Sean Price is an emceeâ€™s emcee. Charismatic and self-deprecating, hilarious yet solemn, he possesses the type of character that English professors work into their course syllabi. Since his first outing as Ruck (one half of Heltah Skeltah – his partner being Rock) in 1995 on Smif-N-Wessunâ€™s Dah Shininâ€™, heâ€™s lent himself to virtually every track heâ€™s touched, even the ones found in those grim years preceding 2005â€™s rebirth album, Monkey Barz.
A veteran of the Boot Camp Clik, Price has collaborated with everyone from Detroitâ€™s Guilty Simpson, to Germanyâ€™s Snowgoons, garnering cult status and critical acclaim in the process. Format caught up with Decepticon Sean in Las Vegas just minutes before he took the stage, to chat about albums, mixtapes, exclusive kicks, and, believe it or not, parenting.
â€œIf you canâ€™t make fun of yourself, you canâ€™t make fun of nobody elseâ€¦and I make fun of other artists all the time.â€
Format: What brings you out to Las Vegas?
Sean Price: We at the Magic Convention; Iâ€™m performing later. I thought David Blaine would be out here, but itâ€™s about clothes! I ainâ€™t seen one magician out here yet. It fucked me up.
Format: Incredible. Letâ€™s talk about the new Heltah Skeltah album: D.I.R.T. Itâ€™s been almost a full ten years since the last release. How do you feel the project has evolved since then, and what will we be looking forward to?
Sean Price: I donâ€™t think itâ€™s evolved at all; we fuckinâ€™ cavemen. [Laughs.] The rhymes and beats have evolved a little bit, but weâ€™re doing what we been doing.
Format: Youâ€™ve been pumping out those Passion of the Price mixtapes pretty regularly. Do you have any new solo works on the horizon?
Sean Price: Yeah, I got an album called Mic Tyson, but I ainâ€™t even work on that shit man, Iâ€™m not gonna lie to you. Iâ€™ve been putting the finishing touches on the new Heltah Skeltah album, and then Iâ€™ve got this new project with Black Milk and Guilty Simpson. Weâ€™re about eleven tracks deep on that one; big up Black Milk and Guilty Simpson for that. I just did a track with Black Milk and Pharaohe Monch for his album too, so look out for that.
Format: When it comes to production and rhyming, you definitely have an ear for beats. What do you look for in an instrumental?
Sean Price: Goose bumps. If the beat donâ€™t give me goose bumps, I donâ€™t want nothinâ€™ to do with it.
Format: For those just joining us, can you explain the difference between Sean Price and your old alias, Ruck?
Sean Price: Sean Price is a man; Ruck was a wild boy. Sean Price has a family, he takes care of his family. He has a wife, he comes home to his wife every night. Ruck is the opposite of all that shit.
Format: Youâ€™re pretty open about your Decepticon affiliation. How has running with those guys affected your life and your music?
Sean Price: Being a Decept, well, it was cruel. You had cruel friends. You did things back in the day, some good things, some bad things. Mostly bad things, but it is what it is.
It shaped me, you know? It taught me not to take shit from nobody. We [Decepticons] are organized but unorganized, just like the Boot Camp Clik. Actually, a lot of the BCC are Decept: Steele, Tek, Rock, Smif -N-Wessun.
Format: Your records are heavily influenced by real life situations: selling two-ways and pills in lieu of a rap career, for instance. Are there any other contributing factors that people might not know about?
Sean Price: Yeah, that Iâ€™ve got tons of useless information [laughs]. It all makes sense when I write a rhyme, though.
Format: Your solo efforts touch on personal imperfections. Why do you feel this makes for good writing material?
Sean Price: People like the truth. Me, I ainâ€™t hardcore, I can make fun of myself. Iâ€™ve fucked up before; Iâ€™m human. If you canâ€™t make fun of yourself, you canâ€™t make fun of nobody elseâ€¦and I make fun of other artists all the time.
Format: Are you content to fly below the radar, in terms of publicity?
Sean Price: Well, Iâ€™d like more exposure, but like I said before Iâ€™m at the Magic Convention, so it ainâ€™t like Iâ€™m invisible. Iâ€™m not mad though; before Monkey Barz, I was damn near invisible.
Format: Can you speak a bit on the topic of fatherhood?
Sean Price: Oh I donâ€™t know if I can. Fuck it, Iâ€™m gonna keep it real. Iâ€™m a good father, but I hate being a parent. Parenthood is wack, and I should have worn a condom [laughs]. You can quote me on that. I donâ€™t like other kids. I love my kids, but when their cousins be coming over, man, Iâ€™m throwing them all out.