Real MCs are a dying breed. Literally.
Hip-hop heads were devastated to hear this morning that Sean Price, one of the best to ever touch a microphone, passed away in his sleep.
While many of my friends and rap aficionados mourned the passing of a rap titan on social media, I soon realized that a large majority of rap fans — younger fans in most cases — had no idea who Sean P was and what he meant to the game.
Allow me to introduce you to the best rapper you never knew.
First off, it’s no surprise that P was never embraced by mainstream audiences. Thing about it — the only 40+-year-old rappers that mainstream hip-hop acknowledges are the million-dollar moguls with headphone deals and superstar spouses. Beyond that, it’s only skinny jeans and dumb haircuts that are shown love.
It’s not like Sean P cared. This is the dude who once spit: “Tight pants n****s can’t stand me now/F**k ’em all, except Danny Brown.”
I miss that man already.
Sean Price, originally known as Ruck, was one-half of the mid-90s rap duo Heltah Skeltah with partner Rock. Along with Rock, P was also part of the Boot Camp Clik collective — basically the Avengers of East Coast rap. P dropped music with both groups for years, but I didn’t truly appreciate him until his solo career kicked off in 2005 with Monkey Barz. Along with Jesus Price Superstar and, his infamous magnum opus, 2012’s Mic Tyson, those three albums catapulted P from impressive group member to one of the most captivating voices of underground hip-hop.
Sure, P had impressive lyricism but it takes more than that to master this craft. P’s greatest strength was always his presence. He attacked every single track like a 800-pound gorilla mauling a chicken wing.
Nearly every song included at least one shot at a subpar rapper…
(“I don’t parlay with the crew n****/I don’t Wale and them new n****s”)
…Along with a reminder that he’s a grown man …
(“I’m just an old man givin ya/Slaps with my hand that’ll crack your mandibula”)
… Who will happily stomp your face in…
(“Smack the s**t out of a n**** and hand him his hat”)
…And cap it off with “yo mama” jokes straight out of a 8th-grade lunchroom…
…Before reiterating that he’s the hardest out. In case you forgot.
(“Personally, it’s nothing personal/You send a verse to me, I’ll send a hearse to you/Clearly it’s that really you’re wack/I’m actually one of them rappers that really can rap”)
P was a F-5 tornado on every track: a force of nature that was downright terrifying, yet poetry in motion.
Sean P didn’t care about fashion or acceptance. He didn’t spent his days Twitter beefing or whining about why he wasn’t nominated for stupid TV awards. He just delivered adamantium-hard verses, then DARED someone to outrap him. Chances are, you couldn’t.
He was one of the last of his breed — are real MC. We never truly appreciated what we had in him.
Salute to Mic Tyson, the people’s champ.