After more than 20 years in the game, Prodigy still remains one of hip-hip's most prominent MCs. After releasing The Infamous Mobb Deep alongside Havoc, the duo’s first album in eight years, Prodigy proved that his blue collar hard work is a contributing factor in his success. Now in the midst of touring in support of the collaborative LP released back in April, Prodigy continues to put in work with another solo project and is also gearing up to release several books through his publishing company.

But it wasn't all so rosy for Prodigy; similar to Remy Ma, the Queensbridge MC also spent significant time behind bars, locked up for three years on gun possession charges until his release in 2011. However, Prodigy managed to make a massive comeback and is in a position to give advice to Remy Ma about how to recapture the studio magic after so much time away. XXL spoke to Prodigy about his upcoming album, writing letters to Remy Ma while the two were both in prison and the current state of New York hip-hop. Son, ya shook. —Miranda Johnson


XXL: I know you've been on tour overseas. What have you been working on?
Prodigy: We've been on tour just promoting this new Mobb Depp album that's out right now. Doing a lot of international touring. We just got back yesterday. It's been good; we're about to go back out in another two weeks. We got like a two-week break, then we go back out. But other than promoting the new Mobb Deep album, I've been working on my next solo projects and a bunch of books I'm putting out through my publishing company. That's about it right now.

So as far as your next solo project, are you going to put out a mixtape or an album?
I'm not putting out no more mixtapes, it's over for that. Straight albums.

How does it feel for you and Havoc to have been in the game for so long and to still have so many loyal fans?
It feels incredible. It's a blessing to see that people still appreciate the work that we do. It's inspiring for us; it makes us keep going.


 Remy Ma just came home from prison. I know you spent some time away. What advice would you give Remy Ma on returning to the game?
I would say, first off, welcome home and just jump right back in like you never went nowhere. That’s it. You know Remy is nice, from day one. When Pun first brought her out she was bodying shit, so she just got to keep doing what she do. She’ll be aight; she won’t miss a beat.

Would you ever hop on a track with Remy?
Oh, hell yea. Remy is cool, that’s the homegirl. We used to write each other in jail 'cause we was locked up around the same time.

What are some of the things that you guys would talk about?
Just trying to inspire one and other, hold our heads. [We would say] think positive and you’ll be home soon. It’s good to get letters from people and for people to let us know that they love us. I was definitely writing letters and she was writing me. I’m cool with her husband Papoose, that’s family.


What drives you passion for hip-hop?
Just being a fan of music. Me and Havoc, we fans of hip-hop. We big fans of music, we’re producers so we listen to all types of music, but hip-hop itself, it got that aggression that I like. It’s rebellious—that’s my favorite type of hip-hop, very aggressive and rebellious. That’s what it’s supposed to be. It’s like our form of rock & roll.

Do you ever think that you’ll get tired of putting out albums?
I mean, you can pretty much tell when it’s time to stop. That’s a personal thing, nobody can’t tell you that because nobody can’t tell you what your doing is whack or if it’s hot 'cause you’re the one creating it. I rarely listen to people’s opinions because nobody was there when we were making the Infamous album, it was just us. We didn’t have any fans, so how can a fan dictate when I should stop if they weren’t there when we were creating it? So it’s like, that’s a personal thing, you have to deal with reality when it’s time to stop or when you want to keep going.

Previously: Mobb Deep “Shark”
Prodigy Gets His Hands Dirty In New “IMDKV” Video