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The Okayplayer Interview: Sean Price On Mic Tyson, Mambo Sauce & Mayhem

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY.

Pound-for-pound Sean Price is one of the ruggedest, most colorful and talented emcees that ever did it; spitting rhymes that slap you up-side the head, grab you by the shoulders and shake the shit out of you. One can’t help but to take notice of what the brother has to say and appreciate the way he says it. With a double major in Brownsville Brooklyn/Boot-Camp-Clique ( BCC)  grindology, the dude ain’t to be taken lightly cause he lets you know off-top “I feel like I’m a brute!” Now who wan romp?

On his latest release, Mic Tyson, Price is right in channeling that The Thing vs. The Incredible Hulk blunt-force mayhem into one of Brownville’s most famous pound-for-pound title holders, Iron Mike Tyson. That “baddest man on the planet” aura is prevalent. This fusion of grimy wordplay and bull-in-china-shop bravado culminates in the dark, gruesome urban novel called Mic Tyson. OKP’s Mel Blunt recently got with Sean to get insight on the project.

Sean Price: Ahh shit, Okayplayer baby! I feel like I’m big time now baby. Y’all be having Musiq Soulchild on there; Cody ChestnuTT, and now y’all got Sean Price. Every time that I’m on Okayplayer, I feel like I’m stepping my game up.

OKP: Man, you’re that eccentric type of artist, that rare breed we like to feature.

SP: I see the kind y’all have on there, don’t get it twisted, I like those artists, I’m not dissing.

OKP: What was your preparation like for the Mic Tyson versus your preparation for the project that you recently did with Guilty Simpson?

SP: Let me make a statement before I answer this question. I live a very regular life, so these answers are not going to be fascinating with big paragraphs-I doubt it. I’m not eloquent. Like sometimes I read Talib Kweli interviews; he talks so beautiful, eloquent I mean. I want to talk like that but I can’t.

OKP: Just do you, we want Sean Price baby.  That’s what we got you on for.

SP: Listen, it ain’t really no preparation my G, It’s like somebody will be like hey, got some beats. I come through, the next thing you know, I do four songs then I bounce, I don’t do shit for a while. When I get that buzz again, l I do about five [songs], Then I’ll do like one every day for like a week then disappear. The next thing you know, I’ve got like 40 songs, and I’m like what the fuck?

OKP: What do you want people to take away from listening to the Mic Tyson project?

SP: I just want them folks to be like, YOOO! --from track 1-18 this dude was spitting some bullshit! This n**ga went in; he was like spittin’ some bullshit with the bars. I ain’t the best MC, but when it comes to the shit I do, I’m the best MC.

OKP: I like the word play of the the Mic Tyson project title, love the art work. Given the title and the art work, could you take me a little deeper into the symbolism?

SP: Black people have this thing about calling themselves apes and monkeys I know they get real (whatever) and I don’t blame em’. But I feel like I’m a brute. I am, but I’m smart though. I’m not a dummy.

I used to have a dream like-and I know shit gonna’ sound crazy, I told it to Alchemist once and he told me; “don’t ever say it again.” I have this reoccurring dream that I’m in the park, you know Bristol Park where we used to hustle in Brownsville. They have this big baseball field with a stage, and everybody’s out there looking at me. I’ve got no shirt on but I have boxing gloves on; you know like the warm-up gloves, fingers out. They bring out King-Kong, then I knock King Kong out and everybody cheers.  I swear that I’ve had this dream 100 times.

OKP: I’m hip, I’m hip! Where do you come up with lines like “wild as Hanna Barbara barbarians?” Also I like the Frankenberry and Solomon Grundy allusions that you worked into the songs.

SP: Well young Sean, after school I’d run home because I couldn’t miss the Hanna Barbara World show.  The Herculoids, The Impossibles, Birdman, Frankenstein Jr. That shit was crazy, especially the Herculoids.

OKP: The Herculoids were wild man; Grog was a beast-he was always the closer!

SP:The Fantastic Four-that shit was crazy. Yeah, Johnny Quest--whatever was stamped Hanna Barbara, I was with. Straight up. Thundarr the Barbarian was one of em’. (Hanna Barbara Barbarians, I mosh better than you and your entourage pause, y’all burying.)

“Frankenberry” was actually part 2 of a record,  you see Master P, me, and Buck had a song called “Frankenstein,” and if you listen to it we kind of rhyme on it the same way that we do on the new song. So part 2, you know-“Frankenberry.” Plus I like to slap strawberry milk out of [nuh’s] heads anyway. That’s for you big strawberry milk head nuh’s. That’s those dudes you come across when you’re sitting in a class with like 6 people and one of em’ has a big head--Frankenberry.

OKP: Who are your Top 3 producers?

SP: Ahhhhh! 9th Wonder...Alchemist, ahhh...Alchemist and Khrysis.

OKP: Now speak on some of the producers on this project.

SP: Uhh, 9th Wonder, I have Alchemist (laughter). I got 9th Wonder and his whole crew, The Soul Council. The Soul Council is 9th Wonder, Khrysis, my boy, Eric G., Amp and some other really sharp brothers.

OKP: In D.C. Amp is short for Anthony or Ant and even Anf. But that’s neither here, nor there.

SP: Nah. Nah, Nah, Nah homey; we’re talking about D.C.?

OKP: For sure, if you remember, the last time you and I spoke, we touched on the D.C. staple of chicken wings and Mambo sauce. Yeah, I got the place for you…

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY.

SP:  Yeah my man JD from team demo [is from D. C.] took me to Yums?  Yeah I got wings and Mambo sauce from Yums.

OKP: ?uestlove shouts out Yums, too for its carry-out game; steak-n-cheese, wings...ya dig? ?uest knows about Yums.

SP: My man tells me different spots have their own Mambo formulas.

OKP: Yeah there are different variations; everybody has their own special herbs and spices. The best one [wings and Mambo sauce spot] to hit is the Yums on Alabama Avenue, Southeast DC.

SP: I’ll make sure I hit the one on Alabama next time in D.C. I know I hit this one spot to get some wings and Mambo sauce and there were junkies outside on lean, I was scared to death. It was like Brownsville 1987 out that bitch.

OKP: Yeah bammas’ be trippin’.

SP: You know how it is, show me a state and I’ll show you that type of area nahmean?

OKP: Yeah everywhere especially if you’re talking that Mid-Atlantic/Northeast/Midwest corridor (Philly, New York, B’more, D.C., Detroit, the Natti), you know that whole circuit.

SP: The last time I was in B’more I did a show, and there was a rehab right next to our hotel.

OKP: Right now what group or artist’s music makes you want to wild out?

SP: Ummm, I guess nobody now.

OKP: Damnnnn.

SP: But coming up I was a big “Tribe Called Quest” fan. I saw them perform at the State building, and it was a free show promoting kids registering to vote. It was in Harlem at the State building and that was the first time that I saw them performing, Good Lord, I was like yo! Q-Tip you know, he’s not a hardcore rapper, but he was carrying it like he felt his shit! I mean he was into his shit!

OKP: Because he’s a bona fide emcee, undoubtedly.

SP: Killing it, you know what I mean. I’m not going to lie, at that moment it made me check myself. You’ve got to feel what you’re saying; you can’t just fake those emotions that he [Q-Tip] produces on stage. I said, Yo. Those the illest MF’s I‘ve ever seen. They’ve got their own show, man.

OKP: They get it in.

SP: Yeah, I’m a big Tribe fan. I remember we did a showcase back in the day with The Pharcyde, they got a crazy set. I haven’t seen them perform in a while, but they had an awesome set, I was jealous. I’m a fan, I’m a fan. “Footprints” is one of my favorite records by Tribe.

OKP: One of the most slept on cuts ever. That jaunt is slept on.

SP: When they performed that shit, nuh’, it was the closest thing to a hip-hop Holy Ghost a nuh! ever had in his life.

OKP: Clique or posse groups and labels Like BCC and the Wu have always had their ups and downs. I interviewed RZA a few years back when some of the Wu were talking royalty/pay discrepancies. I believe you may have had similar issues with Duck Down. In both instances both camps kept putting work in artistically. What keeps the fam together through adversity?

SP: It’s a lot of crews but one thing about Wu-Tang and Boot-Camp; those dudes just ain’t rappers. They’re more than a rap group. Those dudes are peoples. Some probably don’t like each other but knew one another from the hood. They grew up around each other. I don’t even know when I met Rock, that’s how long we’ve know each other. His moms’ and my moms’ are peoples, you feel me? We’re not just a rap group, we’re friends.  That’s why we’re still around, because we’re family.

I’m sure it’s the same with Wu Tang. We don’t have a bunch of arguments. You know, I never got beat for a dime. I just realized, I never had a money problem with Dru. I mean I want more money, (laughter).

OKP: Don’t we all?

SP: I want as much as I can get from everybody, no question! But I fucked my own money up, let’s be clear on that.

OKP: Wow, that’s real.

SP: It is what it is. We’re family man; you know, sometimes arguments like that happen. We shouldn’t argue, but if we do, one place you won’t hear it, is in the press.  I won’t be talking about it with you. I’m going to talk to who I need to talk to. And that’s it. By the time you interview me, that shit is over with, we’ve already figured it out. It ain't nothing else to talk about.

OKP: What legacy do you want to leave, like when people look at your whole body of work?

SP: I want to be remembered. I want people to say “that guy Sean Price, he made some of the stupidest shit sound beautiful.”

OKP: That’s a big statement there. I thought that you said that you weren’t eloquent? That had an eloquence factor.

SP: Ha-Ha! Talib Kweli, baby.