From Heltah Skeltah to Boot Camp Clik to 2005’s critically acclaimed “Monkey Barz“, Sean Price has made a name for himself in Hip-Hop over the past decade plus. On January 30th he’s releasing another solo effort, “Jesus Price Superstar.” In anticipation of this album dropping we caught up with Sean Price to discuss “Jesus Price Superstar”, how and why his style has changed over the years, and why he once considered himself “protector of the nerds.”
Adam Bernard: First off tell me about “Jesus Price Superstar.” How long have you been working on the project?
Sean Price: Honestly, Jesus Price was done before the Boot Camp album, before “The Last Stand.” I just sat on it, tweaked it and waited until after the Boot Camp album came out. We decided to put the Boot Camp album out first to kinda give shit a close. We did the triple threat, which was “Monkey Barz“, “Chemistry“, and “Reloaded“, so we wanted to end that whole series with the Boot Camp album and then come with the Sean Price album, and next will be a Buckshot album.
AB: So what can people expect from “Jesus Price Superstar”?
SP: It’s like boom. “Monkey Barz” is Barry Bonds when was on the Pirates.
AB: Back when he was skinny.
SP: Yeah. Then Jesus Price is the BALCO Barry.
AB: So you’re all roided up for this album.
SP: Yeah, I’m hittin ’em out the park left and right. It’s so sick they’re like “yo this guy’s on steroids.”
AB: Just watch out man, on your next album you’ll have bad knees.
SP: I know, right! It’ll mess my knees up and I might have shrinkage of my manhood, too. Gotta be careful.
AB: Did you have a concept going in for this record, and if so what was it?
SP: No. My whole plan was I wanted to put out two solo albums before we did another Heltah Skeltah album. I didn’t want people to think I was just doing a solo album until me and Rock got our shit together, or whatever. Nah, I’m a solo artist for real, forever. I wanted to let you know that the first one wasn’t a fluke. I do this all day. That’s why I put out another one. And now I’m ready for the Heltah Skeltah album.
“We could do a hundred more Heltah Skeltah albums and there’s gonna be hundred more Sean Price albums. I’m not playin.”
AB: So the concept sounds like it’s “I’m a solo artist, respect that.”
SP: Yeah, respect it, this is me. We could do a hundred more Heltah Skeltah albums and there’s gonna be hundred more Sean Price albums. I’m not playin.
AB: You’ve been through a lot of changes as a person since Heltah Skeltah first dropped “Nocturnal.” Talk to me about some of the events that have shaped your life and career since then.
SP: I think I rhyme better. I feel I’m much nicer than the first two Heltah Skeltah albums. I feel I’m more creative, I think more, I’m more grown up. I’m a man. Just because you’re 18 or 21 doesn’t make you a man. I’m a man. I take care of my family, I take care of my wife, I take care of the house. I’m a man. I do man things. I’m more responsible.
AB: You said you think you rhyme better. How would you say your style has changed over the years?
SP: I just think I’m more confident with my shit. I do rhyme better.
AB: Did it just come from years and years of rhyming and developing the style?
SP: Yeah, it could be. You know what I had to get comfortable in my own skin. When I did “Nocturnal” people liked it, but my friends hated that shit because I’m not one of those kinda dudes. I’m a street dude and my shit wasn’t as street as they were expecting, they were like “yo son what’s wrong with you?” Then Reasonable Doubt came out and my man was like “you hear this shit? This is what the fuck you’re supposed to be doing. Nigga what the fuck is wrong with you? You over there talking this crazy slippity slip bullshit.” And I understood what they meant because I am a street dude, I’ve been in a lot of shit in the hood and it wasn’t reflected on the album at all, so I came out with “Magnum Force” and tried to make up for it but that ain’t really work neither. So I had to figure out how I’ma keep it me and at the same time not lose that Heltah Skeltah shit that people like.
AB: You want to keep as many people happy as possible.
SP: Yeah, so I figured it out with “Monkey Barz.”
AB: Yeah and Duck Down has seen a resurgence over the past year or so. Why do you feel this is and where do you see the label headed in 2007?
SP: I just think we’re on our job. Like I said, there was a gap between “Magnum Force” and “Monkey Barz“, that little gap… I went through hell, b. I was assed out, no money, I was on my face. Then I started hustling again, doing stupid shit, getting money. And it was getting corny. I was like “yo man what I’ma do, man? Am I going to be a hustler or am I really going to take this rap shit seriously?” So I took this rap shit seriously and went in.
AB: At what age did that epiphany happen?
“There were a lot of groups out when me and Rock came out, I ain’t sayin no names but ain’t none of ’em around no more really. Test of time. “
AB: With all those changes why do you feel you and the other Duck Down artists have enjoyed such longevity when most of the artists that were hot when “Nocturnal” came out are long gone now?
SP: Yeah cuz it’s the test of time. There were a lot of groups out when me and Rock came out, I ain’t sayin no names but ain’t none of ’em around no more really. Test of time. Some of ’em probably still nice but they’re so frustrated with the game that they just don’t give a fuck. I felt like that for a minute, but I felt like the game kinda needed me because ain’t nobody doing Hip-Hop like I’m doing. There might be a few, as far as like Ghost, but not too many, we’re rare.
AB: And it seems weird now that New York seems to get ignored a little bit. Do you even care, as a city, what we have to do to get back?
SP: I don’t care about that New York coming back shit. I ain’t with all that. I don’t give a fuck about that. My music is good, b. And I’m from New York, that’s how they represent. Just get busy.
“I know some dudes that live in Germany that are nicer than a motherfucker. It doesn’t matter. Good Hip-Hop is good Hip-Hop.”
AB: Have we gotten to a point in Hip-Hop where location shouldn’t matter at all?
SP: Yeah. I know some dudes that live in Germany that are nicer than a motherfucker. It doesn’t matter. Good Hip-Hop is good Hip-Hop. Saukrates, he’s from Canada and he’s awesome. I fucks with good Hip-Hop, it don’t matter where you from. I ain’t got no problem with no down south niggas. Do I listen to snap music? Nah, I don’t listen to that shit. But am I mad at it? Nah, that’s what y’all do, so do it. I’m not gonna do it, and even if I don’t like it, I don’t like it, but am I going to protest it? Nah, just cuz you don’t respect something doesn’t mean you have to go out of your way to disrespect it. Do your thing.
“I’m a nerd. I read a lot, watch a lot of TV, I’m on the computer all the time. I was always a bright kid at school…”
AB: Finally, tell us something about Sean Price that people may not know already.
SP: I’m a nerd. I read a lot, watch a lot of TV, I’m on the computer all the time. I was always a bright kid at school, I was always in the top class, it was just that I was one of them niggas that used to get beat up all time. You get tired of getting beat up, then you start learning how to fight and start beatin niggas up yourself. That’s the only thing. I’m a nerd who knows how to fight very well. Once I learned how to fight well, and was still a nerd, I became the protector of the nerds.
AB: That is definitely something people probably don’t know about you. And when you’re a nerd you have a larger vocabulary for rapping.
SP: Exactly! That’s why I spit how I spit. You gotta know somethin to say somethin anyway. That’s why a lot of these dudes’ rhymes are limited, because they don’t know shit. There’s street shit but there’s more than just the street, man. Pick up a book, read something, expand your mind, learn something.
AB: Yeah, if I hear one more rapper rhyme party with Bacardi I’m gonna throw my radio out the window.
SP: I feel you. That shit is crazy. There’s so much more to life than the street. Don’t get it twisted, most of my rhymes are “I’ma smack the shit out you.” I definitely carry guns in my rhymes, but there’s more to it than that. And really I think everybody raps about the same shit, it’s just how you put your spin on it. I think everything’s been said almost, I just think it’s how a motherfucker put his spin on it now.