Ruck Without Rock
In the late nineties Heltah Skeltah rocked the world with some of the hardest rhymes and rugged production in hip-hop. After seven long years Sean Price, representing half of the fatigue-sporting duo, returns with his first solo release. Monkey Barz brings back the rugged, raw sound and lyrics that once carried Heltah Skeltah to the forefront of underground rap.Price hasnâ€šÃ„Ã´t lost a step, making his return to the studio with clever punchlines and the same smooth and unorthodox delivery that earned him bragging rights as one of the hottest emcees of the late nineties. As a veteran of the rap game, Price elevates his subject matter with stories of being a broke rap legend and his struggle to maintain.
From the beginning, Monkey Barz delivers with bass heavy production and soulful sampling reminiscent of hip-hopâ€šÃ„Ã´s golden age. Price continually dismisses the current trend of fake gangsta rap with tracks like â€šÃ„ÃºOnion Headâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºSpliff N Withessun,â€šÃ„Ã¹ dropping lines like â€šÃ„ÃºNiggas play tackle football with a plastic nerfâ€šÃ„Ã¹. Each song is either an effortlessly well-constructed criticism of the rap game and fake gangstas or a classic display of clever hardcore lyricism.
While this is Priceâ€šÃ„Ã´s solo debut, Monkey Barz is full of appearances from his Boot Camp brethren including Rock (thus completing the Heltah Skeltah duo), Buckshot, Tek, Steele, Starang and Louisville. Could this mean the comeback of the legendary crew as a whole or is this the last breath from a dying tradition? One can only hope for the re-emergence of hardcore rap without the gimmicks. However, itâ€šÃ„Ã´s going to take a lot more than one album to get it done.