The last time I interviewed Sean Price was in the fall of 2012. He was promoting his long awaited third solo album Mic Tyson. As always my conversation with Sean was a good one. Sean was his usual jocular self but this interview was a little different from the others. Sean was pensive when discussing gun violence in a city that wasn’t even his own. Normally surly, Sean was at peace and happy with his place in Hip-Hop. Despite being skeptical of the voting process his hatred of Mitt Romney prompted him to vote in the Presidential election – I wonder what Sean would have thought about our current President.
Sean Price is sorely missed in Hip-Hop. As an emcee and a personality Sean was second to none. Thankfully he left us with an abundance of good music from his solo material to his work with Random Axe, Boot Camp Clik, and Heltah Skeltah. Mic Tyson is my personal favorite album by Sean P and I was blessed to talk to him about its creation.
Ladies and gentlemen, for the final time on The Real Hip-Hop, I present to you, Sean Price.
TRHH: It’s been five years since your last solo joint. How does it feel to finally drop Mic Tyson?
Sean Price: Feels great. I’m glad it’s dropping. I can’t complain. God is good.
TRHH: The first single is, ‘STFU part 2’. Why’d you decide to lead off with that one?
Sean Price: I have no idea. Me, Dru, and Noah sat down and… actually Noah, without me knowing had got the cartoon done for ‘Shut the Fuck Up part 2’. He did that on the sneak side and it came out great so we ran with it. That’s one of my favorite words. I’m quick to tell somebody to shut the fuck up so it was natural.
TRHH: Alchemist produced a handful of tracks on Mic Tyson, what was it like working with Alchemist?
Sean Price: His name is Questlove, that’s his name. Alchemist is now Questlove. If you look on Twitter right now he called his self Questlove [laughs]. You gotta look at this avi picture, it’s fuckin’ retarded. Alchemist is crazy talented. He smokes entirely too much weed and he’s a fuckin’ weirdo, man. But he’s a great guy, that’s my friend. I don’t call these hippity hop niggas friends, so he’s really a friend. It was great working with him. I actually flew down and worked with him so it wasn’t a e-mail a beat type of thing. It was dope. I got two more songs in the stash so look out for part two [laughs].
TRHH: I know you’re a big Mike Tyson fan; did you get the chance to see his Broadway play?
Sean Price: Nah, I was too busy caught up in my shit and the album ain’t about Mike Tyson. I didn’t get to see it but I heard it was great. I love Mike so I wish him the best. He got that Brownsville love from me—unconditional. I love Mike.
TRHH: On the song ‘Bully Rap’ from the new album you say, “I ain’t even vote for Obama,” Do you plan on voting in this election?
Sean Price: You know what, I don’t even believe in that process. But guess what, I hate Mitt Romney so much that I am voting for Obama by default.
TRHH: Why do you hate Mitt Romney?
Sean Price: During the debates he had points but he kept saying, “I have a plan for this,” but he doesn’t really say the plan. So get the fuck outta here, man. Your shit ain’t together so I don’t want you in the office. But realistically I think all them presidents is full of shit—all of them. I’m just being honest. You can vote for whoever, and I live in Brownsville so I keep it real caveman. I’m 40, that means it’s been like ten presidents and every president that we’ve had nothing has trickled down to my hood. You’ve done nothing to make my hood look better. You might have fixed some windows, put up a wheelchair accessible ramp, and made bigger gates but you ain’t fix shit in my hood so fuck ‘em all!
TRHH: They’re arguing about foreign policy and abortion. They’re arguing about issues that really don’t trickle down.
Sean Price: Abortion is abortion. Maybe you should have more protected sex? But if you get raped and get pregnant why would you keep that kid? I believe you should make your own choice–you’re human. That’s for you and God to deal with afterwards.
TRHH: Right, but Mitt Romney wants to make that illegal.
Sean Price: Again, I hate Mitt Romney so much I’m voting for Obama by default [laughs].
TRHH: Lupe Fiasco, who is also a Muslim brother, came out and said he doesn’t believe in the voting process either. Do you think that’s a dangerous message to send to people?
Sean Price: Forget the message. He said the same thing I said. No matter who you vote for I don’t see…. Chicago is fucked up. I don’t think no president is going to get that better. I have that issue. That’s why I say I’m going to vote. It don’t mean shit but people always say if you don’t vote don’t say nothing. So I’m going to vote and still talk my bullshit. Peace to the brother Fiasco.
TRHH: You said Chicago is fucked up. I live here, and it is…
Sean Price: It is. Newspapers always show the worst side but I’ve talked to people I know in Chicago and they’re like, yeah son it’s crazy out here right now. I think it’s my fault.
Sean Price: Because when I was a shorty and I was trying to get wild in the street the old heads would be like, “Shorty get the fuck outta here” and kick me in my ass. Then I started doing shit on my own and they were like, “Alright lil’ nigga, you with it now huh?” When it was my turn and the shorty’s was around I paid them no mind, get the fuck outta here. So it’s my fault. You understand?
TRHH: Yeah, but don’t you think it’s a different era now…
Sean Price: Yeah the era is because of us! The older heads with me tried not to lure me to that. I did it myself. When I was coming up I didn’t pay the little niggas no mind. I didn’t teach ‘em shit, I ain’t show ‘em nothing. I didn’t give a fuck and this is the result of it. I can admit that.
TRHH: It’s definitely crazy…
Sean Price: It is crazy and I hope it gets better, man. It just looks like a motherfucker can’t walk outside in Chicago! That’s how it’s looking.
TRHH: That’s pretty much how it is. What’s funny is the teachers went on strike in August and the kids all stayed in the house. During that time crime went down.
Sean Price: This shit is crazy, man. I just hope it gets better. Be it the president, the government, or just real OG’s from every hood putting their foot down like, “Enough of this bullshit.” I don’t know what it’s going to take. Whatever I can do to help don’t hesitate to call. I don’t know if I could, but if I can help just let me know what I could do. I just want it to be right. I got kids, too. I don’t want my kids walking around in crazy shit, be it Chicago or Brooklyn. It’s crazy in New York too, but it’s crazier in Chicago.
TRHH: Did you see the video of the bus driver in Cleveland upper cutting the unruly female passenger?
Sean Price: Yes, yes.
TRHH: What’s your opinion on that? Some people are saying he was wrong, some people are saying she had it coming.
Sean Price: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I was raised not to hit a woman. But I will say this, no human being is above an ass whoopin’. You feel me? Nobody is exempt for getting their ass whooped. There it is. I’m pretty sure that man grew up with the same morals as me not to hit a woman. But you can’t just be running up yappin’ and threatening me. You’re taking the position of a man right now, stay a woman.
TRHH: I know a lot of people who love you as a lyricist, but your name doesn’t come up when people have their top 10 emcees list. Do you think you get the recognition you deserve as an emcee?
Sean Price: How ‘bout I don’t even give a shit and that’s the truth [laughs]. I can show you better than I can tell you. I don’t give a shit. I’m happy my G. I have a great wife, I have great kids, nobody is starving, and nobody is broke. Bills are paid, I’m happy bro, truly. That’s all I can ask for so all that other extra hippity hop shit I don’t give a fuck about. I honestly don’t.
TRHH: Three years ago around this time I interviewed you and you said you might be done with rap after Random Axe and Mic Tyson dropped. Are you still feeling that way?
Sean Price: I would be an idiot to say I quit and the mind starts putting together these ill wordplay shits in my brain. I’ve talked to Dru Ha and we’re just trying to figure out a new way to put records out. All this wait three years [sings Superman theme], new records out shit is corny. We’re going to figure out some new shit but I’m definitely going to make more music.
TRHH: Would you like to put out an album every year?
Sean Price: This time it took me this long because life got in the way. I had to get things in proper perspective. My whole thing was music, get high, and whatever else. Now I got my shit in order. I got God first, family, and then this hippity hop shit. Once I got that in order everything fell into place and I feel great, man.
TRHH: Earlier you mentioned that you were 40. I discussed this with a lot of people; there is a segment of rap fans that believe that 40 is too old to be rapping. For me, all my favorite rappers are 40. Everybody who I’ll go out and buy their shit is 40 and up like Nas, Common, Jay-Z, Eminem, and you. There is a perception that that’s old.
Sean Price: Right, to each his own. If that’s what you feel then that’s what you feel. But guess what, I’ll take on any challengers. You know when that old shit hits home? When your rhymes ain’t poppin’, period. You can say what you want about age but I keep in respectable shape, I can fight my ass off, and I can rhyme my ass off. So I’m taking on any and all challengers, period! I can show you better than I can tell you. I got bars so if a youngin’ think they can rhyme better than me because of age you’re going to catch a bad decision. Now if you rhyme better than me because your skills is up then that’s what it is. You’re not going to say you rhyme better than me based on age. That’s just retarded. Any rapper that thinks that is a fuckin’ idiot, straight up!
TRHH: I listened to the album and you spit some shit on there. I’m interested to know what your writing process is like.
Sean Price: Real caveman shit. I hear the beat and I rap to it. Word to mother, the beat tell me what to do. Real simple, simple as that.
TRHH: Does it take you a long time to write a song?
Sean Price: Nah, if it takes too long I scrap it. That means I’m forcing something. Get that shit outta here.
TRHH: So you never write before you hear the beat?
Sean Price: I write some rhymes. Sometimes I get ideas and jot ‘em down but for the most part I let the beat play and start jotting down. About two hours later the whole song is done.
TRHH: You must have a lot of records just waiting to go?
Sean Price: I got two clips full. Besides this one clip that I just put out I got two more clips so I’m ready to shoot when necessary.
TRHH: What do you hope to accomplish with Mic Tyson?
Sean Price: I just hope people enjoy it and purchase it. I do the album thing, going around promoting it, touring, making some money to feed my family and we move on to the next project. Not too much, the normal shit.
TRHH: And what’s the next project?
Sean Price: Stay tuned [laughs]. I actually learned from Mic Tyson to shut the fuck up sometimes. I got scared at one time. It’s been so long between albums and I kept saying “Mic Tyson” that the anticipation might lead to a big letdown. You’re waiting for this [sings Superman theme] and it ain’t all that. Like Detox, you talk so much about it that we’re expecting something crazy and it might not be that. It still might be a good album though but we’re holding it up to this almost God-like status. So I learned to shut the fuck up a little bit so that’s what Im’ma do.
Purchase the Sean Price solo discography: