From the Vault: Sean Price (Random Axe)

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Photo courtesy of Tom Hawkings

This week we celebrate the birthday of the late Sean Price. Sean was one of my favorite people to interview in Hip-Hop. He hated typical questions and his answers were off the wall and honest. When I booked my first interview with Sean his publicist Matt Conaway told me, “Don’t ask Sean what he thinks the current state of rap is because he’ll say ‘Idaho.’” I knew then that I was going to enjoy talking to Sean P.

In 2011 Sean joined up with Detroit artists Black Milk and Guilty Simpson to form Random Axe. The album of the same name was gritty and raw, but allowed Sean to rhyme over production that he normally didn’t spit on. Black Milk gave us a different dimension of Sean without taking away the grittiness that was Sean Price.

Enjoy my 2011 interview with Sean Price. The interview displayed what kind of man Sean was. He was a man of conviction and extremely humorous. I miss Sean personally and Hip-Hop misses him as a whole.

TRHH: How did the Random Axe project come together?

Sean Price: I was on tour with Special Teamz a few years ago. I got a call asking if I wanted to do a song with Guilty Simpson and I was like, “Yeah.” Then the phone hung up and I was like, “Who the hell is Guilty Simpson?” The guy on the tour bus was like, “Yo, I got a lot of Guilty Simpson music.” So by the time we drove to where we were supposed to do the show I had heard a bunch of Guilty songs. I was highly impressed. I was like fuck doing a song, let’s do a whole project. I did “Run” for his album and Black Milk did the production. I was like, “Yo, this shit is banging, let’s do more.” That’s what happened. It turned into an album and here we are.

TRHH: How was recording with Guilty different from recording with Rock?

Sean Price: It was easier. I say that because we had one producer. I just shut up and took orders this time instead of trying to dictate everything. It was much easier. Black said, “Rhyme to this,” I said, “You sure?” he said, “I hear you on this.” I wrote the rhyme, Guilty wrote his part, and we just knocked it out real quick. Whereas with Heltah Skeltah me and son have a bunch of beats, he has a particular style he likes, I have a particular style I like, and we can take like three sessions just picking out beats alone. That’s the difference.

TRHH: The video for The Hex is dope. Who came up with the concept to have you cooking shit up in the video and what was it like shooting it?

Sean Price: I have no idea. I know I didn’t make it. Neither me, Guilty or Black made it. I think the guy Todd and Dru and them came up with the concept. It looks great but it was hours. It was boring as hell. Twiddling my thumbs, hurry up and wait. The initial guy that drove us up there crashed the van. He has no respect for the passenger side of the ride so he broke the mirror on a Verizon truck and he broke the mirror on somebody else’s car. We had a bad driver. It was a bad experience, man [laughs]. The video came out great though.

TRHH: Was this in New York or Detroit?

Sean Price: We shot the video upstate, a little past White Plains. We found a little hotel and did it there.

TRHH: You’ve toured the country and you’re working with two cats from Detroit, what are the similarities between Brownsville and Detroit?

Sean Price: Ain’t no similarities. Detroit is 100% fuckin’ wilder than Brooklyn, man. Straight up and down. Them motherfuckers ride around with choppers in their backseat. We don’t do that shit. Where you from, homeboy?

TRHH: Chicago.

Sean Price: Alright, well you got projects. You know how the projects are. It might be 18 floors with apartment A-to-H on each floor. They don’t have that shit in Detroit. You can’t really walk around with an AR-15 because it’s so many fuckin’ windows somebody’s going to tell on you. Out there they can do that shit. Them motherfuckers crazier to me.

TRHH: Brownsville is pretty crazy though, right?

Sean Price: I mean Brownsville is berserk too but we might have a .38 Special or a 9mm. The most you might have is a little TEC or MAC or something. Them motherfuckers got Johnny Rambo weapons out there. You can’t get away with that shit in Brownsville because like I said there’s too many windows. Somebody’s gonna tell on you.

TRHH: I interviewed you a couple years ago and I know you don’t like the basic questions so I’m going to go off on a couple odd questions here. Recently on Twitter Rhymefest and Jakk Frost have been vocal about Lil B making an album called “I’m Gay.” I want to know your opinion on the whole Lil B situation.

Sean Price: First of all I’m not homophobic. They can’t shake your hand and give you gay, you feel me? You can’t give me 5 and then I got gay on me [laughs]. I heard he uses the term “gay” as the actual meaning, meaning “happy.” So if he’s happy, he’s happy. Good for him. God bless him. I feel no way. He don’t mean it like he’s gay and sleeps with men, he means it like I’m happy. If that’s what you are, be happy, bro. I’m happy for you [laughs]. What he eat don’t make me shit so, whatever.

TRHH: Also on Twitter I saw you say that you wanted to work with Redman. Have you heard back from Red yet about that?

Sean Price: Hell yeah!

TRHH: What’s the status?

Sean Price: Now we’re waiting for Khrysis. We’re waiting for Khrysis to give us the beat and me and Red gon’ knock some shit out. I was just fucking with Red on Twitter to get a reaction out of him. Even my threats wasn’t no malice intent if you read ‘em. I was just like, “Yo, you better call me or… Im’ma call you again!” That’s my G. Redman is my GOAT, that’s my greatest of all-time.

TRHH: Really?

Sean Price: Yeah. So I definitely want him on a record with me, for sho.

TRHH: What makes Redman the greatest of all-time?

Sean Price: To me? Muddy Waters. That’s the best Hip-Hop album ever. In my world that’s the best Hip-Hop album ever. Nothing is better than that. No Chronic’s, no nothing! That’s my favorite album ever.

TRHH: Really?

Sean Price: Yes. I know every line verbatim on that bitch. I even know the skits on that bitch. That’s my shit right there.

TRHH: That dropped around the same time you dropped your first album, right?

Sean Price: Hell yeah. And he actually sampled Rock on a record too so that make it even more ill.

TRHH: Give me your top 5 emcees of all-time.

Sean Price: Redman, Buckshot, Brother J from X Clan, my man Ike Eyes, you don’t know this nigga. And my partner, Rock. I knew how to rhyme but Rock taught me the fundamentals. I would have pages of rhymes. My first partner, this other dude named Has and Rock showed me the ropes. They said, “Nigga you got four songs right here. That ain’t one rap!”

TRHH: What were you doing when you heard Usama Bin Laden was killed and what are your thoughts on the whole situation?

Sean Price: I had just flew back in from Edmonton, Canada. I landed in Newark airport so I had to drive back to Brooklyn. A car service picked me up to take me back home. We were getting on the Holland Tunnel and one lane was closed because somebody got killed in the Holland Tunnel. When that happened the driver was telling me about that and then he said, “You heard what happened? They got Bin Laden.” I was like, “Word? Wow.” I was buggin’ a lil’ bit. They had the TV in the car and I saw people celebrating. Granted he did what he did, but we looked ugly as Americans celebrating somebody’s death. I know people wanted him dead but it looked ugly. People were popping champagne like it was New Year’s. I didn’t like that. I understand why, but it was ugly.

TRHH: You’re Muslim too, right?

Sean Price: Yes I am.

TRHH: What’s your opinion on the way they buried him? They said it was under Islamic tradition but it really wasn’t. You don’t dump a body in the ocean.

Sean Price: You’re supposed to be buried in the next 24 hours.

TRHH: But not in the water!

Sean Price: But not in the water. I don’t know what they were thinking. You’re dealing with people that don’t respect Muslims…. they don’t respect Bin Laden! So I doubt they would respect his wishes for a proper burial. I don’t think they’re actually Muslim haters but they are Bin Laden haters. To a certain degree I can’t blame them. If I had real bad enemy like that and I got at him, you think I give a fuck about his traditional funeral? Fuck that nigga! I’m throwing him in the garbage. That would be me, personally. If I got beef with you and you believe in some certain shit I don’t give a fuck what you believe in. I’m throwing you in the trash dude, fuck you! I can understand that.

TRHH: I can too. He didn’t give a fuck about the people in the towers and their burial.

Sean Price: Ya’ know? Yeah! So why would they give a fuck about his tradition? Throw that motherfucker in the water. I wouldn’t give a fuck about my enemy either. A proper burial? Get the fuck outta here! Set him on fire. Give him a cigarette and a blindfold and pop this nigga. I don’t agree but I understand. It’s all fair in war.

TRHH: The last time I spoke to you, you said you might quit rapping and work at Costco. Do you still feel the need to get out of the game?

Sean Price: Yeah. Shit I ain’t rich! I’m making good money but I ain’t rich, B. I don’t have enough money to retire. Even if I don’t wanna rap I still gotta work [laughs]. Like I said, pride don’t feed the babies. Fuck that shit. I’m going to do whatever it takes. As long as my fingers and toes move Im’ma get money.

TRHH: Do you ever get tired of being on the road?

Sean Price: I’m tired of that shit right now. I even have religious conflicts with me and the music. My music is haram. Anything taking you away from studying your Qur’an is foul. But Allah knows in my heart that this is how I take care of my family. I have that conflict every day.

TRHH: Are you familiar with Yusef Islam? Cat Stevens?

Sean Price: Yeah.

TRHH: He still does his music but there are no instruments, it’s just drums. Can you see yourself taking that route and making halal music?

Sean Price: No, I can’t. Because I love talking the bullshit I’m talking. Im’ma be honest, I love talking this bullshit. I can’t see myself not rappin’ and not talking the bullshit I’m talking. I love that shit! I can’t lie. Once I stop I’m just going to stop all the way. I’m not going to Cat Stevens myself. Respect due to him, but I’m not going to do that.

TRHH: Random Axe will be performing at Rock the Bells this summer. What do you guys have in-store for the Rock the Bells tour?

Sean Price: I plan on bustin’ everybody ass that’s on the bill!

TRHH: Word!

Sean Price: Word! It’s all fair in war like we just said. Everybody is competition. I’m trying to crack everybody ass on the bill. When the people leave I want them to go, “Sean Price, Guilty, and Black bodied the show!” They’ll tell a friend and they’ll telephone. And when you’re on the telephone you’ll tell another friend and spread the gospel. Let ‘em know we ain’t playin’! Seek and destroy mission, that’s what that is. I’m coming to bust everybody ass on stage and have the best show I can give.

TRHH: Is there anybody on Rock the Bells that you want to see as a fan?

Sean Price: Nah.

TRHH: Nah?

Sean Price: Nah. I’m cool with everybody but I’m friends with no one. I’m cool with everybody but I’m friends with none of them niggas. It’s all competition.

TRHH: Not even Black Moon?

Sean Price: That’s family! Buck gon’ try to bust my ass too on stage. That’s what we do. Him and Steele taught me that. I’m only doing what I was taught.

TRHH: When are we going to hear that Mic Tyson album?

Sean Price: I’m putting the finishing touches on it now. Random Axe is done, we’re gonna do a Boot Camp album, and then I’ll wrap my shit up. Once I wrap my shit up I hand it to Dru and it’s on him when he wanna release it. He’ll release it when the time is right. I trust his judgment, everything has worked so far.

TRHH: Give me some insight into Mic Tyson. Who are some of the producers and guest emcees?

Sean Price: I got Beat Butcher on there. My man V.Don, Alchemist, and Evidence are on there. I’m about to go down south and work with 9th. I can’t do an album without fuckin’ with 9th and Khrysis. By the time I come back from there I’ll wrap up the album. As far as guest stars I don’t consider Boot Camp guests–that’s my family. Outside of Boot Camp I’m trying to get M.O.P. I spoke to M.O.P so y’all finally gonna get that M.O.P/Heltah Skeltah record.

TRHH: Did you come up with them? Y’all from the same area, right?

Sean Price: We from the same hood. We know the same people. We didn’t grow up together, but we’re both from the same hood. Those my niggas, those my niggas. I remember when I was first coming up [Lil’] Fame came to the crib, we smoked out, cracked jokes, and played beats. That’s family, they’re cool. I’m trying to find MF Doom. I want to do a Doom record and probably Bilal. After that I’m done. I don’t want a bunch of guest stars.

TRHH: The last time I talked to you I asked you about Nicki Minaj and you said “Who?” Do you know who she is now and what’s your opinion of Nicki Minaj?

Sean Price: Yes! I have none.

TRHH: Why should fans go out and cop that Random Axe?

Sean Price: Because if you don’t Im’ma get Hex to fuck one of y’all up [laughs]. Im’ma get Hex Murda to beat the shit out somebody.

TRHH: [Laughs] Alright, well talk a little bit about the Random Axe album.

Sean Price: Ah man, the shit is great. We got 15 joints on there. The shit is hard. We got Fat Ray, Fatt Father, it’s a bunch of fat guys on the album [laughs]. We have Danny Brown on there. We got some girl singing but I forgot her name. I just did my part and flew back to New York. Black did the whole album. I don’t even have thank you’s on the album. Black is the only one with thank you’s on there. He just took it and did his own thing. This is Black Milk’s album starring me and Guilty [laughs]. It sounds great though. It has different beats that I wouldn’t normally rhyme to, but they sound good. I just let Black take control. He gave the orders and I just followed them. It came out pretty good.

TRHH: Thanks for the interview.

Sean Price: Thank you too, man. Any time.

Purchase: Random Axe

About Sherron Shabazz

Sherron Shabazz is a freelance writer with an intense passion for Hip-Hop culture. Sherron is your quintessential Hip-Hop snob, seeking to advance the future of the culture while fondly remembering its past.
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