December 2, 2013

A Reader's Gut Reaction: Sean Price - Mic Tyson (October 30, 2012)

(I was originally going to run this after I finally got around to my own review for Sean Price's sophomore album, but I figured that you two would be okay with the blog jumping straight into the third round. Jay tackles Ruck's third magnum opus, the oft-delayed Mic Tyson: leave your thoughts for him below, and I'll see what I can do about getting my review for Jesus Price Supastar published soon.)

I'm sure that if you read this blog or are even mildly aware with hip hop today, you will be familiar with the name Sean Price. You either remember him as half of the duo Heltah Skeltah (where he went by the name Ruck), or as one-third of the side project Random Axe (alongside Guilty Simpson and Black Milk), or maybe you just know about his affiliation with the Boot Camp Clik supergroup. Whatever the case may be, the man has been hailed as one of the game's finest emcees for a long while.

His first solo effort, 2005's Monkey Barz, was a surprisingly good album, as was 2007's Jesus Price Supastar. Even though there are plenty of folks who don't give a single fuck about the man, Sean Price grows a bit with each successive release, from the type of talent he attracts to his own charisma behind the mic. Over time, the man has become a respectable underground force, and has even expanded his own fanbase by aligning himself with considerably more popular artists such as Mac Miller, The Alchemist, and Statik Selektah.

Mic Tyson is his third album, released six years after his last project to stellar reviews and critical acclaim. However, even though I feel that both Monkey Bars and Jesus Price Supastar were good for Sean Price albums, at the end of the day they were only a tad bit above average when compared to everything else hip hop has to offer. Can Mic Tyson buck the trend?

In a nutshell, yes.


It begins. The Alchemist's slow moving-but-menacing beat gets under your skin and plays in your subconscious for what seems like eternity. Sean Price sounds excellent, even though the hook is a little corny. Running with this instead of an intro? Great fucking way to start the album. Awesome track.


Two Alchemist beats in a row? Damn, someone seems to have gone on a shopping spree with their guest-verse paychecks. Although not as good as the one on “The Genesis Of The Omega”, the instrumental ups the tempo and clicks for Sean P here. The lack of a chorus actually helps, as well. So far, so dope.


Amp's beat is good: it just so happens to use the same sample that The Alchemist (there's that name again) used for his own “Dead Bodies”. Sean P sounds too sleepy here, but the scratches kinda improve the overall state of affairs, and the man also known as Ruck gets his act together by the time the track is over. A quick observation: the first three tracks on Mic Tyson were all just barely over two-and-a-half minutes long, meaning that none of the songs overstayed their respective welcomes. A smart move by our host.


This track's beat feels rustic, what with the strings and the drums that ache for better mixing and mastering. Which doesn't make it bad: on the contrary, Wool's instrumental fits Sean's and Ruste's style perfectly. Sean is easily outperformed by Juxx, who knocks almost all verses that Sean has so far spit on this album out of the park. Very nice indeed.


Another short one. Sean drops some hilarious lines here, especially the one about messing up the place by shooting your mother. The Eric G. (that's a pretty generic name) beat sounds a little off kilter, adding to the dopeness of the track. And here we are, not a single bad track so far. On an album released recently. I know, incredible, right?


The first not-so-great track, which was bound to happen eventually. Frequent collaborator 9th Wonder steps in with an unappealing beat that sounds annoying. Sean wasn't bad here at all, though.

7. STFU PT. 2

Vulgar title aside, this track has a brilliant beat. The Alchemist produced this one, too, which makes sense, as it has Jailbird P written all over it: I wonder if it was snatched up by our host right out from under Prodigy's nose. The soundbites were hilarious, especially the one at the beginning. Sean gets downright nasty on here, too: "Universal beat down, beat down your universe.”


Sean's hook is bad, and the beat is too trite for comfort. Not today.


This track is, as Max would say, the tits. But not any mere tits: imagine Angelina Jolie's breasts (before she removed them) in Pushing Tin. Yes, that good. The Eric G. beat sounds like it's been lifted from some unreleased 1950's Dracula low-budget flick, with the heavy Joe Tex drums and vocal sample underneath. Sean gets things started pretty nicely, guest star Ike Eyez continues in the same fashion, and then Ill Bill arrives. I have nothing to say about the verse that he spit, other than the fact that it's the best verse on the entire album, no bullshit.


After the last track, i thought there was no way that Sean could bring us another track even half as good as “Solomon Grundy”. Well, he proves me wrong: The Stu Bangas beat is uncut raw, but for the first time on Mic Tyson, Sean doesn't get murdered on his own shit. Which is no small feat, considering that the other rapper, Black Moon's Buckshot (also Sean Price's label boss, for all intents and purposes) goes in ferociously on here. Another excellent track. Can we keep this going, Mr. Price?


Well, it appears that we can, but just barely. “BBQ” is good, but not great. Assistant preacher Pharaohe Monch covers hook duties rather well, though. The two-thirds of the West Coast group Dilated Peoples (specifically Evidence and DJ Babu) produced this track, and Sean Price sounds alright over the decent instrumental, dropping a few funny lines at the end of each verse ("I ain't believing in y'all / Make your mom suck my dick with blue cheese on my balls"). Not bad.

Alan Maman keeps it coming with the heat rocks, providing a beat that sounds like the bastard love child of 9th Wonder and The RZA, even thought his choice of chipmunk vocal sample can be annoying at times. Unfortunately, Realm Reality's chorus is asinine. Sean tries to go with the flow, although he stumbles a bit during his verses. At one point he even raps about using dead baby organs just because he can. But the hook diminishes the value of the overall song. And yet I still thought it was pretty good.


I never liked Torae. The beat is weak, too. Just couldn't get into this.


I usually try to refrain from overreacting, but this was just crazy. Beat Butcha's beat fucking knocks, and Sean raps like it's the last song he will ever appear on. Guest star Pumpkinhead rips the track to shreds, too, out-rapping Sean and securing four Grammy awards in the process. My God. The best track on Mic Tyson without a doubt.


The Beat Butcha beat disappoints on here, though. And we're done.

(If you download Mic Tyson through iTunes, you receive three additional tracks that weren't covered here. One of them appears to feature Freddie Gibbs, if you're into that sort of thing. However, if you choose to purchase this through the Amazon links scattered throughout the post, you'll get a different exclusive bonus track. Dealer's choice.)

THE LAST WORD: For the most part, Mic Tyson works. Two-thirds of this album bangs, and the remaining third isn't quite horrible: it just isn't up to par with the best work presented on here. In my honest opinion, Sean Price certainly stepped his game up, although nothing on Mic Tyson will cause casual listeners to convert to his cause (you won't be giving up your New Wave anytime soon). You're going to buy this if you're a Sean Price fan, and you absolutely should, as he's put out an enjoyable product here. Just don't expect anything revolutionary.

(Questions? Comments? Concerns? Leave your thoughts below.)


  1. Pretty decent review, even though some tracks would have benefited from more words to be more descriptive.

  2. Thank fuck there's now at least one review for this, my pleas have been answered! To conclude Jay, please rank Sean Price's (solo) albums from best to worst.

  3. Jay here, thanks for reading this, one of my first written review.s

  4. Ruck is always nice.

    Ill Bill with a standout verse? No surprises there.
    Now where is that Non Phixon review???

  5. Sean P! The Last Word section sums it up.. this album is what you'd expect from Sean but not groundbreaking by any means. Still a good album. More reader reviews coming?

  6. I'm sorry but the only album I would call a classic when it comes to Ruck is Nocturnal.

    That joint tops anything this dude ever did on his own.

    Even if his solo work is very good. I get why people like them.

    It's just that Nocturnal Is my go-to dose of Sean P.

  7. I bought Jesus price supastar when it came out and was disappointed. Maybe I'll have to give it another shot before listening to mic Tyson.

    1. I didn't like it either, but this one's better. Not a whole lot better though.

      But I'm not a hardcore Sean Price fan. He's dope but I've never completely loved anything he's done. This album included

  8. best track is the one with Freddie cause Gibbs murders it.. but you didn't review it so....