Prodigy Gets Philosophic on ‘Hegelian Dialectic (The Book of Revelation)’
Mobb Deep's own Prodigy kicks off the new year on a solo tip, releasing his fifth album, Hegelian Dialectic (The Book of Revelation), as a one-man show.
Coming off the release of his cookbook, Commissary Kitchen: My Infamous Prison Cookbook—inspired by his three-year bid in prison for weapons charges back in 2008-- the Queens native gets back to the music with Hegelian Dialectic.
The 14-track album is inspired by philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who describes Hegelian Dialectic as the process of a thought that passes through stages of a thesis, antithesis and synthesis. On the project, the Infamous Record label boss plays hip-hop elder statesmen while embedding the spiritual and political as well as moral themes throughout the project. As a result, P comes off as much more mature compared to his Mobb Deep days of creating "murda muzik."
His lines on "No Religion" prove he's got a different train of thought these days. "That’s how you want me to be ain’t it?/’Cause when I do good you hate it/But when I’m evil and reckless you love it/Fanatics, y’all a bunch of sick mutherfuckers," Prodigy raps. This is a vastly different from the Prodigy we heard on “Survival of the Fittest.” "I’m going out blasting/Taking my enemies with me/And, if not, they scarred/So, they will never forget me/Lord forgive me/The Henny got me not knowing how to act,” he raps on the vintage 1995 track.
Hegelian Dialectic commences with the eerie track, “Mystic.” Over longtime collaborator Alchemist's instrumental, Prodigy sends out a friendly reminder that he can still spit and handle an Alchemist beat with perfection and precision.
The rest of the project finds P offering inspiration along with knowledge and the wisdom of his age. On “Tyrrany,” produced by El RTNC, Prodigy exercises his political side by telling listeners that politicians are the real enemy.
He follows the same formula on the Budgie Beats-produced “Mafuckin U$A.” Here, over trumpets and bass lines, the MC warns us to pay attention to legislation, bankers and Proposition 37—the California law that requires labeling on raw and processed food offered for sale to consumers if the food is made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specific ways.
With sagacious skits throughout the effort, he shells out wise aphorisms and tackles political themes such as governments attacking other nations, or a president answering questions about dropping atomic bomb. Prodigy keeps up the third eye themes on songs like “No Religion,” and the “Hunger Pangs,” which features Ca$h Bilz. On both of the former, produced by Mo Betta and Mark The Beast, respectively, Prodigy continues to show that people do, in fact, get better with age as he raps about raising kids and teaching them about history and drinking water, among other important topics.
Prodigy earned his O.G. stripes a long time ago and Hegelian Dialectic is proof of why he still deserves them. But during a time when many millennials are moving toward music from mumble rappers, the question remains as to which listeners are paying attention to the music with a message. While Hegelian Dialectic is a solid effort with strong, replay-worthy tracks and valuable lyrical gems, Prodigy’s words may get lost in a generation of hip-hop consumers more concerned with lit vibes than music of substance.
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