Sean Price is a survivor. Since that late 90s Helter Skelter album, many eras have come and gone in Hip-Hop, but Price remains. To many, he’s an enigma, as many interviewers over the years have gotten cut off for ridiculous questions. To others, he’s a reminder of the purity of Hip-Hop. He finally dropped Mic Tyson and can be found ripping bars apart on just about any underground or indie hardcore release. We caught up with Decepticon Sean and discussed everything from religion, to Hip-Hop and the Brooklyn Nets. No Frills Hip-Hop. Enjoy.
Planet Ill: how important was it for you to get back to center as far as Hip-Hop was concerned?
Sean Price: You know what? It’s so much gimmicks and I’m not talking about nobody in particular; there’s so much extra shit but what we must not forget is the beat and the rhyme. I didn’t forget that; that’s all I’m saying. Just remember THAT folks. The beats and the rhyme and then all the extra shit after. I went back to that, the beat and the rhyme. I got some banging beats and I tore them bitches down.
Planet Ill: You used to be a group emcee and you made that transition to a soloist. There aren’t many guest spots on your album. Is that a factor in delivering the clear message that you wanted to send?
Sean Price: Yeah man. People’s albums be sounding like a compilation. I’m from the old school I’ve never heard Rakim and Big Daddy Kane do a record together. I probably wanted to [hear it] but they didn’t an di’m cool with that. I don’t want to do a song with everybody. I do, but I don’t. Like I want to do a song with everybody, I just don’t want it on my album.
Planet Ill: You had Ill Bill on your album, you showed up on the La Coka Nostra album. How long have you guys been catching up together?
Sean Price: Bill is my man! He from Brooklyn, man. He’s from the projects across the street from South Shore High School in Canarsie. I’m from Brownsville Projects; we’re all Brooklyn. He’s a dope lyricist. We actually plan on doing a project together so the songs that we are doing is giving people a hint of what’s to come.
Planet Ill: As you mention Brooklyn, you have the Nets now but there’s a lot of people who aren’t really happy about that because a lot of people got displaced. How does that come into conflict as Brooklyn the people vs. Brooklyn the machine?
Sean Price: First of all, when I was little, my uncle Rick, him and Bernard King knew each other and he introduced me to Bernard King, so I’m a true Knicks fan for life, but it’s good for Brooklyn; there’s going to be a lot more jobs. Like everybody that works there didn’t have jobs before, so people are working. I heard they having a little problem with…they said they promised some low-income housing along with some upper echelon housing so hopefully that part works out. I’ve seen people out there protesting. I don’t think Jay-Z’s a liar so I think he’ll…you know the economy is fucked up, but I think they’ll get to it. Inshallah they do.
It’s good for Brooklyn, I’m happy. Like I said, I’m a Knicks fan but I’m not hating that Brooklyn got some good shit out there. I’m from Brooklyn; I’m glad. Actually, I can’t front. I hate to say this as a Knicks fan but on paper the Nets look like the better team On PAPER. But let’s see what happens.
Planet Ill: You said inshallah, God’s willing. On the album you mention your Ibn and your Imam. How does your faith come into play as a rhymer? Does it ever come into conflict with the things you rhyme about?
Sean Price: Yeah. That’s why I got a song on iTunes called “Haraam.” Because rap is haraam; anything preventing you from studying your Quran and being on you din is haraam, let’s be real about it. I’m just man enough to admit it. I don’t care what ya’ll judge me about because that’s for me and Allah to have that conversation. But I do know it’s haram. I’m not going to sit here and lie.
Planet Ill: How do you feel about rappers trying to put God in rhymes but not in the proper respect?
Sean Price: As a Muslim, I’m taught not to judge; I leave that for God. And I let God judge them. I’m a man like you; I make errors, I’m not perfect and neither are none of them. But that’s for their conversation they gotta have with God. I wish them the best.
Planet Ill: As bad as people say things are now, the 80s was a hungry time.
Sean Price: I think it was wilder back then, but it’s more stupid now. I don’t think it’s as wild as it was but I think it’s more reckless and stupid now. I been around shootouts; involved in bad shit and shit got crazy. It’s just more stupid now, the beefs are super bullshit. We shot, I’m not trying to justify it but it’s just stupid shit; it’s not even worth picking a gun up for. Kids are getting shot; it’s just dumb shit. That’s the difference. It’s more ignorant and stupid now.
Planet Ill: Let’s talk about Mic Tyson. It took a long time to drop this album and many times I’d see you on Twitter or bump into you in the street and it felt like you didn’t want to do this anymore. What gave you the strength to say, “Fuck it, let’s finish the game?”
Sean Price: You know what? Sometimes life gets in the way. One time si did an interview and I told people before I do this album, I need to put things in order. Because my life is music and then everything else and now I got my shit in order. God first, family, then this Hip-Hop shit. Once I got that in perspective, things started working out better. I have a great wife, I have great kids God is great man I can’t complain. My wife is giving me the finger right now!
Planet Ill: You were on Duck Down as part of the first wave. To see it come full circle and the change as a company over 15-16 years, what is your place in that company and how do you feel about Hip-Hop moving forward?
Sean Price: Well my place in the company, I’m an artist. I do other things but for the most part, I’m the artist up there. Love Duck Down. At one time we were frowned upon and now we’re the place to be. And that’s just hey. Be careful of the toes you step on today because it might be connected to the ass you might have to kiss tomorrow. There it is; we’re the shit right now.
Planet Ill: In your opinion, who are the five hardest rhymers of all time?
Sean Price: Me, Beanie Sigel, Styles P, Roc Marciano and Ike Oz. Oh yeah and one more, My man Ka, Brownsville Ka. Grief Pedigree. If you haven’t heard it, go get that shit. That shit is the truth. And he’s from Brownsville. Good brother, good songs. His name is Ka, the name of the album is Grief Pedigree, go get that shit.
Sean Price: the whole album run thing, you know that run. I’mma do that, I’m well-seasoned in this game, so I know about this run.in the meantime, I did a shit load of songs; I got a whole lot more on deck, so I’mma drop some other shit. I consciously left off two Alchemist records cause I know this next joint is gonna be crazy, too.
Planet Ill: How do you feel about rappers giving away their best stuff on mixtapes and then when the album comes around and you have to put up money for that bar code…
Sean Price: You know what? I don’t even know. Cause I don’t evne be downloading nobody’s shit. I don’t be checking for nobody shit, b! Not on no everybody is corny, I just be so caught up in my shit, I got no time for nobody else’s shit.
Planet Ill: What do you get out of rhyming?
Sean Price: I just enjoy hearing myself. I enjoy taking the alphabet language and beating that shit up and seeing what happens. I get a kick out of it. And hopefully, ya’ll do too. I just did a freestyle today called ”Spinal Pineapples.” I had did a few shows with Action Bronson and he sets off his show with that “Pouches of Tuna,” where there’s no drum beat. I’m like, “Yo he kills this, I need to rhyme to this, see what I can do to it.” So I just rhymed to it; beat it up a little bit and put it out. People liked the shit. Just have fun with it.
Planet Ill: How do you compare the original Beatminerz with what’s going on now?
Sean Price: that time was that time and this time is this time. The Beatminerz are still dope Actually me, Walt and E have been talking about doing a Sean Price Beatminerz EP. The Beatminerz, they work like 88 Keys now. And that’s not a dis. This nigga 88 Keys gave me a drum beat and was like, “Yo, rhyme to this.” I’m like what I can’t rhyme to this, he like rhyme to it. I didn’t do it, but Tek [from Smif n Wessun] did and 88 Keys brought it back and put a whole bunch of shit behind it and it sounded great. I gotta get used to that style.
The Beatminerz gave me some shit, I was like I don’t like this shit. I guess they passed it off to somebody else and when they finished with it, the finished product was fucking awesome. So I gotta get used to that because they used to not do that. They do that now and it sounds great so I gotta get used to their new style. Like rhyme to the minimal shit and we’ll put the rest around it later. But the Beatminerz are fucking dope.
Planet Ill: Any last thoughts for man, woman and child?
Sean Price: I just want to say, if you got the album and you love it I appreciate it, if you don’t maybe you’ll like the next one. Love is love though, it’s music.