On his heartfelt new single, “Tabernacle,” Detroit’s Royce 5’ 9” takes a brief respite from narrating the single most impactful day of his life to pay homage to the late Sean Price. “Ay y’all remember that one joint from the Heltah Skeltah album…Sean Price be like, “Im not sure any…” yeah that was my shit. I used to bump that shit all day.”
So to celebrate what would have been Ruck of Heltah Skeltah’s 44th birthday on March 17th, we invited Royce (and others) to share his fondest memories of Sean and how the Brownsville legend helped to shape him as an artist. Watch the video above or read the transcript below:
“I first met Sean with 8-Off Agallah. He introduced us. I remember him always being funny. He formed a group with Black Milk and Guilty Simpson called Random Axe. Once he got real cool with Hex I used to see him and talk to him all the time. We always had the competitive talk of Slaughterhouse vs Random Axe. He used to be like ‘We’ll body y’all!’ and I used to say “We’ll body y’all. All it takes is for all of us to get on a song. Let’s make it happen.
“But what stuck out to me the most was I used to try to explain to him how much he influenced me back in the day and he didn’t believe it. He used to be ‘Whatever Royce. You just talking.’ Then I’d rap the whole verse from “Sean Price” (on Nocturnal) and he’d just turn around and rap some shit from Boom,’ basically just to be like ‘I like your shit, too.’ But I said nah man it’s deeper than that. I made my father like that album. And he used to down talk all hip-hop everything. And I made him like Ruck and Rock. And my dad is a hater, man.
“Sean gave me some elements, made me start paying attention to ad-libbing. He used to do these monotone ad-libs under his raps instead of just doubling it and layering his verses in the same tone he’d go an octave lower in a mot one. And I started doing that back in the day. I was taking different tricks from different people, but hat’s one thing that I got from him.”