H.N.I.C. is the debut solo album by American rapper Prodigy. The album was scheduled for a September release but ultimately released November 14, 2000.

Professional Ratings

After four Mobb Deep albums, Prodigy took a temporary break from the group and released his first solo effort. “H.N.I.C.” is an initialism for “Head Nigga In Charge”. Prodigy enlisted a number of producers for the album, including The Alchemist, EZ Elpee, RockwilderJust Blaze and his Mobb Deep partner Havoc. Music videos were done for “Keep It Thoro” and “Y.B.E” (Young Black Entrepreneurs). The album received universal widespread critical acclaim. The song “Keep It Thoro” was released on vinyl.

A sequel, H.N.I.C. Pt. 2 was released April 22, 2008. It features production by Havoc, a fellow member of Mobb Deep and The Alchemist among others. In 2011, after being released from prison, Prodigy began work on the third album in the series, H.N.I.C. 3. The album inspired rapper, Wiz Khalifa‘s album, O.N.I.F.C.. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA on December 18, 2000.

The album also inspired a 16-year old, Kendrick Lamar, who dropped his Y.H.N.I.C. project in 2003.


While Prodigy was working on H.N.I.C. and the Murda Muzik album with Mobb Deep, he started living a healthy lifestyle. His verse on “Quiet Storm” explains this:

“I spent too many nights sniffin’ coke, gettin’ right wastin’ my life, now I’m trying to make things right.”

Although Quiet Storm appeared on Murda Muzik, it was originally planned for H.N.I.C. Prodigy addresses his lifelong pain with Sickle-cell disease on the track “You Can Never Feel My Pain”. On this track he also explains that this disease makes him depressed, which made him crave for controlled substances and alcohol.

The more conscious side of Prodigy is also visible on the song “Genesis”.

“The positive and negative war has now begun. P helps you seperate [sic] both the sides let the truth arise, black devil don’t hide You can’t hide from me, you might from the others. I’ve been employed to pull your ass out from the covers. You walk like you got hooves and talk like you ‘sposed to. Trickin my brothers into followin you? Yo, Potential energy is easily made kinetic.”

This isn’t an only conscious album though. Prodigy strikes again with hardcore lyrics. Prodigy can therefore be described as a conscious gangster.

On the track H.N.I.C. Prodigy lets you know that he is the boss:

“I be the H.N.I.C. The head nigga in charge. The boss, the Captain Crunch dog, the sarge. The M.O.B.B., the status – we large. The guns, the drama, the love, the Mobb.”

The 6th track “Keep It Thoro” does not have a hook or chorus; this was the central idea of the song with Prodigy making this clear with the penultimate line “heavy airplay all day with no chorus”. However, Prodigy’s manager at the time, Chris Lighty, thought the song could do better on the radio with a chorus. This resulted in recording a version with a chorus by Havoc after the album was released, with the penultimate line edited out. The Alchemist, the producer of this track, later commented that “the hook was dope too but the song was already powerful enough.” This version of the song was included on the Japanese edition of the album as a bonus track.

Prodigy’s wife KiKi appears on the track “Trials of Love” as B.K. (aka) Mz. Bars, being the only time she appeared on a song. She made her video appearance in the Hey Luv video from Mobb Deep’s Infamy (2001).

The album appeared on “The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s” list by Complex magazine.

Track listing


1.”Bars & Hooks (Intro)”Prodigy1:19


3.”Drive Thru (skit)”Prodigy0:16

4.”Rock Dat”Bink Dawg4:21

5.”What U Rep” (featuring N.O.R.E.)Hangmen 34:32

6.”Keep It Thoro”The Alchemist3:05

7.”Can’t Complain” (featuring Twin Gambino, Chinky)Prodigy4:19

8.”Infamous Minded” (featuring Big Noyd)Robert Kirkland3:27

9.”Wanna Be Thugs” (Mobb Deep)Havoc2:50

10.”Three” (featuring Cormega)The Alchemist2:20

11.”Delt with the Bullshit” (Mobb Deep)Havoc13:22

12.”Trials of Love” (featuring B.K. (aka) Mz. Bars.)The Alchemist 3:50

13.”H.N.I.C.”EZ Elpee & Jesse “Corparal” Wilson 3:03

14.”Be Cool (skit)”Prodigy 0:16

15.”Veteran’s Memorial”The Alchemist 4:56

16.”Do It” (featuring Mike Delorean)Rockwilder 3:20

17.”Littles (skit)” (featuring Littles & Big Noyd)Prodigy 1:19

18.”Y.B.E.” (featuring B.G.)Nashiem Myrick, Prodigy, Stephen Dorsain 4:21

19.”Diamond” (featuring Bars & Hooks)Just Blaze 4:05

20.”Gun Play” (featuring Big Noyd)Rockwilder 4:44

21.”You Can Never Feel My Pain”Ric Rude 3:27

22.”H.N.I.C. (Outro)”Prodigy 0:18




^ Jason Birchmeier (2000-11-14). “H.N.I.C. – Prodigy | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards”. AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-06-14.

^ Soren Baker (2000-11-17). “Record Rack – latimes”. Retrieved 2015-06-14.

^ “Prodigy – H.N.I.C.” HipHopDX. 2001-01-12. Retrieved 2015-06-14.

^ “Feature for November 14, 2000 – Prodigy’s “H.N.I.C.””. 2000-11-14. Retrieved 2015-06-14.

^ “Vibe – Google Livres”. December 2000. Retrieved 2015-06-14.

^ Rollingstone Album Guide Reviews

^ “Wiz Khalifa O.N.I.F.C. Title Is ‘All Love,’ Prodigy Says”. MTV. Viacom Media Networks. Retrieved 2012-03-05.

^ “Kendrick Lamar Explained How Prodigy Inspired Him To Make His First Mixtape As A 16-Year-Old”. Retrieved 2017-06-26.

^ “The Alchemist Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records (Part 1)Prodigy “Keep it Thoro” (2000)”. Complex. Retrieved 2017-09-24.

^ “The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s”. Complex UK. Retrieved 2017-03-01.

^ “Prodigy Chart History (Billboard 200)”. Billboard. Retrieved July 24, 2012.

^ “Prodigy Chart History (Independent Albums)”. Billboard. Retrieved July 24, 2012.

^ “Prodigy Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)”. Billboard. Retrieved July 24, 2012.

^ “American album certifications – Prodigy – H.N.I.C.” Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

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