RIP Sean Price

Special Guest Editorial by Steve Howze @Stevehowze

Priceless, a.k.a. That Time I rapped at Sean Price on Twitter.

I first started listening to Sean Price around 2007, not counting his appearance on the Grand Theft Auto III soundtrack. Aside from the couple classes in community college and a part time gig at a supermarket, I had a lot of free time that I was filling that time mostly with Xbox 360 and the internet; more specifically hip hop blogs and websites. This was the post-Food and Liquor/ Saigon’s next/Fuck Soulja Boy rap forums. Lyrics were the Alpha and Omega. It was in this climate that I discovered Sean Price. Aggressive and funny. Kufi Slapper Meets Slapstick.

Sean Price was the kind of person you want to see win, even if the way they articulate frustration is part of what makes them so endearing. He even insulted his own fans citing the unspoken truth, that fans are, by nature, fickle. His oft cited self description of “Brokest Rapper You Know” is self-deprecating and, at the same time, as terribly irresistible as clickbait. I had only been on Twitter for 3 months in 2011, when we first interacted. He was trashing the Knicks (a timeless pastime), to his Heltah Skeltah brethren Rock with a nicely placed Reservoir Dogs reference. I threw in my little joke/comment, which he tweeted Rock, sans my name. What transpired was an odd exchange, to say the least. About a year later, I fired off a couple tweet raps in my best P voice, and thought it wise to @ him, for some reason. Instead of blocking me, he actually complimented me. What struck me about these interactions is that P could’ve righteously ignored me or blasted me for fuck boy-like actions, at (internet) worst. But he didn’t.

Eventually, I slowed down my consumption of music. Some artists loss some burn, even though there was always the respect. Somewhere between Kimbo Price: The Prelude to Mic Tyson in ‘09 and the eventual release of said album, there was a new crop of rappers that had arose as there always are. Like basketball, there’s only so many minutes for everybody. In fact, by the time P’s final LP Mic Tyson came out – after multiple delays-, it was released October 30, 2012, only 8 days after a culture shifting release in Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, M.A.A.D. City. But I checked every now and again, when he dropped something or was featured on another artist’s track. Because I knew there’d be some quality bars on the other side of that ► button and there was a good chance no matter who was on it, Sean would take it. I didn’t need to hear him all the time, he already had a jersey in the Brooklyn rafters.

And here we are as of Saturday morning, only left with what jerseys honor, memories of the work, talent, and greatness of a competitor. Sean Price survived in at least 2 ½ generations of NY rap, mid 90’s Timbs and Army Jackets, and post 50 Cent mid-to-late aughts. Price could even been seen as a progenitor of the Brooklyn based Beast Coast movement of the 2010’s with his tongue-in-cheek griminess, emphasis on bars over melodies, and loyal internet following. And even with how great it will be for the next generation of college kids to find his work retroactively, we were all lucky to watch Megatron Sean ►.

Sean Price Mural

Sean Price mural in Brooklyn by artist MeresOne, located at the intersection of Bergen Street and Kingston Avenue in the Crown Heights neighborhood.

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