This post was originally published on August 8, 2017.
The loss of Sean Price two years ago today is still heavy on the minds of many within the Hip-Hop community. We take a look back at the career of Decepticon Sean from Heltah Skeltah to his solo career and beyond.
Born March 17, 1972, in Brooklyn, N.Y., the early part of Price’s life has only been revealed in bits and pieces. What is readily known is that he and his Heltah Skeltah partner Rock were childhood friends who fell into the rapping game on the heels of Black Moon and the early formation of the Boot Camp Clik (BCC) with Smif-N-Wesun, The Representativz, and O.G.C. aka the Originoo Gunn Clappaz. Price, largely known as Ruck, made his official debut on Tek and General Steele’s classic 1995 debut album, Dah Shinin’ with the rest of the BCC.
Ruck and Rock’s debut as Heltah Skeltah came the following year with Nocturnal, bolstered by the “Operation Lockdown” single. The crew’s follow-up, Magnum Force, was not as well-received by the public despite the notable emergence of Price as an equal rapper to the widely-regarded Rock.
With the BCC seemingly split with the rise of Ruck and Rock’s new Magnum Force Clik, the turn of the century found Ruck using his birth-given name and shedding his connection to either collection of crews. 2001’s “Don’t Say Sh*t To Ruck” was a reintroduction to the masses for Price, signaling a new determination and focus with underground veteran and producer Agallah Da Don and other rising beatsmiths.
After his 2003 mixtape with P.F. Cuttin, Donkey Sean Jr., established Price as a force, he reconnected with Duck Down Records, now one of the better independent labels that survived the crush of the 21st Century. Price’s 2005 solo debut, Monkey Barz, was more of what fans wanted from the burly Brooklyn bomber — hard rhymes and harder beats.
Price released two more albums while alive, 2007’s Jesus Price Superstar, featuring production from 9th Wonder, !llmind, and Khrysis among other notables. In that time, Heltah Skeltah reunited for the potent D.I.R.T. album in 2008, and in 2012, Price dropped his third album and highest-charting project, Mic Tyson. There were also mixtape projects such as Master P, Kimbo Price, and Songs In The Key Of Price. Ruck was also part of the Random Axe trio with producer/rapper Black Milk and Guilty Simpson, the latter two of the group being from Detroit.
Today (Aug. 8), Duck Down released Price’s Imperius Rex, reminding many of the potency of Ruck’s pen game. For some fans, it might be a tough listen as the world continues to mourn the loss of one of Hip-Hop’s greatest rhyme spitters. While Price wasn’t concerned with polish or weighty concepts in his verses, he brought an undeniable level of consistency each time he approached a track.
We’ve collected 10 of our favorite tracks from Tawl Sean although it’s fair to say he has given the world dozens of classic verses. You can find our favorites on the following pages but as an appetizer, we’ve posted a couple of offerings of Sean Price’s prowess and comedic timing that should motivate aspiring rappers to throw out their rhymes and try again.
R.I…P! to the great Sean Price. Thank you for everything you gave us.