Jermaine Dupri On Prodigy's Death ... We Lost a Hip-Hop Centerpiece

6/20/2017 5:51 PM PDT

Jermaine Dupri on Prodigy's Death: We Lost a Hip-Hop 'Centerpiece'

EXCLUSIVE

Jermaine Dupri -- like millions of hip-hop fans -- is mourning the loss of Prodigy from Mobb Deep ... whom he calls one of his favs.

We got the rapper at LAX, where he gave his condolences and mad props to Prodigy and the hardcore East Coast sound he created.

Dupri ticks off a couple of his favorite Mobb Deep records ... which had a huge influence on his career.

As we reported ... Prodigy was hospitalized over the weekend before he died, but the cause is unknown.