Sean Price Monkey Barz

It isn’t very often in hip-hop that a comeback record offers a positive answer to the commonly asked question of whatever happened to so-and-so. In the case of Sean "Ruck” Price (aka the other half of Boot Camp Click’s Heltah Skeltah, who returns to the game after a seven-year layoff) the "whatever happened” keeps with tradition in not really smelling that sweat. Monkey Bars presents Price as a broken down, frustrated man rapping because it’s about all he’s got left. Though a touching story, it’s not quite enough to excuse the fact that the emcee really doesn’t have that much to say; his lyrical content rarely straying from violent threats towards fake emcees and some disconcerting signs that one to many women has said no to his advances. As with most BCC releases, the rest of the crew — Buckshot, Smif -N-Wesson, Louieville, Storang and even Rock — give it their all to boost the majority of the album’s tracks, though none of them seem to muster up enough lyrical prowess to match even Price’s unfocused rhymes. A moment of clarity comes by way of "Brokest Rapper You Know,” in which you actually come to feel for the man Price has become, as he offers a pretty grim depiction of his existence. That said, Monkey Barz really is a disappointing return from a one-time shining light in the Boot Camp Click. (Duck Down)