Sean Price – “Imperius Rex” (Album Review)
On the 2 year anniversary of Sean Price’s unfortunate death, Duck Down Music Inc. has decided to release his 1st posthumous album but 4th overall. The album opens up with the title track, where P starts off talking about having sex with his now-widow Bernadette but abruptly stops a few seconds in to speak that “monkey shit”. Very similar to the intro of “Tonight’s da Night” by Redman, but it’s just as hilarious. The Alchemist’s production has these dramatic strings throughout that give the track an eerie vibe to it. The next song “Dead or Alive” sees Sean getting braggadocious about his rapping prowess over a hard hitting beat from 4th Disciple & the hook from Bernadette was actually interesting. The track “Definition of God” then informs the listener about how there’s no one higher than him & Stu Bangas’ production has these eerie synths & piano keys throughout that’re really great. The song. “Ape in His Apex” with his protégé Ruste Juxx sees the 2 aggressively rapping about shooting/stabbing you & how both of them are in their apexes (hence the title) over an organ with some hard hitting drums.
The track “Apartheid” has an eerie beat with a fitting Jamaican vocal sample & he gets with fellow Boot Camp Clik members Buckshot & Steele for some unapologetically hardcore degrading. The song “Lord Have Mercy” has this twangy guitar & a sped-up vocal sample throughout & while it’s not as hard hitting as the other instrumentals on the album, it’s still pretty great. Also can’t forget the guest verses from both Rim P & Vic Spencer are just as rough as the opening one from Sean. The track “Negus” with MF DOOM talks about “being a nigga” over an creepy sounding guitar & even though both MCs did their thing on here, I think DOOM’s verse was harder than Sean’s. The song “Church Bells” has a great hook from Junior Reid & the gloomy production enhances Sean’s street bars to make it sound purely evil. The track “The 3 Lyrical P’s” with Prodigy (Rest In Peace) & Styles P has this instrumental from Harry Fraud that kinda has an electronic vibe to it & given the title, the lyricism makes the track live up to it perfectly.
After Sean impersonating Funkmaster Flex for a minute & a half on the “Not97” skit, we are then led into the next track “Refrigerator P!”. Here, Sean’s talking about scaring haters & the instrumental has a solid rap rock sound to it. The song “Prisoner” addresses all MCs from the real to the wack over a somber instrumental from Marco Polo & the guest verse from Freeway is pretty hard as well. The song “Clans & Cliks” is a collaborative posse cut with 3 members of the Boot Camp Clik (Smif-n-Wessun & Sean’s former Heltah Skeltah cohort Rock) & 3 members of the almighty Wu-Tang Clan (Raekwon, Method Man & Inspectah Deck) over a gritty instrumental from Nottz & I can say it truly is a hardcore hip hop fan’s wet dream. The track “Resident Evil” is pretty much gun talk when it comes to the content, but the production truly enhances the ruggedness of it. The penultimate track “Rap Professor” tells the listener to “acknowledge the scholarship” & how he makes “nice rap shit” over a funky bass guitar provided by DJ Skizz. The album closes out with “Price Family”, where Sean talks about fucking shit up & slapping ear rings off a woman over a funky boom bap beat. Hell, the verse from Bernadette about wack rappers needing to get off Sean’s dick & to shut the fuck up were pretty cool as well. Can’t forget how flawless they compliment each other from the leading up into Bernadette’s verse to them nothing rapping together for a few seconds before a sung outdo over some piano keys.
While posthumous albums can be hit or miss for me, this one was a home run. The bars are hard, the features are all on point, it’s well produced & overall well put together. Not sure if this is the last Sean Price album we’ll ever get but if it is, then he went out with a bang. Rest In Peace to one of the most underrated to ever do it