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Sean Price, Mic Tyson

When rappers get older and have kids, oftentimes they make obligatory family man records. At best, critics laud them for their maturity and at worst, fans accuse them of “going soft.” On Sean Price’s latest studio album, Mic Tyson, neither responses are accurate. The Brownsville MC took his time (album was announced in 2009) with this project to become a father. But the only indication he’s drawn some inspiration from raising a kid might be on “Hush,” where he converts a famous lullaby into a humorous death threat sing-along targetted at wack rappers. To hell with a missed opportunity, this that raw.

Throughout much of his career, the Boot Camp Clik member has held a solid track record, mostly due to his consistency in topic choice; ruffian declarations, struggle rapper clowning, and self-aware observations of the industry. On Mic Tyson, he doesn’t miss a beat, giving out gems like “that hardcore rapping is played out, until I hardcore slap you then ask you what’s played out?” on “Price & Shining Armor.” It’s that self-deprecative, yet unapologetic voice that makes an underdog sound like a champ.

With that said, these verses could’ve fit on any of his past records or mixtapes. But the production on Mic Tyson ties them together nicely. P reaches out to past collaborators 9th Wonder and Khrysis, some newcomers, and underground darling Alchemist for a cohesively dark sound. There’s a steady pace to everything, perfectly complementing P’s slow flow and staccato delivery, while evoking a creeping, stalkerish, horror flick vibe. There are variations though, most notably on “Title Track,” which sounds like a Timberland-boot-stomping Russian squat dance, and the Evidence-produced “BBQ Sauce” could easily serve as the theme song for the final boss in a Mega Man game.

While few hiccups, like an uninspired chorus by Torae on “By The Way” and an iffy second verse eclipsed by the first on “Pyrex,” slightly tilts the album, those are minor bumps on a solid project. Sean Price can be that gentle family man at home, but when he steps in the ring, beatings are administered by a professional. —David “Rek” Lee (@Rekstizzy)

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