In the latest episode of Across The Margin’s podcast, host Michael Shields introduces listeners to The Realness, a podcast series exploring the life and death of the rapper Prodigy which focuses in on his lifelong battle with Sickle Cell Anemia. To gain substantive insight into all the series has to offer, this episode features an interview with one of the hosts of The Realness and executive producer of WNYC’s health unit, Mary Harris. Michael and Mary dig into Prodigy’s life story in this episode, and dissect the broader issues surrounding Sickle Cell Anemia — a condition that overwhelmingly affects black Americans and is continuously underfunded — including medical racism and institutional neglect.
Prodigy stood as half (with Havoc) of the Queensbridge rap duo Mobb Deep, one of the most celebrated rap groups in the genre’s history. He was a unique and authentic artist, and a storyteller at heart having published a memoir, a crime novel, and even a cookbook (Commissary Kitchen). Mobb Deep is best known for their second album The Infamous, a bona-fide classic and one of hip-hop’s most influential and treasured albums, but the discussion you will come upon in this episode reaches far outside the realms of Prodigy prodigious talents, and deeply into the condition that affected almost every part of his life: from the sound of his rhymes to the circumstances of his death. So dive into an episode that celebrates the life of a truly remarkable individual (“the classic Greek hero” - Mary Harris), and also serves as an eye opening look at race and institutional neglect in medicine.