Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home.

music Home > Record Reviews

Sound Tracks

Sean Price: Jesus Price Supastar


Sean Price: Jesus Price Supastar

Label:Duck Down
Format:Album
Media:CD
Release Date:2007
Genre:Hip Hop/Rap

By Michaelangelo Matos | Posted 6/6/2007

Hip-hop was born and nurtured on independent labels. But over the past decade, "indie-rap" has frequently denoted qualities at which many rap fans look askance: smug cleverness, lack of beats or flow, being too friggin' emo for your own good. There are signs of this changing, though, as more hip-hop artists with major-label ties become aware of the higher per-disc profit margins an indie like Koch offers. And major labels have begun to sign new artists not to two- or three-album deals, the way they used to, but for two or three singles. It looks likely that MCs who think they have an entire CD's worth of something to say will start looking to indies as a long-term prospect, rather than a steppingstone on the way to (or from) bigger deals--and that the term "indie-rap" will fade as a quasi-musical distinction.

Or, as Black Milk puts it right up front on his new album, "I'm underground, but don't get it twisted . . . I don't walk with no backpack on/ Don't put me in a box, dog, we do it all." Born Curtis Cross 24 years ago, the Detroit MC made his name as a smart, economical beatmaker--most notably for Slum Village--with a penchant for reconfiguring soul snippets in a way that resembles Pete Rock without sounding overly beholden to him. On Popular Demand, he rhymes with an equally nonchalant flair. Dude even manages to make the ménage à trois fantasy of "Three + Sum" seem less leaden than usual: "I know it sounds unrealistic for ya/ That's why I'm glad that she got it on the camcorder." And like any good producer, he gets good work from other MCs, as with Guilty Simpson on "Sound the Alarm": "I solemnly swear to rep thorough, man/ Got 'em hooked like black-tar heroin."

Brooklynite Sean Price isn't short on boasts, either: "I never say the same shit twice like Mike Jones," he sneers on "Like You." Well, not quite--from "I got my manhood in your mom's mouth" to "I ain't trying to be rude but you're food so I've got to make grace," Price's second solo album, Jesus Price Supastar, treads pretty familiar ground. Price is one-eighth of the Boot Camp Clik, where he was known as Ruck, and his rough, choppy headlong vocal style is well matched to backdrops that equally favor gruff and smooth; "Cardiac," for example, lays old-soul strings and vocal syllables over trash-can beats. Eight producers worked on this album, but it's Price who makes it work as a whole.

Comments powered by Disqus
Calendar
CP on Facebook
CP on Twitter