Sean Price - The Constellation Room - March 14, 2013

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Patrick Montes / OC Weekly
Sean Price gazing away
Sean Price
The Constellation Room
March 14, 2013

Hip-hop needs its animated characters, and we're not speaking about cartoon cameos. The genre started out as a mean-mugging form of music that promoted a street stalker's mentality, so it's necessary to have those who can push aside some of the genre's testosterone fog and add some droll verbal antics to keep things from going so serious lyrically that imagined weapons manifest themselves into real ones. You need someone like Danny Brown who can say a girl's crotch is smelling like "Cool Ranch Doritos," and someone like New York stalwart Sean Price to rap that your mom is going to give him a blowjob with "barbecue sauce" and "blue cheese." If you can't tell already, we like our rapper humor to involve food flavors.

We have seen some more "eccentric" rappers in Orange County in the past, but none quite like the Brownsville "Groddfather" Sean Price. Unlike other dynamic and lively emcees, Sean Price's career and body of work is grounded and rooted in the gully and grimy old-school New York hip-hop most people venerate. You can never really say he ever started off as the "weird one," and he still isn't in that position, as he is still holding onto the approach to hip-hop that 90s New York contained. There's also not many rappers with personalities as entertaining who can say they were a part of hip-hop classic like his group Heltah Skeltah's Nocturnal.

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Patrick Montes / OC Weekly

Last night, Sean Price didn't exactly let the personality he has as an individual and a lyricist pour over into any type of whacked stage antics, but he fulfilled our imaginary quota for hip-hop this week and gave us another solid night to recollect. He also put out one of the most straightforward performances we've seen, and that's all in a good way, of course. With his hat brim constantly on the lower end of his forehead and his gaze seemingly locked in the same forward direction, Price stood with both hands on the mic stand and belted out cuts from across his discography. His hypeman, who appeared to have tattoos in place of normal human skin, did more of the jumping and jostling around stage. 

Price rarely even moved from his immediate position, though his bars were heavy enough to make it rain slabs of concrete from the top of the venue. His gruff, focused demeanor was really all he needed to make his lyrics come alive in a live setting. This was a purely lyrical live experience, as opposed to a Waka Flocka free-for-all or 2 Chainz club party, and it worked out perfectly. Very few artists in rap can actually stand on stage and make little physical movement and still make heads and hands move and ears attentive. We think of entertainment value in the context of a "show" and we usually picture the opposite of someone clenching onto a mic stand and reciting lyric after lyric, but Sean P gave us a performance very few can give. His outing last night stands as a testament to how hip-hop is a lyrical art form, whether its on record and MP3 or happening a few feet away from you.

Critic's Bias: Sean Price's interviews, such as the one he did with Texas veteran Scarface for HipHopDX, are some of my favorite ones to reread.

The Crowd: A healthy mix, though it didn't seem like there were too many leftovers from any previous indie show. Not exactly a Fleet Foxes friendly crowd.

Random Notebook Dump: Out Da House productions needs to calm down with the whole "several dozen opening acts" thing. It's not like they don't book good shows and they don't showcase talented people, it's just that the openers' collective time on stage shouldn't equate to that of a stage at a mini-massive.

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