Albert “Prodigy” Johnson is known widely as part of Mobb Deep, one of hip-hop’s most important groups of late-’90s. But now he’s got a new hustle: writing fiction. And even that’s understating it a bit. On Monday, Brooklyn-based publisher Akashic announced that the rapper has launched a new imprint called “Infamous Books.” Prodigy’s own “H.N.I.C”, co-written with Steve Saville, will be the imprint’s first title, due out on July 16, in the middle of Mobb Deep’s current international tour.
According to a press release from Akashic:
Prodigy worked on his first fiction effort with award-winning British fantasy, horror, and thriller writer Steven Savile, whose popular thriller Silver was a best seller in Europe, topping at #2 in the UK in 2011 and becoming one of the biggest books of the year. Savile, who first made his name working in established franchises such as Star Wars, Stargate, Jurassic Park: The Lost World, and Pathfinder, is also responsible for the story line for the international best-selling computer game Battlefield 3, which sold over five million copies in its week of release. This collaboration has delivered a truly captivating read that combines the uncompromising streetwise narratives of Prodigy’s lyrics with the literary expertise of Savile.
Akashic’s tag line is “reverse-gentrification of the literary world”, a nod to its dedication to publishing work by authors who usually aren’t given the time of day by mainstream publishers. One can only assume that that means black and Latino authors, especially ones who write so-called “street lit.” In any case, there aren’t too many people in general willing to invest in book publishing. So this is gonna be interesting.