Mobb Deeps Havoc (left) and Prodigy facebook.com/mobbdeepqb

Prodigy has had his share of setbacks. The Mobb Deep member has been incarcerated, endured heated rivalries with 2Pac and Jay-Z (among others) and suffers from sickle-cell anemia. But the Queensbridge rapper, who has just released the album “H.N.I.C. 3” and the single “Pretty Thug," takes responsibilities for the mistakes he’s made in his life.

“I made my life that way,” Prodigy says. “Sickle cell is something I was born with. I can’t control that, but all the other decisions and choices I made in my life, I made them happen. I chose to carry a gun and risk getting locked up. I chose to get into certain beefs with dudes. Those are my choices I made. I didn’t have to make those choices. I could have made better choices, but those are the choices I made. They’re what made me and what made my career and shaped my life to what it is.”

With Mobb Deep partner Havoc, Prodigy helped popularize New York’s hardcore rap renaissance in the mid-1990s with bone-crushers like “Survival Of The Fittest” and “Eye For an Eye (Your Beef Is Mines).” But in 2012, Prodigy shows a more mature perspective, especially on the “H.N.I.C. 3” cut “Life Is What You Make It.”

“It’s an inspirational song to show people you can do what you want to do in life,” he says of the S.C.-produced song. “Don’t let nobody hold you back or hold you down and tell you you can’t do something. Life is what you make it to be. Some people, they complain about, ‘Life is this way,’ or, ‘Life is that way,’ but life is what you make it to be. You’ve got to get out there. You’ve got to have a dream and a passion about something.”

Prodigy’s current passions are vast. He released the book “My Infamous Life: The Autobiography of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy” last year and has others in the pipeline. A longtime proponent of the fusion of action sports and rap, Prodigy designed a Blood Sport deck for Selfish Skateboards. His custom sneaker and boot with SUPRA Footwear will be released in 2013. Then there’s his Infamous Records, which released “H.N.I.C. 3” in conjunction with Sony.

By extending the aggressive approach he takes in his music to his business, Prodigy looks toward promoting his emerging business empire.

“If you’ve got some good shit and if you’ve really got it in you to succeed, the best time is right now,” he says. “There’s so many opportunities that come along with hip-hop. It’s not just the music anymore. It’s all kinds of shit you can branch out into.”

For more from Soren Baker follow him on Twitter @SorenBaker and check out his author page on Amazon.com.

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