I hate writing tribute or “memorial” pieces – and, unfortunately, this is the second one I’ve written in the past 30 days. Like many, I learned yesterday that hip-hop lost yet another institution. Hip-hop heavyweight Sean Price, much to the shock of many in the (worldwide) community, passed away in his sleep. Most of the readers here don’t need this, but I’m going to give a “little” background on P. He rose to prominence in the golden era of hip-hop as one-half of the group Heltah Skeltah. The duo were prominent pillars of the supergroup Boot Camp Click [which also counted many of my fave rappers ever as members]. P was also a member of Random Axe, but most notably – I think – he rebranded himself and focused on his solo career, releasing three full-length solo albums over the last decade. If you need more than that, you probably should just Google him because you missed out.

Sean had many enviable qualities. He was a rapper’s rapper, by which I mean he had serious bars. He came up in the golden era, and as everyone knows, times have changed. That’s an understatement. The game is not the same. It’s a digital world, and hip-hop is very much a commercial endeavour. Duck Down as a label family seem to have done a fantastic job staying not only true to the craft but also relevant to their core audience. Sean, as a solo artist, was especially great at it.

If you’ve ever watched any of his videos, you get it. He was a funny dude. He seemed like he didn’t take himself too seriously. He was also notorious for being an asshole online. I’m not afraid to say he blocked us on Twitter [note: we’re still not sure why]; however, when we pointed it out, we realized we weren’t alone. He blocked at will. Posted at will – and off the cuff. He didn’t care what you thought. Like, at all. He didn’t portray an image of a wealthy rapper lifestyle. He was just an average guy – who happened to be a microphone bully. This common man appeal and rock-star ego made him a fan favourite. His down to earth qualities made him a revered member of the hip-hop community at large, and the inner circle of New York’s underground (true school) scene. He was a huge personality, and this is a huge loss for hip-hop.

Understand, I’m coming at this as a HUGE fan; although, reading some of the messages today from his peers, it’s obvious that his big personality had made tremendous impacts on their lives.

He leaves behind a wife and three wonderful children. Our deepest condolences – and prayers – go out to them.