Prodigy, ‘H.N.I.C. PT. 2′ (Infamous/Vox Music Group)
Prodigy just might be the most depressing, paranoid, and nihilistic artist in hip-hop today. In his world, neighborhood menaces are canonized (“Veteran’s Memorial Pt. 2″), guns are always shot (“Click Click”), and Satan-worshipping pedophiles control the government (“Real Power Is People”). H.N.I.C. Pt. 2 is a real downer, but it’s also completely gripping, mostly because Prodigy’s weary voice — made wearier by his lifelong battle with sickle-cell anemia and an impending prison sentence — perfectly complements the lush, keyboard-heavy backdrops. More kudos for including the creepiest recital of the “ABCs” ever.