Prodigy Returns With A New Sound And A Heady New Message on “Tyranny” (Audio)

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For more than 2 decades, Prodigy and his Mobb Deep partner Havoc have been associated with grimy tales from the streets of New York. From Juvenile Hell to The Infamous Mobb Deep, Havoc has flipped dark samples while Prodigy laid verses about survival in the hood and fallen comrades. As the times change, however, so does the music. After the turbulence of 2015, a year that saw escalations of police violence against citizens and other forms of systemic oppression, Prodigy returns armed with a new sound and a new message.

“Tyranny,” is the first single from P’s forthcoming solo album Hegelian Dialectic. Both the song and album title show Prodigy is in a heady space, with the latter being a reference to a set of philosophical principles commonly associated with Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Dialectics, generally, refer to the methods two or more people holding different points of view about a subject use to reconcile those views into a single objective truth. The Hegelian version of a dialectic refers to putting forth a thesis, offering a contradiction to the thesis, or an antithesis, and then reconciling the two through synthesis. Inevitably, the reconciliation of the two competing ideas leads to an outcome that is different from both.

On “Tyranny,” Prodigy addresses some of the issues that engender ongoing conflicts, such as race and religion, and argues that the differences in each don’t matter, because we all have a bigger common nemesis. “Race don’t matter. Faith don’t matter. The enemy is government tyranny,” he raps in the chorus. In verse two, he expound, saying “it’s one big religious war with these old books. Who’s wrong or right? Who cares? Wake up. They’re diverting our attention from what’s really going on right here, right now. Toxic food is causing cancer. You don’t have to smoke. Toxic politicians, the system is rigged, but go ‘head and vote…”

The production accompanying Prodigy’s words is still dark, but the powerful horns and flutes in the sample give it an airy and open feel that stands in contrast to many of the more claustrophobic beats Havoc has supplied over the years. If this is any indication of what to expect, Prodigy’s new album is going to be challenging fare and a real growth spurt for the veteran MC.

Related: This Mobb Deep “Infamous”-Themed Mix Celebrates Havoc’s Visionary Sampling