Pros: The lyrics, the lyrics, the wordplay and the lyrics.
Cons: A bit short.
For years, Sean Price was a weird story. He made waves as one half of the duo Heltah Skeltah with his partner Rock, and had a certified classic hip hop album with 'Nocturnal'. Conversely, many viewed his contributions to Heltah Skeltah as complementary and overshadowed by Rock. Then, as time went on, he'd drop a single here and there, and would stoke the rumour fires, only to do nothing.
All that changed 2 years ago with 'Monkey Barz', his first solo release. To me, it was a lackluster effort whose faults were compounded by the fact that much of the material had been heard before on various mixtapes. However, even with the relative disappointment of that first solo LP, Sean Price showed a considerable amount of lyrical talent, and a predilection for the witty one liner.
Fast forward to today. No mixtape announced this album. Sean Price comes to us with a brand new album of unheard material. As Tyra Banks would annoyingly state- SO WHAT?
Let me sum up 'Jesus Price Supastar' thusly- it's only March, and this album is a lock for the top three of the year, if not the absolute best. Top to bottom, it improves on everything that was bad AND good on 'Monkey Barz' and shows a tremendous amount of growth and creativity from Sean P. From the album opening head cracking drums of the intro, where Sean P casually informs us that he's got his manhood in your mom's mouth, to the surprisingly introspective 'Mess You Made' album closer where Sean reminisces on the mistakes of his past, 'Jesus Price Supastar' is filled with classic beats and lines that make you say, 'Did he just say that? Play it again!'.
The album is littered with various producer credits, all of who know the types of beats that Sean sounds best over- 9th Wonder, a producer who I have rightfully dumped all over on in the past, is particularly apt at this- he sets up some thumping drums, a simple soul loop, and lets Sean fill in the blank on a track like the lead single 'P-Body' which is a quintessential hardcore NYC street anthem- the man doesn't need extra sound to fill in the spaces- he's the whole show himself. Not to be outdone, Tommy Tee does a spot on Dr. Dre impression with 'Church', and 10 for the Triad gives Sean some inspired funk for 'Like You'. However the producer who really shines on this record and absolutely needs to keep making more tracks with Sean is Justice Leaguer Khrysis. From the mesmerizing vocal sample on 'One' to the thundering drums of 'King Kong', the man has figured out Sean P just like his production friend 9th Wonder, yet still forces him to grow as an artist.
Throughout all this, Sean remains the focal point however, and he doesn't disappoint- punchline after punchline waves over you as you listen to the album, and they're clever enough that you never stop and think 'this is getting monotonous'... instead Sean seems to have a charisma that makes you want to hear more, almost making you wish he didn't have guests on the album like Buckshot, Sadat X, Chaundon et al. There will be some that will tell you that this album is too one dimensional- and they'd be wrong. Sean isn't reinventing the wheel here- he's just a great MC to listen to.
It's because of this tight connection between producer and lyricist that 'Jesus Price Supastar' works as well as it does, and it's the reason why Sean P will be a force to reckoned with in the years to come. Major label anyone? No matter what happens though- it's obvious that Sean has entered the next stage of his development as an MC- 10 years after he debuted- and that's an amazing feat unto itself.