NEW YORK — For a farewell show, Prodigy’s performance Wednesday night at B.B. King’s Blues Club & Grill was short on sentimentality.
The Mobb Deep star pleaded guilty in October to gun-possession charges and next week will begin serving a three-and-a-half-year prison bid. The sentence has put the brakes on his rejuvenated solo career just as he’s gearing up to release his latest album, H.N.I.C. 2, which he’s been feverishly promoting.
But for P, the finale, as it was billed, turned out to be business as usual. There was barely any time for tributes.
“Standing next to me, this is my brother here,” said Havoc, the other half of Mobb Deep, midway through the set; he flanked his partner onstage throughout the set. “I’ve known him like 20 years. We went to high school together. It’s been since like ’88 or ’89. I’ve known him a long time, I consider him my brother. Give it up for family!”
“It’s a celebration, though,” Prodigy quickly cut in during the cheers, ending the only words of recognition for him all night.
With that, DJ On Point launched into “Shook Ones Pt. II,” the Queens duo’s classic hit. The crowd — littered with fans holding swirling cups of Hennessy, clad in Champion hoodies and Timbs — went wild.
“I got you stuck off the realness/ We been the infamous/ You heard of us/ Official Queensbridge murders,” Prodigy spit, as the 30-plus members of his entourage onstage, including Cormega, chanted along.
P and Hav quickly transitioned into “Quiet Storm,” then Prodigy kicked “Keep It Thoro” from his debut solo LP, before the M-O-B-B connected with their G-Unit era and went into “Have a Party.”
Prodigy kept the capacity crowd off balance for the majority of the night. Vintage Mobb tracks were performed between a number of standout cuts from the upcoming H.N.I.C. 2.
“Real Power,” with its woozy, minimal beat and chanted chorus, made it feel like a New York summer night in 1994.
“F— jewelry, f— rims,” P rapped on the grimey track. And sure enough, before the song, P took his hoodie and chains off. His crew did the same and a chain went flying into the crowd as someone pumped their fist a little too enthusiastically to the song. Maserati Fox dived off the stage and parted the crowd to get it back.
Prodigy brought out Un Pacino for another new track, “Three Stacks”; Mega joined him to spit a quick a cappella verse.
But after 90 minutes onstage and with the time nearing midnight, P began a list of shout outs: to 50 Cent, to G-Unit, and to his grandmother, “the original H.N.I.C.”
P then dove into one more track to end the night, “Dirty New Yorker,” from his new album. But it was only for one verse, and by that time Prodigy’s voice was getting hoarse.
However, it was a fitting cap to the evening. “Everyone, one love,” P said plainly as he exited the stage. “We had fun.”