Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be 50 fantastic first solo albums recorded by artists who departed—or simply took a temporary hiatus from—their respective groups, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. Click “Next Album” below to explore each album or view the full album index here.
SEAN PRICE | Monkey Barz
Duck Down (2005)
Selected by Jesse Ducker
During the early 2000s, the Boot Camp Clik were seemingly on their last legs. Members of the collective were openly feuding, and the music the group was producing seemed to be suffering as a result. So, in 2005, after a brief hiatus, the BCC did a functional re-launch with the “Triple Threat” campaign, consisting of three new albums by members of the crew. The first and best of these releases was Monkey Barz, the long-awaited first solo album by Sean Price, a.k.a. Ruck, one half of Heltah Skeltah.
With Monkey Barz, Price went from workman-like emcee to bona fide underground hip-hop superstar. He showed a sense of humor that he’d only hinted at on previous Heltah Skeltah/Boot Camp releases, not to mention a self-effacing self-awareness that few emcees can pull off. He embraced the role of the time-hardened, “old man” rapper who still was sharp with the pen. In fact, Monkey Barz demonstrated that Price was becoming better as an emcee as the years advanced. With this album, Price revitalized his career and became a prime example of what aging gracefully in hip-hop should look like.