 90’s hip hop you will like this book. It gives Prodigy’s first person account of his entire life experience including how he got a deal, how he felt about the industry and the people that are part of it. He isn’t afraid to name names! He calls out so many people that I am sure he has new beef despite the fact that he ends off on a more mature I’m-past-it-all kind of note.

If you are from Queens it’s an extra treat just because you can picture every single street corner that he is describing from Hempstead, Long Island to Lefrak city. He talks about Sundays at the Tunnel for crying out loud. As a bonus, he includes a good amount of personal pictures of Mobb Deep with other rappers, their friends and also one pic of his kids and his wife.

He did what people wanted Jay-Z to do in Decoded (Jay-Z who Prodigy refers to as bitch boy more than once). He talks about his life and his feelings, he clears up what was or was not behind certain rap beefs, he talks about his woman and whoever else he may have boned. He talks about other rappers and he doesn’t sugar coat anything. I like the candidness and the straight forward delivery.

As far as how much he has matured my expectations and standards for him were a little too high after the book signing interview. I don’t know why I was trying to make him a dude I would really like. I like the music. That should be enough. His lifestyle and his behavior don’t have to become acceptable to me. It’s not about that.
  • Yes he has a wife, but yes he is a cheater (maybe so was she. and I had a hard time getting over all these women being into him when he is so darn pequeno).
  • Yes he began to read and gain higher awareness about society and his own health but it took a long time and a few relapses before he could put his learning into action and make real changes.
  • Yes he has kids but I can’t paint him to be some awesome father (because whose version of “good father” am I referring to?.. and because he was way too young, immature and reckless in most of the book to be who I would call a good father).
  • Yes he had loyalty to Havoc and his brand, but loyalty almost to a fault, loyalty that compromised his own goals in some ways.
Needless to say there are layers. There is no “all bad” and there is no “all good” for anybody I guess. Prodigy’s life is a perfect example of the specific shades of gray that color the lives of young, black, rappin-ass-negroes of the hood. Not necessarily from poverty but of a hood mentality. It’s an entertaining read to say the least.

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