Sean Price is a "your favorite rapper's favorite rapper" type of artist. Originating from the duo Heltah Skeltah (where he is known as "Ruck"), part of the loosely-knit supergroup Boot Camp Clik, Sean Price has stamped his name in the annals of hip-hop history as one of the most vicious punchline rappers to ever grab a mic.
In 1996, Sean P teamed up with his partner-in-crime Rock to create Heltah Skeltah's first album, the classic Nocturnal (which will certainly be reviewed at some point on this site). Although it did not sell incredibly well (and honestly, does anyone who actually likes real hip-hop really care about record sales?), it was critically acclaimed for its dark and grimy production by Da Beatminerz and skillful, effortless lyricism by Ruck and Rock. Thus, Sean Price was born.
Fast forward nine years later to 2005, and P released his debut solo album Monkey Barz (which, like Nocturnal, will also be reviewed), regarded by many as one of the best rap albums of the decade. Two years later, he dropped Jesus Price Supastar, and that brings us to the review:
I generally don't care too much for album intros, as most of the time, it is a rapper simply talking (not rapping; talking) over a boring beat. This is not the case on the intro to Jesus Price Supastar, as P.F. Cuttin supplies P with a thumping instrumental, and Sean absolutely laces it.
2. Like You10 For The Triad is on the boards here, and he puts down a solid beat that P does work with. I particularly like the repetitive and catchy hook, and of course, Sean P's verses are sick: "Go, line for line, rhyme for rhyme, ten paces turn around shoot nine for nine, you can tell by the rhyme it's my time to shine, let's eat, motherfucker I don't dine on swine."
3. P-BodyProduced by 9th Wonder, "P-Body" may not exactly sound like a trademark 9th production, but nevertheless, it bangs. Rock stops by to spit the hook as Sean Price puts together one of his best lyrical performances on Jesus Price Supastar. "Supposed to, lie to the cops and tell the truth in the booth instead you tell the truth to the cops and lie in the booth." *insert P! adlib here*
4. CardiacIllmind drops a fast-paced banger here, and Buckshot and Ruste Juxx jump in to drop verses while Flood (who sounds like he could be Tony Yayo's identical twin brother) raps the infectious hook. P is spitting, as usual: "The first verse is the worst, like why the fuck they call you Jesus Price, nigga? And you curse in church." Buckshot also spits flames: "Ill reflections are protecting ya face, bitches tucking in they necklace when I step in the place." Ruste Juxx, who I maintain is one of the most overlooked artists out there, unfortunately doesn't rap anything worth remembering.
5. StopThis is the first of many Khrysis beats on the album, and being that Khrysis is my favorite producer not named Hi-Tek, I was salivating all over this one before I even listened. That said, this isn't one of Khrysis' better productions, and Sean Price's rhyme scheme is a little awkward and unorthodox here. This is not one of the better cuts on the record. That's not to say it's bad, because it isn't, but it's not up to par with the rest of Jesus Price Supastar.
6. ViolentThe second of four 9th Wonder beats on the album, "Violent" is smooth to the point where it's almost disturbing, and Sean Price does his usual thing where he puts together phrases that would normally make absolutely no sense but, for some reason, are perfectly coherent thoughts to his listeners: "Timberland boots I got stomp out your grill, Sean Price, the nicest nigga in Brownsville, word bond, y'all niggaz can't rap worth a damn, the nine burst blam and earthslam your fam."
7. Da God"Da God" is another 10 For The Triad track, and although it's simplistic, it's a strong record. Buckshot spits the chorus and Sadat X stops by to rap a verse, but it's Sean P that gets the listener's attention: "Don't try to get deep with the god, don't try to conversate 'n hold hands down the street with the god." Only one thing about those two bars (and this song in general) bothers me: how many times are people going to use "conversate" in a sentence until they realize it isn't a word? That said, who am I to question Sean Price?
8. Oops Upside Your HeadIf you hadn't already noticed, I'm a huge Sean Price fan, but I have to be painfully honest here: this song is terrible. The beat does nothing for me, and P sounds very out of his element, as does Steele of Smif-N-Wessun who drops in.
9. ChurchThis must be the part of the album where Sean Price just said, "You know what, I don't care about tracks eight or nine; just throw whatever on there," because "Church" isn't any better than "Oops Upside Your Head." Interestingly enough, too, the hook on "Church" actually includes the phrase "oops upside your head." I'm not even gonna ask.
10. King KongPhew. Just when it looked like Jesus Price Supastar was taking a horribly bad turn for the worse, Khrysis saves the day with "King Kong." The beat BANGS, Rock drops a sick hook, and Sean P is at his best: "If ya, knock on my door I'm cockin the four, free to escape from the law like Assata Shakur, for a dime a tack you can put your cock in a whore, kinda worse when you rockin on tour, listen." Now we're back on track.
11. OneAnd Khrysis delivers yet again. The only beef that I have with "One" is that it's too short, clocking in at one minute and fifty-two seconds. That aside, Sean Price eats this sick beat alive: "Listen, Sean Price the name, you kinda nice but we not the same, so I copped the Range, then I copped the chain, now the cops in range." Definitely one of the album's strongest tracks.
12. You Already KnowBack to 9th Wonder, who helps create the best song on the album. "You Already Know" features Skyzoo, who drops one of the illest hooks I have ever heard here. There isn't much to it, but Skyzoo's voice and delivery make you want to rewind the hook again and again. Unfortunately, "Big 'Zoo," as Sean P calls him, doesn't have a verse, but no matter, as P just kills this: "Yo it's my time to shine, you had your turn you lost, hate to hear the truth then turn the shit off, motherfucker."
13. Directors CutWhat's with the under-two-minute beats by Khrysis? "Director's Cut" spans one minute and twenty seconds, and while the instrumental is hot, it sounds a little too familiar to "Violent" for my liking. There really isn't much else to say about this one.
14. Let It Be KnownThis is the final 9th Wonder beat, and it's easily the weakest of the four tracks he produced on the album. Phonte makes an appearance here, but the production is just too dull for him to shine (I will admit that the kick drums are nice, though).
15. Hearing Aid"Hearing Aid" wraps up Khrysis' production on Jesus Price Supastar, and Khrysis goes out with a bang, as this track knocks. Chaundon, one of my favorite MCs, joins Sean Price and spits some impressive bars: "People, listen I'm a nasty muh'fucker, stickin dick to a broad same age as your mother." Fortunately, it looks like the album is finishing on a good note.
16. Mess You MadeThis sounds like a 9th Wonder beat, but it isn't. A producer by the name of Masse laid out this instrumental for P, and it's definitely worth receiving significant rotation on your iPod. Sean Price re-adopts his "brokest rapper you know" persona here: "My man said he heard me on Mister Cee, yeah that's cool but it don't equal chips to P, the brokest rapper you know sell crack after the show, with a fo'-fo' that'll blow back half your fro." Great way to end the album.
While Jesus Price Supastar may not match the unquestioned ferocity and hard-hitting nature of Monkey Barz, it is still an outstanding album worth adding to your collection. Sean Price reaffirms the fact that he is one of the best MCs doing it, as he rips nearly every beat on this record to shreds. It also helps that he is backed by The Justus League, home to one of the best production teams in the business (consisting of 9th Wonder, Khrysis, and Illmind).
There is one thing that irks me about each of Sean Price's first two albums, though, and it is that Da Beatminerz, who orchestrated Nocturnal and the good majority of the Boot Camp Clik's most classic albums, are absent from both of them. I'm not complaining about the production in general, because I believe that the production on Monkey Barz was essentially flawless and that it followed a similar trend (although not on the same level) on Jesus Price Supastar, but it's just not the same without Baby Paul, DJ Evil Dee, and Mr. Walt on the boards.
That one issue aside, Jesus Price Supastar is an incredible album overall and is certainly deserving of your purchase (please buy this rather than rip it, as rappers like Sean P deserve your money).
TOP FIVE TRACKS:
1. You Already Know
2. King Kong
5. Like You
Oops Upside Your Head