Sean Price & Small Professor – 86 Witness (Album)

86 Witness is a testament to both Hip Hop’s Golden Era, and the unbelievable talents of Sean Price, one of the genre’s biggest and best voices who was taken from us far, far too soon. His hilarious, tack-sharp rhymes are complemented by the imaginative and dusty production of Philly’s Small Professor, who may just be rap’s best kept secret.

Throughout 86 Witness, both P and Pro perfectly weave together the sounds and the styles of the era that set the foundation for Hip-Hop culture. And they do so with some help from acclaimed turntablist DJ Revolution, who appears on five of the album’s ten cuts.

Lyrically, P pays homage to the year 1986 with clever bars boasting slick, pop culture-referencing wordplay. He big-ups the Bears’ Super Bowl XX win on “Refrigerator P”; references Herbie Hancock’s time-honored Round MidnightOST on “Midnight Rounds”; shows love to Just Ice’s “Latoya” on the Quelle Chris-featured “Latoya Jackson”; and dedicates track six to John Gotti with the help of AG Da Coroner, Guilty Simpson and Your Old Droog.

Throughout the rest of the album, P spits slick nods to Boogaloo Shrimp, Joe Joe Dancer, Sinbad, and other characters central to that era. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Ruckus project without mentions of the man who inspired his ‘Mic Tyson’ alias. And sure enough, sound bytes from the heavyweight bruiser appear on closer, “Word to Mother.”

Like his previous projects, 86 Witness is brimming with classic lines and lyrical barbs from P. What’s different here, however, is the depth of his references in addition to his incredible chemistry with Small Pro. From the verses to the beats, they have provided so many musical Easter eggs that each listen tips off something you’ve yet to discover. And that’s not even mentioning the ambitious lineup of guests that in addition to the aforementioned, includes: Rockness Monstah, Illa Ghee, Elucid, Castle, Reef the Lost Cauze, Curly Castro, Zilla Rocca, and Rob Kelly.

As “Word to Mother” begins to fade, you hear Q-Tip’s nostalgic quote of “That summer of ’86 changed Hip-Hop forever…” You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who wouldn’t say the same about Sean Price. Hip-Hop (and the world) misses you. 86 Witness is available now through all major DSPs, CD equipped with P’s Land Of The Crooks EP (produced entirely by M-Phazes), a limited edition magenta/black vinyl swirl, and various merch bundles, as a dual-label release in partnership between Coalmine Records and Duck Down Music.

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