In 2000, before Prodigy released his official solo debut album, H.N.I.C., he teamed up with DJ Whoo Kid to drop his first ever solo mixtape called H.N.I.C. Pt. 1. The tape, hosted by the two, featured unreleased exclusives and never-before-heard freestyles from Crime Rhyme Houdini P, but at the time, people knew P more for his work with Mobb Deep rather than as a solo rapper, and Whoo Kid was just getting his foot in the door.

"Back then, when I was hustling with DJ Envy and DJ Clue trying to get exclusives, I always wanted to be connected with all the Queens artists, because I saw DJ Clue was more with the Roc-A-Fella crew," Whoo Kid tells XXL over the phone. "You know, the Beanie Sigels, the Bleeks, all the Philly artists. [Clue] was with Jay Z, so what I used to do, I used to try to just connect with the Mobb Deeps, the Nas’, LL Cool J, anybody who was from Queens. That’s the only thing I had against Clue, because Clue was successful, he didn’t really need anybody at that time, so I stayed more Queens orientated with my mixtapes."

At the time, Whoo Kid was hanging around the late E-Money Bags, who was part of Randy "Stretch" Walker's Live Squad (Tupac Shakur ran with them for a time). E-Money Bags was Prodigy's right-hand man, and Chi Ali, who was on the run from police for a murder in 2000, was hiding in the studio at Prodigy's crib.

"So E-Money Bags took me to the studio, and I guess when you have a street-connected introduction, people just automatically trust you," Whoo Kid remembers of first meeting Prodigy. "That’s what was so cool about Prodigy, because at the time, Havoc was impossible to get close to because he was like the modern-day Dr. Dre. Not only was he the producer behind Mobb Deep, but everybody was getting at him to do beats, so he was kind of like a superstar, you couldn’t even get near him. But Prodigy was the only one that was kind of humble and open."

Whoo Kid also recalls Prodigy's respect for the DJ. "He was a fan of the DJ, so he was a fan of Clue, a fan of me, a fan of Cutmaster C, all the Queens DJs that was out there," says Whoo Kid. "Just like 50 Cent was. [Prodigy] didn’t really have to stop what he was doing [with Mobb Deep] because he had so many hits, they were touring, they were killing it, but I don’t know why he stopped… maybe the street connecting intro stopped him a little bit by believing in E-Money Bags, likem ‘This guy gotta be the shit. If he’s hanging with E-Money Bags, he’s gotta be the shit.’ Maybe that was it, I don’t know, but he was like ‘Yo, I got so many exclusives that are not cleared, never coming out,’ and then he introduced me to his H.N.I.C. project."

"Me, as the DJ that was robbing everybody for exclusives, he was actually my first artist that actually gave me exclusive content that was just him," continues Whoo Kid. "50 Cent was the first one that went mainstream with stealing the beats, doing them over and making other artists pissed off, and then we created 50 Cent Is the Future, but that was more freestyle-type material. Prodigy was actually the first one to give me album cuts that aren’t finished. He did like, maybe a few freestyles, but it was mostly unfinished versions of other Mobb Deep songs, Havoc cuts. It was kind of bugged out."

The mixtape had songs Prodigy did with Alchemist that were never released, so when they dropped the tape, it caused issues between Whoo Kid and Alchemist "because Prodigy was the type who didn’t care about getting permission to release his own shit." But that was the beginning of Whoo Kid's relationship with Alchemist, and once Whoo Kid started working with 50 more, Mobb Deep's music bled into 50 and G-Unit's mixtapes.

"Their aggressive style went well with 50 Cent, which is the reason why we stole so many Alchemist instrumentals and did freestyles over them, because they really had murder rap back then," states Whoo Kid. "When 'Shook Ones Pt. II' first came out, I witnessed people get killed in clubs. I used to go to Connecticut, I used to go to Boston. I was there, I’ve seen people get murdered when that shit came on. [Mobb Deep] really were the murder rap of the East Coast. When their music came on and you wanted to get somebody, you woulda got ‘em that day. That’s why it wasn’t a surprise when 50 Cent kind of took over. 80 percent of our mixtapes were a lot of Havoc and Alchemist beats, if you really want to do a lot of investigation into where we got instrumentals from. It came to the point where people were bootlegging Alchemist and Havoc instrumentals. They had instrumental mixtapes."

Remembering what made Prodigy so unique, Whoo Kid points to P's unique delivery as a distinction. "Whenever you’d hear Prodigy come on, you know, Havoc was the cool nigga, he’s in the back, he got his verses or whatever, but when you finally hear Prodigy come on, he was believable. His voice, his cadence, made you want to do what you gotta do, because of the way he was dealing with his sickness. His sickness came out into the music. It took me awhile to get to know him and become his friend, but I have a total understanding of where he comes from. This is years of battling. He almost died a few times. I remember when we were in Europe, he couldn’t do two shows. We had to e-vac him to an hospital and then send him home. He’s a fighter, he was dealing with this sickness for awhile."

DJing for the Mobb and traveling with them overseas was not only a dream come true, but an entry point into a true friendship with Prodigy for the Brooklyn DJ. "[Prodigy and I] shared rooms together, we had issues together, we had problems, unlimited stories for the rest of our lives. I could write like 10 books on Prodigy," remembers Whoo Kid, who last saw P at a Shady Records listening session for Westside Gunn and Conway in March. "We were talking about all the trap stuff I do and the festivals, and he does festivals too, but I think he wanted to come more out of the hip-hop ones and come into where I’m at with the white people and shit."

In memory of Prodigy, we dug up the H.N.I.C. Pt. 1 mixtape, courtesy of Twitter user WaterProofGlock's Diskography Tumblr. Download it right here or stream it below. Rest in Peace, P.

DJ Whoo Kid and Prodigy's H.N.I.C. Pt. 1 Mixtape Tracklist

1. Prodigy - "Infamous Records Intro" Feat. Snoop Dogg
2. Prodigy - "Bars N Hooks"
3. Prodigy - "War" (Interlude)
4. Prodigy - "Infamous" Feat. Charli Baltimore & Mike Delorean
5. Big Twins - "Interlude"
6. Mobb Deep - "Rare Species"
7. Prodigy - "Locked Up Shit" Feat. Big Noyd
8. Prodigy - "Locked Up" (Interlude)
9. Bars - Interlude
10. Mobb Deep - "It Can Happen to You"
11. Prodigy - "Shit Hits the Fan" Feat. G.O.D. Pt. III
12. Mobb Deep - "Rock Wit' Us" Feat. Busta Rhymes
13. Mobb Deep - "Gun Runners" Feat. Bounty Killer
14. Prodigy - "Freestyle"
15. Prodigy - "Mobb a Steel" Feat. Big Noyd
16. Prodigy - "Freestyle" Feat. Big Noyd
17. Mobb Deep - "Start of Ya Endin'"
18. Mobb Deep - "Freestyle"
19. Prodigy - "The Roof" Feat. Mariah Carey
20. Prodigy - "Anita"
21. Prodigy - "Babye Maybe" Feat. Mariah Carey
22. Prodigy - "Clue" Feat. Big Noyd

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