It won’t be long before Sean Price has more alter egos than Kool Keith. Most of the hip-hop world was introduced to him as Ruck, one half of the Heltah Skeltah duo, but in the years that followed we’ve come to know him by multiple aliases:
* Sean P
* Jesus Price
* Deceptacon Sean
We’ve got two more names to add to the list today – Mic Tyson andKimbo Price. The funny thing is that the latter is actually intended to be an introduction to the former, which can only be gleaned by reading the small print on the cover of this new mix CD. Of the two Kimbo Price is the more interesting concept. It’s not overwhelmingly impressive to swap “Mike” for “Mic” but the Kimbo Price name works on several levels, the first of which is that Kimbo Slice is ALSO an alter ego – the better known name of street fighter Kevin Ferguson. While in his daily life Kevin is calm and humble, when it’s time to go bare knuckle on YouTube the beast Kimbo Slice is unleashed. The parallels go even deeper though. Kimbo Slice is trying to move beyond his street fighter reputation and go mainstream by working his way up the ranks of UFC. Sean Price has a similar fight on his hands, as he’s been a cult favorite among hardcore rap fans for years, but is obscure next to the likes of Eminem, The Game or Jay-Z.
There can be little doubt that Sean’s fed up with being broke and hungry, and much like Kimbo Slice has become famous for saying, it’s time to “get my bread” cause “a nigga gotta eat.” If the forthcoming Mic Tyson album is the main course, “Kimbo Price” does a very good job of setting the table and putting out appetizers. There are no liner or production notes with this CD, fitting the mixtape style presentation found within, but none are really necessary given the familiarity of a majority of the beats. In fact some of the jacks found here are unapologetic parodies of mainstream pop rap hits, such as Shawty Lo’s “Dey Know” beat being jacked for the short track “Pork Chops & Apple Sauce.” The flow and the lyrical style are a dead on hilarious imitation:
“Give me a pennnnn, and some PAY-PER
Write a rhyme, no FLA-VOR
You minor – I’m MA-JOR
Slingblade, I LIKE FRIED TATERS
I like po’k and beans, I like po’k chops
I like spamburgers, I like my ham YEAHHH
Fuck you say yeah for?
I don’t know – fuck y’all niggaz care fo’?”
Other tracks are far from a joke. “Godfather Part P” can easily be identified as a Mobb Deep tribute before the beat even comes in, and Sean doesn’t disappoint when he starts spitting bars to this instrumental. Perhaps a Bucktown to Queensbridge collaboration would be appropriate – I’d love to hear Havoc and P spit on his tracks too.
“Sean – illest nigga to, smack Earth Wind & Fire
And make y’all niggaz straight retire
You get mad glory, and your flow is mad corny
Your tight-ass clothes put you in the fag category
Hehehe, y’all funny style like Brad brother Corey
You’re broker than a fuckin joke like half on a 40
I blast on a shorty young’un out of his mind
Get your snotbox rocked in a box that’s pine
Flesh, turn to maggots and worms just like swine
I kill your whole squad pah with just one line!”
HEAVY. And there are even more parallels to the fisticuffs of Kimbo Slice, a few of which may have been unintentional. For example – the back cover of the “Kimbo Price” CD features a picture of James Thompson’s cauliflower ear, which Slice nearly removed from his head with one hard punch in May of 2008. There are few people who doubt that Slice possesses knockout power in his hands, but all of the criticism directed at him in MMA is based on what happens when his hands MISS. In fact that’s why they call it MMA and not boxing – by MIXING martial arts you can rely on more than just letting your hands fly and ducking a counterpunch. One dimensional fighters don’t last long in UFC or any other major fighting league.
So far we haven’t seen Kimbo Slice show us any of these techniques in his pro fights – in fact the myth of the unbeatable Slice has been eroded by watching him get taken down and outworked by wrestling and jiu-jitsu. Kimbo Price mirrors Kimbo Slice by being pugilistic in his rap, throwing quick (and often homophobic) knockout bars, but there are very few long drawn out fights here. The album’s longest song “This Is Us” features Agallah and Illanoyz, which is a shame since Sean’s staccato delivery is far more intriguing than what his guests can offer. “HOT” featuring his Heltah Skeltah partner Rock is 8 seconds shorter but much better. All of the album’s other songs are under 3:30 in length more than half the tracks are 2:20 or less. It’s easy to seen Sean P wreck shit when he can get in punchlines in a short fight, but his best shadowboxing comes from the way he dances to a longer track, mixing up funny lines with a good narrative or emotional memories. We know from past experience that Sean Price is a better than average rapper with good breath control and a very appealing vocal tone, but for now “Kimbo Price” is just a narrow slice of the pie he can ultimately bake.