This is probably the first real piece I’ve written in a long time aside from reviewing. I wanted to take this time to really show my respect and salute to possibly one of the most underrated emcees to have ever touched the mic. Sean Du-Val Price( formally Rock of Heltah Skeltah).
The duo Heltah Skeltah debuted in 1995 during the true apex of what hip hop culture really was at the time. Wu Tang, Mobb Deep Nas, Biggie, Jeru da Damaja, and the Duckdown crew ushered a fresh new sound which was grime and gritty for the East Coast at the time. The duo debuted on Smiff N Wesson’s Da Shinning album and lyrically stole the show on all the tracks they were featured on. The duo would release Nocturnal in 1996 which was met with stellar reviews and appreciation from the streets. Both Sean Price and Rock had unique styles, but at that period it was Ruck whom stole the spotlight due to his gruff voice and energized delivery. Rock became the focus point of the group while Sean played the side kick role even though he was a dope emcee within his own right.
They were unable to escape the sophomore jinx despite releasing one of the hardest singles of that year(I Aint Havin Dat) suffered from the Sophomore jinx. Magnum Force got lost in the shuffle due to the magnitude of the releases that came out during that period, Duck-down was also having distribution issues with Priority which made the group suffer sales wise. The two decided to focus more on solo projects and continued features for the Boot Camp releases.
The Triple Threat era
In 2005, With a new distribution deal with Narraive corporation, Duckdown linked up with Mark Ecko and re-introduced themselves into the new generation. Ecko designed the album’s comic book like covers and released three new albums from Buckshot, Smiff N Wesson and Sean Price. Out of the three releases, Sean Price ended up being the surprise element because it was Sean’s chance to carve into his own identity.
He was finally able to escape being Rock’s side kick and develop into his own artist. What made Monkey Barz such as classic album was the fact that Sean Price was able to show the world his true vision. He had the right production to match his fiery, He shaved his dreads, He started showcasing more witt in his raps and started putting his mind, body, and heart behind becoming his own artist.
Everything from his complex rhyme schemes, no holds barred lyricism and brutal honesty was what gained Sean a new-found following within the underground and he would follow-up with releases such as Jesus Price Superstar, Mic Tyson and Keys of the Price. He also reunited with his partner in crime Rock and released D.I.R.T. along with forming a group with Detroit emcees Guilty Simpson and Black Milk named Random Axe. He became a force within the underground circuit and kept that NY sound fresh.
Sean built such a huge following over the years in the underground that the majors came with the offers. There were videos where he considered leaving Duckdown to entertain his options. But he stay true to his sound, his craft, and kept it hardcore hip hop. This is what many whom worked with him or knew him gonna miss about Sean. He was possibly one of the most humble rap guys in the Industry. He never was Hollywood, always stood up for his art and re-invented his self to resurgence his career instead of selling out. R.I.P. Ruck. Hip Hop will sorely miss your presence.