Sean Price, 3/17/1972 – 8/8/2015
That’s how long the great Sean Price has been gone. It took me a long time to come to grips with that. For months after he passed I just pretended he was overseas on tour & that was the reason I wasn’t talking to him. I just sorta ignored the fact that he wasn’t sending me any fucked up emails or saying any slick shit to me on social media. Sometimes I’ll say something about him on Twitter & his wife Bernadette ( who has access to his social media ) will retweet it from his account. Seeing “Gray Hulk Retweeted your Tweet” & the “@SeanPrice” handle always makes me grin.
I miss that guy.
He was a crazy muthafucka. Ruck kept you laughing, he was funny as fuck. He was “Eddie Murphy in the 80’s” funny. He could get mad pretty quick tho. 0 to 1000 in .02 seconds. That would be funny too. People that didn’t know him would be shook, & that would make the shit even funnier. When Ruck passed I did a three part tribute to him on All Hip Hop, detailed how we met & told a few stories. On this day, the first anniversary of his death, I was gonna post a sappy letter to him, just telling him what’s been going on & that we miss him, blah blah. Fuck that. I realized that shit would be more about me & some other folks ya’ll could give less than a fuck about. So I figured if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, I’ll tell another quick Sean Price story. I told this story before on Instagram but it was the Readers Digest abridged version. This is the whole shit. I’ll call this one, “CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT MURDER ON THE AUTOBAHN” or “DOG, YOU’RE TRIPPING”.
This shit is extra stupid, but it shows how Ruck could be furious & still hilarious at the same time.
It was 2007, the THREE THE HARD WAY tour, featuring Sean Price, Guilty Simpson, & Black Milk, pre-Random Axe. We were some-fucking-where in Germany & we had an early lobby call so we could head to the next city. It was about 6 or 7 am when everybody started to come down to the lobby, dragging their bags & their feet. I was already down there with our tour manager, Nils, this young German dude. I was sprawled on a chair, still drunk from the show the night before. We got up, went outside to the parking lot & started throwing luggage in the rear of the van. After Black’s slow-ass came straggling to the vehicle we were ready to go. Nils was driving, I was in the passenger seat, Ruck & Rustee Juxx ( Ruck’s ‘hypeman’ ) were directly behind me with Guilty & Black Milk having the last two rows of seats to themselves. I popped in our advance bootleg copy of JayZ’s “American Gangster” CD & we were off. Everybody was lethargic, but after a while everyone started waking up a little & talking shit as usual. This was 07 so somebody said “PAUSE” in the middle or at the end of every sentence. We ‘PAUSED’ the shit out of each other constantly. It was like a spoken punctuation. You know what “PAUSE” is right? It’s used as a disclaimer when someone unwittingly says something that can be construed as homoerotic shit. Like if somebody says, “NAW, I AINT HIP TO THAT. FILL ME IN” or “DUMARS USE TO BE ALL OVER JORDAN. HIS ‘D’ WAS RIDICULOUS”. That type of shit would get a “PAUSE”.
I know. Juvenile as fuck. This is the type of environment this debacle takes place in. First you gotta understand that English isn’t Nils first language & he doesn’t really understand all the nuances of it. He kind of just mimicked or repeated what we said without fully grasping what we meant. Ok, the scene is set. We were talking shit & Ruck said something benign like “I’M HUNGRY”.
Nils jumped on it.
This was his chance.
“PAWS!”, he yelled.
He looked around at everyone in the van, kind of looking for approval. We got sort of quiet. We weren’t trying to be rude to Nils but to make that statement pauseworthy was a reach. Suddenly Ruck leaned forward from the seat behind me. “Yo son, can u drive this van?” I looked over at the driver seat, looked at the steering wheel, shift selector, pedals, etc. It was a normal set up. I didn’t know what Ruck had in mind but sure, I could drive the van. “Yup”, I replied, curious as to why he asked me that. “Good”, he said. “I’m gonna kill this n***a Nils, & we’re gonna dump his body on the side of the road. You can drive us to the next venue.” Nils was white as a ghost. I kinda looked at Nils & shrugged. Then I turned around & looked at Ruck, searching his face for a hint of a smile or something that would tell me he was bullshitting. There was none. I realized that Sean Price was serious as fuck.
“Dog, you’re tripping.” I said. I mean, first of all we were in fucking Germany, I had no idea where we were going. Plus we were on the fucking Autobahn & cars were going past us at 200 fucking miles per hour. Oh yeah, & we aren’t gonna fucking kill Nils. I cited all of these reasons to Ruck as to why his plan was a bad fucking idea. He finally relented but he growled at Nils,”YOU BETTER SHUT THE FUCK UP!” Nils lived but he used minimal words the rest of the tour, especially around Sean Price. I think he loosened up later in the run but he didn’t get that fucking loose again. Ruck damn near rendered that man a mute.
Only Sean P could make a murder plot funny as fuck. ( Funny in retrospect only, because this shit wasn’t that funny when it was happening. )
I really love & miss that dude.
No “PAWS” needed.
ironsidehex was formerly known as “HEXMURDA” & was the manager of artists Black Milk, Guilty Simpson, Danny Brown, eLZhi & co-manager of Random Axe until he suffered a stroke in 2009 which left him with impaired speech, one good eye, & wheelchair bound. He also was the executive producer on such lp’s as Black Milk’s “POPULAR DEMAND” & “TRONIC”, elZhi’s “THE PREFACE”, Bishop Lamont X Black Milk’s”CALTROIT” & co-executive producer of Random Axe’s “RANDOM AXE”. He can be heard occasionally on Statik Selektah ‘s ‘SHOWOFF RADIO” on Shade45/Sirius via computer voice & he has a reoccurring editorial column on ALLHIPHOP.COM.
ironsidehex currently resides in Detroit, Michigan.
I can’t believe a year has gone by since you passed. You’d be the first to say time and life move on, don’t dwell in the past, it is what it is, but this one is still hard to accept. I miss our phone calls, your jokes, bad moods, and attitude. You’d be proud of Bern, Shaun and the family. They pump your spirit and energy through their hearts, and represent your legacy and name everywhere they go. Bern specifically has become your voice. It’s amazing to watch her put that work in the studio organizing and arranging all the music you left behind. She’s become confident on that microphone too, delivering your verses with integrity at the numerous tributes in your honor. She has adopted your FOH attitude and bark; quick to bring order to the inevitable nonsense. Because of that, Imperious is on the way soon.
Your friends and fans miss you dearly. They stepped up supporting your mixtape and crowd fund campaign, helping to raise meaningful funds for the fam. I know you’d be against me putting the #’s out there like that, but it’s a testament to the genuine love people held for you. I refrained from speaking on it through the year, but i’m still in awe that Shawn Carter reached out, and single handedly made a 25K donation in your name without seeking commendation. There were so many other notables from Eminem and Shady, but equally impressive the thousands of people who gave something. It demonstrated the utmost respect for you. I want to say thank you to all of them on your behalf. As you often said; the best nation, is DOUGH NATION. LOL
On the business side, we made bobble heads of you, zip drives to archive all of your music, socks, skateboards, hats, shirts, and in addition to the new album(s), we have an impressive commemorative box set on the way for the holidays. While you probably would’ve given us resistance about much of this, i know when you saw the final product, you’d be smiling. Buck launched his sneaker line TRPL if you saw them now, you’d approve. We celebrated Nocturnal’s 20 year anniversary this year, even brought back the glow in the dark logo shirts for the occasion. Rock has been a rock, proudly representing for you, as you would have no doubt he would. At the Smif n Wessun / Mobb show last spring, you pulled me to the side and told me you were glad we were working with Young M.A. She’s literally got the hottest record in NYC right now, it’s remarkable to see.
As for me, you knew i had a baby on the way…. Well he was born 2 & 1/2 months premature on October 30, 2015. He is now thriving. Didn’t name him Jebediah, (or NUHA) as you suggested, in fact until writing this didn’t even bother to look up the name to see where you were coming from. I learned the name was Hebrew and meant friend / beloved of God. We went with Harvin, which you would know was in recognition of my father Harvey; but your suggestion was crafty and appropriate as usual. Amidst all your humor, there was substance. Wish we could share that conversation now, and tell you how happy I am to be a father.
So on this one year anniversary of your passing, I simply miss you too. I remain thankful for all the time and memories we shared.
In Memory of Sean P! #SeanPrice #Ruckus #HusaynSayyid
On Saturday the 8th of August 2015 I got news that a good friend of mine had died. The devastating news came directly from his wife. I had just woke up not to long before that but we immediately got dressed and went to his home.
We were in disbelief, shock, fear and a host of other emotions. When we arrived the police were sitting outside his door and a few very close family members and friends were gathered inside. The grief started to suffocate me as I walked into his apartment straight to his wife who was obviously distraught. All I could do was hug her as tight as I could and tell her I love her.
Normally people say things like “are you alright” or “its gonna be alright” or “be strong”. How can one know its gonna be alright? How could you not know how it feels to lose someone that is extremely close to you be it friend, family or soulmate. How can one be strong in this grievous time?
I was at a loss for words as more people who received the news began to file into the apartment. Not one person could hold back their tears, sobs even screams. No one wanted this to be true. Unfortunately we all had to face this gruesome fact that our beloved friend and brother (Sean Price) was dead. It’s hard for me to even write his name in that context.
I can’t believe Im not going to see my friend anymore. We are not going to be joking on each other or offering each other life advice or debating different opinions. We will not be able to go on tours across the globe to perform together at sold out shows. I won’t get to hear him rock the crowd or chant his famous chant, “When I say Sean, y’all say P….SEAN P! SEAN P!” as the crowd files in line to participate in full cadence. I won’t get to see his wild antics or get to hear him make up those wild anecdotes and crazy phrases. DAMN! I can’t believe it.
It hasn’t fully sunk in. The first few days were crazy. The family and friends immediately went to work to take care of any arrangements that had to be made. Seans’ wife was exceptionally strong under the circumstances. People had to comfort each other because everyone was distraught. This would be no easy task.
There were many people who loved Sean and this scenario was devastating to imagine let alone witness in real time. I have to give credit to a list of people who went into action immediately. I won’t name any names but there were a quite a few. This unity made it a little easier to bear the weight of responsibility of what lies ahead.
The love that people have for our brother Sean Price emits a powerful energy that holds us all together. I felt God had made a choice and no matter how unfair it seemed to us all, this was the only way to make sense of what didn’t make sense at all.
Sean had converted to Islam so he had to be washed properly by his brothers. I had the honor to participate in this sacred body washing ceremony or Ghusl along with Buckshot, Tek, Hemdi, Unicron and the Imam.
He was then taken to the Masjid where they prayed over his body.
(PREPARATION OF THE DECEASED AND JANAZAH PRAYERS)
We later took Sean to the funeral home where he could be viewed by extensive family and friends. There was not a dry face in the area but there was loved ones everywhere. People who I haven’t seen in 5, 10 even 20 years. Many rap artist and producers came out to show respect many whom have worked with Sean directly.
There was a sea of purple everywhere as this is the color that the Decepticons adorn. To see the Decept family, brought a familiar strength through the bond that we shared. You also had a sea of Ralph Lauren gear as this is the Flag that the LoLifes adorn. Many of these brothers are from Brownsville Brooklyn where Sean was raised, so their camaraderie goes way back. In the 80’s Decepts and LoLifes were rivalries so this union showed how powerful an impact Sean Price made on us all.
There were also several members of Seans’ family who drove up from down south. Although it was the ultimate sad occasion It had to be proud for them to witness how many people Sean affected and not just through his incredible rap skills but through people who grew up with him in many different stages of his short life.
After the service many of us went to Kingston Ave where the graffiti artist MeresOne (5Pointz) was doing a mural in memory of Sean. It is was very sad and exhilarating at the same time. I cried as MeresOnes’ painting solidified that my brother was really gone in the physical form but I was comforted by the reality that he lives on through his family his friends his accomplishments and the many unfamiliar faces who came out to stand in the hot sun until the mural was complete.
The following day was the funeral. This was it. This is final. Im not ready for this but I have no choice. We attended a small service at the funeral home then we proceeded to the cemetery. This was extremely tough for people as everyone was asked to take a shovel and put dirt into the grave 3 times. Many people were not familiar with this process and were noticeably disturbed as they committed to the reality that was now severely obvious. Others couldn’t bring themselves to do it because they viewed it as “throwing dirt on thy brother”.
The burial ceremony was also highlighted by the Islamic prayer that was given by Buckshot which he did completely in Arabic. It was mind blowing for many to witness because they didn’t know Buck could speak fluent Arabic. Even friends and family alike that knew this fact was in awe. Buckshot and Tek were in full Islamic garb (Jalabiya) in honor of the faith and our brother Sean. In the Islamic faith it is important to give all muslims the proper burial ceremony and these brothers did a great job.
The entire ceremony had to be done immediately according to the Islamic faith.
Its now nine days later and I am still in a bit of denial. I had to unplug from social media. My twitter was crazy and people were posting thousands of images on Instagram and Facebook. Artist were painting murals in honor of Sean Price all across the globe in places like Italy, Germany and Australia just to name a few. I was in denial and I didn’t want to reply to texts, tweets or even phone calls. I wasn’t prepared to do any interviews, go on live radio or answer any questions regarding this issue. I didn’t want to hear any rap music talk about anything rap related and I definitely wasn’t ready to perform at any shows. It was too much for me so I decided to write this hoping to possibly bring closure to a major chapter in this Book of Life.
As the saga continues I strive everyday to keep going. The death of Sean has brought many of us closer and it also made many of us evaluate our health and our lifestyles. One friend came to me after the viewing with tears in his eyes he wanted to ask me a favor. He said “Steele no disrespect but I need you to stop drinking”. “I love you and I can’t do another one of these …”
Tears rolled down my face I hugged my friend and I said “No disrespect at all, I appreciate you for that. I love you brother. Thank You”.
As artist we live crazy lifestyles day to day. I pray Allah (Swt) gives me the strength to change the things I can and to accept the things I cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference.
I plan on making some changes in my life Inshallah starting NOW one day at a time.
Maybe this energy will affect us all in a way where we start to value every second of our God given life.
God Bless All of you.
Yo SEAN P I LOVE YOU SLUM! THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING!
While this is an extremely difficult time and I have an empty feeling that won’t go away, it was actually a little easier for me to get dressed today. I didn’t have to worry about my shoe game being on point. See, Sean was an avid sneaker collector and connoisseur, and as quick as he’d throw a gratifying compliment to you if you were wearing a pair he admired, he’d have an entire room in an uproar if he were clowning you for wearing the wrong pair, “What the eff are those”?! .
I called Sean last Wednesday, he picked up the phone, and he basically cursed me out… but that was nothing out of the ordinary, he could be cantankerous and grumpy, especially when we were gearing up to promote a new project. I called him an ogre. For the 22 plus years I had the honor to know him, when I called the house Sean answered the phone with either; “What the F you want”, “What did I do?”; or Joe’s Pizza. From his answer, it was code for how much we’d get accomplished on that call.
When in a good mood, Sean was enjoyable to talk to on the phone. He was direct and to the point, not a lot of extra talk, ray ray ki ki bo bo as he called it. He’d play me new verses recorded fresh out of PF’s studio, talk sports and TV shows, and would amuse himself making me awkwardly uncomfortable by asking me what’s todays math?
We go so far back, I remember he had his fun with the beepers too. In a late night nocturnal studio session at D&D he would sneak off and page my beeper with a popular rappers number and watch me call them back. Some how I’d end up on a call with the likes of a Jeru the Damaja, asking him what he wants, and him asking the same of me; both equally confused on how we connected, Sean in the studio cracking up.
The practical jokes at my expense didn’t end there, and I adored them. They were personalized and imaginative. He never made you feel bullied or humiliated (unless you had fur on your shoes) it was always something we could laugh at together after the pranks unfolded. In early Heltah Skeltah interviews, when he became predictably bored with the questions, and I had still had a flickering rap career from my verse on Black Moon’s “U Da Man”, straight faced, he told various reporters that I was recording an album with Bon Jovi. Later when I stopped traveling on the road with Sean, whenever he found himself in Baltimore he would tell the audience in the middle of his set that I wasn’t there because I watched the Wire and I was too scared. In present internet days, there’d be times with no warning, where he might go on a twitter rampage encouraging people to send me their demos and beats. My timeline and email would fill up. That was Sean with his mischievous and appropriately inappropriate sense of humor. He made us laugh till Tek had water in his eyes and all of our stomachs hurt.
Sean loved Hip Hop, specifically “hardcore rap and Mary J Blige records”…. He appreciated a wide range of artists, but he actually liked his music the most. “Sean Carter is nice but Sean Price is the best” he proclaimed. (And we would learn last night that Jay Z’s respect for Sean was mutual as we learned via DJ Premier that Jay reached out to us to send his personal condolences and make a very generous donation to Sean’s fund.)
Sean was a lyrical warrior, a savage competitor, a true Bar Barbarian. “I’m the nicest rapper out duke Eff what he said”… He took pride in his writing, was self aware of his skill, and had no lack of confidence. It’s that type of tenacity that you want to see in your power forward, his position in the Fab 5, and he had no reservations complementing himself; when we spoke, often saying – “Cheeze I’m Nice, I can rhyme a little bit.” We agreed he was nice, we said it thousands of times, but he made the MC’s he kept company with better too. On a given track, much like a great basketball player he challenged Artists to step up, always leading by example… “Sean Sparks like Jon Starks in the 4th Quarter”… I thought the senior editor from Wired, named Peter Rubin summed up Sean’s DNA as an MC best when he wrote: “What Sean Price did was write bars. Thousands and thousands of them, each an exercise in menacing literality. But his ice grill was deadpan; every threat was tinged with a laugh, and you could always hear the smile lurking behind the serious.
In the past week there’s been a tremendous flurry of media attention. Tributes given from long time supporters of Sean on Sirius radio from Scram Jones, DJ Eclipse & Premier, Statik Selektah, on specialty shows from Rosenberg, Combat Jack, Premium Pete and Dallas Penn, but other less likely, and bigger national media outlets which didn’t cover him in the past, have picked up on this part of Sean’s story. From a special by FunkMaster Flex on Hot 97, to landing on the cover of both The NY Post and Daily News where Sean would have surely appreciated being pictured next to Donald Trump, to even TMZ reporting. It’s rewarding to see him receive the recognition but at the same time frustrating. I found myself asking, why do so many talented Artists have to die to be relished, properly acknowledged? In conversation if I complained about something like this to Sean; and I would have, his most likely reply would be, “Cheeze if you can’t be used your useless”. “At the end of the day, it’s nighttime.”
Ask him about the changing of the guard in rap music, or his thoughts on what the current state of Hip Hop is today, and his answer would be “Nebraska”. Random answers complemented the random bars that commanded our attention, we craved to know what he would say or do next? Random Axe. He developed a close relationship with Hex and Black Milk and pushed Black for the right beats. He genuinely admired Guilty Simpson as an MC, one of the few that he would introduce me to including his brother Illa Noyz, Rusete Juxx, the late great Flood, Roc Marciano, Illaghee and Da Villans. These MC’s made him smile when he listened to their verses. He didn’t seek out big name feature artists to help sell his albums and didn’t allow us to do it for him either.
But at the heart, he played for one team throughout his career. He declared “I’m Boot Camp 4 Life” and no matter how turbulent times could become, he never waivered. He knew that his BCC kin loved him unconditionally, accepted his irrational ways, and most importantly that they could rhyme on his playing field. He always insisted that Rock was the better MC in Da Incredible Rap team of Heltah Skeltah, and told me on more than one occasion that coming up through the game, Steele was his favorite MC. Buck was a mentor and trusted confidant. We never had to ask, he proudly wore the Duck Down uniform, hats, shirts, hoodies, jackets, whatever, he carried our flag with him. Most importantly it seemed to him, he represented for Brooklyn, but more specifically for Brownsville, reminding us that “the sills been acquired since living in Tilden.”
Sean didn’t care much for industry events and politics, for that matter… In 2011, At a Rock The Bells press conference panel loaded with top tier Hip Hop talent, a reporter asked Sean who he was most looking forward to seeing, he replied “Nobody”, I’ll be in my dressing room smoking some trees until it’s my turn”. On Twitter and Instagram while many of his peers focused on accumulating followers, Sean countered by leading the social networks in blocks. Say something he remotely didn’t like, and you were banished. Some fans wore it as a badge of honor, proud that they were blocked by Sean Price.
At summer jam where he and I judged a battle on Hot 97’s festival stage for many, many years, he never did it for the exposure. He did it for the tickets for his family. Each year, instead of worrying about being back stage, or in VIP, he took his wife Bernadette and sat in the stadium where they could watch the show together.
Sean overstood that Bernadette held him down. I marveled how he invited her with him to all his shows. They rode out together. Hot, crowded dressing rooms full of dudes and smoke, Bernadette by his side and in the pictures too.
Bernadette – I don’t have to tell you but he loved you. And in turn we as fans loved that he shared bits and pieces of your private moments with us. He rhymed about you: “Yall know how I met her, we broke up and got back together, then broke up and got back together, pshhh – I love you, I hate you, I hate you, I love you, Our love is like husband and wife, or a brother and sister, unconditional love even if I aint with ya. Remember when I messed up, you kicked me out of the house? Wait a minute that was yesterday. “
Elijah, Terri, Shaun P, Cash you were his prized possessions. Underneath his armor, he was a man of value and integrity. He was a proud Father.
On a song called “Violent” off Sean’s Jesus Price album he starts the song off with an adlib line saying “I’m such a failure” he was joking of course, made us laugh yet again, but sadly, do believe that Sean had doubts and insecurities about his value and accomplishments. From looking around this room and witnessing the outpouring of grief that the hip-hop community displayed upon hearing the news of his passing, it showed how many people and Artist’s he touched. Pause – The love and light you bring out, makes you anything but a failure. You were inspiring, and left us a massive catalog of music to remember you by. But make no mistake about it; we love you for the person that you were, even more so than the legend that your music will live on to define.
“Sean is the man, and I’m doin all that I can
When I rhyme, I feel like the the world’s in the palm of my hand
All I is, is all I am
And all you is, who gives a Damn?” P!
That is all.
“My heart hurts. Sean Price is gone. Rest in Paradise legend,” 9th Wonder tweeted. Rapsody added, “This is the worst. To the legend…and big man with a big heart and big sense of humor…we love you Sean Price. RIP.”
Sean Price went from being a childhood hero of mine to a great friend. He was the most competitive MC I’ve ever met & kept me on my game,” Talib Kweli tweeted. Killer Mike also wrote, “RIP Sean Price. Mic God, lyrical Warrior and supreme Emcee.”
Rest in Power Sean Price. You were always a friend, a brother and an inspiring lyricist. We love you & we will always miss you Ruck – Immortal Technique