Whether on his own, or one half of the legendary 90s NYC rap crew Heltah Skeltah, recently deceased rapper Sean Price was always one of the grimiest, obscene and aggressive rappers in the game. But there was also a sense of humility and depreciation, especially durig the second half of his career. On “Hearing Aid” from his standout solo album Jesus Price Superstar , he quipped that he’s a “broke rapper that’ll spit for a G,” and provides a quick auto-biography: “I started, out broke but then I made a little change/ And blew it all my money on a damn dice game.” And, in terms of old-school rappers who were long written off before making an unexpected comeback, he resembles MF DOOM. But as where DOOM trades off an esoteric persona and dense, nearly inscrutable lyrics, Price is the approachable, nice-unless-your-not perennial underdog.
I met him a couple of times during various Duck Down events. He was always very nice and quite twisted. Once at SXSW, when I was working for Rhapsody, we shooting an “On the Record” video series where we asked various musicians to discuss their favorite albums in 45 seconds, with a timer displaying on the side of the screen. Most musicians wanted to go over, and we had a buzzer that we would press, which would frequently startle them (I once almost got shot backstage at a Wu Tang concert when said buzzer accidentally went off during a tense moment at 3am). But Price picked Redman’s Muddy Waters as his album, and he only talked about it for 25 seconds. I told him that he had about twenty more seconds to go. He added a couple of things and then just out on his mean mug and silently stared at the camera. You can watch it here.