Reviewing a Sean Price album is an ungrateful task. When you describe his work it might come across as monotonous to those who aren’t familiar with it, and those who are familiar with it know exactly what to expect and usually only want to know if those expectations are met again. The latter category can rest assured; it sure does.
A fitting description of Sean Price is given by the man himself in the track “Frankenberry:” “I’m actually one of the rappers that really can rap” — something that’s hard to deny. The dark humor consistently hits, and even punchlines that would sound mediocre coming from another rapper (“I sell dope to yo mama / And I didn’t even vote for Obama”) become knockout punches when they’re spoken in the deep, justifiedly confident voice of Sean P. It makes him somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophet: he’s so confident in saying he’s a great rapper that it makes his raps sound great, which in turn makes him a great rapper.
On top of that, his timing is flawless and ensures that even in slower verses every threat sounds believably menacing.
The beats don’t call for overwrought descriptions: they’re all from the same school of hard-knocking boom bap and every producer delivers a highly predictable but nonetheless succesful contribution. A glance at the production credits basically tells you all you need to know. Amp even stays so close to the late ’90s idiom that his production on “Pyrex” sounds like a straight riff on DJ Premier. Alchemist — who produced several of the beats on the album — stands out positively, and the bombastic production Eric G delivers for “Solomon Grundy” (featuring a stellar performance by Ill Bill) is one that won’t be forgotten easily too.
Lyrically the album is similarly unambiguous: If Sean Price isn’t bragging, he’s threatening, unless both elements combine into a boastful threat. Concept tracks are not in his field of interest and everything on the album is rough and rugged.
So there are no surprises whatsoever, which is not a problem at all. These are exactly the types of tracks P excels at and even though any form of variation won’t even be found by Sherlock Holmes using a search light and a troupe of police dogs, there’s not a single weak moment among the tracks either. It’s the type of album perfectly fit for a rainy fall/winter day, where you move both your hoodie and the volume on your headphones up. Fuck that happy shit.
When Sean Price finishes “The Hardest Nigga Out” with the words “See you in Hell” it’s not hard to imagine him there; broadly smiling, Timberlands on his feet, holding a blood-spattered mic like Conan holds his sword, roasting a hipster-rapper over a campfire of skinny jeans. He slowly bends over towards the poor, unsuspecting soul who dared to rap about some “cute” shit and has one last comment for the young metrosexual rapper who’s beyond crying by now: “I make your mom suck my dick with barbecue sauce.” P!