By D. Yates aka General Steele
On Saturday the 8th of August 2015 I got news that a good friend of mine had died. The devastating news came directly from his wife. I had just woke up not to long before that but we immediately got dressed and went to his home.
We were in disbelief, shock, fear and a host of other emotions. When we arrived the police were sitting outside his door and a few very close family members and friends were gathered inside. The grief started to suffocate me as I walked into his apartment straight to his wife who was obviously distraught. All I could do was hug her as tight as I could and tell her I love her.
Normally people say things like “are you alright” or “its gonna be alright” or “be strong”. How can one know its gonna be alright? How could you not know how it feels to lose someone that is extremely close to you be it friend, family or soulmate. How can one be strong in this grievous time?
I was at a loss for words as more people who received the news began to file into the apartment. Not one person could hold back their tears, sobs even screams. No one wanted this to be true. Unfortunately we all had to face this gruesome fact that our beloved friend and brother (Sean Price) was dead.
Its hard for me to even write his name in that context.
I can’t believe Im not going to see my friend anymore. We are not going to be joking on each other or offering each other life advice or debating different opinions. We will not be able to go on tours across the globe to perform together at sold out shows. I won’t get to hear him rock the crowd or chant his famous chant, “When I say Sean, y’all say P….SEAN P! SEAN P!” as the crowd files in line to participate in full cadence. I won’t get to see his wild antics or get to hear him make up those wild anecdotes and crazy phrases. DAMN! I can’t believe it.
It hasn’t fully sunk in. The first few days were crazy. The family and friends immediately went to work to take care of any arrangements that had to be made. Seans’ wife was exceptionally strong under the circumstances. People had to comfort each other because everyone was distraught. This would be no easy task.
There were many people who loved Sean and this scenario was devastatingto imagine let alone witness in real time. I have to give credit to a list of people who went into action immediately. I won’t name any names but there were a quite a few. This unity made it a little easier to bear the weight of responsibility of what lies ahead.
The love that people have for our brother Sean Price emits a powerful energy that holds us all together. I felt God had made a choice and no matter how unfair it seemed to us all, this was the only way to make sense of what didn’t make sense at all.
Sean had converted to Islam so he had to be washed properly by his brothers. I had the honor to participate in this sacred body washing ceremony or Ghusl along with Buckshot, Tek, Hemdi, Unicron and the Imam.
He was then taken to the Masjid where they prayed over his body.
We later took Sean to the funeral home where he could be viewed by extensive family and friends. There was not a dry face in the area but there was loved ones everywhere. People who I haven’t seen in 5, 10 even 20 years. Many rap artist and producers came out to show respect many whom have worked with Sean directly.
There was a sea of purple everywhere as this is the color that the Decepticons adorn. To see the Decept family, brought a familiar strength through the bond that we shared. You also had a sea of Ralph Lauren gear as this is the Flag that the LoLifes adorn. Many of these brothers are from Brownsville Brooklyn where Sean was raised, so their camaraderie goes way back. In the 80’s Decepts and LoLifes were rivalries so this union showed how powerful an impact Sean Price made on us all.
There were also several members of Seans’ family who drove up from down south. Although it was the ultimate sad occasion It had to be proud for them to witness how many people Sean affected and not just through his incredible rap skills but through people who grew up with him in many different stages of his short life.
After the service many of us went to Kingston Ave where the graffiti artist MeresOne (5Pointz) was doing a mural in memory of Sean. It is was very sad and exhilaratingat the same time. I cried as MeresOnes’ painting solidified that my brother was really gone in the physical form but I was comforted by the reality that he lives on through his family his friendshis accomplishments and the many unfamiliar faces who came out to stand in the hot sun until the mural was complete.
The following day was the funeral. This was it. This is final. Im not ready for this but I have no choice. We attended a small service at the funeral home then we proceeded to the cemetery. This was extremely tough for people as everyone was asked to take a shovel and put dirt into the grave 3 times. Many people were not familiar with thisprocess and were noticeably disturbed as they committed to the reality that was now severely obvious. Others couldn’t bring themselves to do it because they viewed it as “throwing dirt on thy brother”.
The burial ceremony was also highlighted by the Islamic prayer that was given by Buckshot which he did completely in Arabic. It was mind blowing for many to witness because they didn’t know Buck could speak fluent Arabic. Even friends and family alike that knew this fact was in awe. Buckshot and Tek were in full Islamic garb (Jalabiya) in honor of the faith and our brother Sean. In the Islamic faith it is important to give all muslims the proper burial ceremony and these brothers did a great job.
The entire ceremony had to be done immediately according to the Islamic faith.
It's now nine days later and I am still in a bit of denial. I had to unplug from social media. My twitter was crazy and people were posting thousands of images on Instagram and Facebook. Artist were painting murals in honor of Sean Price all across the globe in places like Italy, Germany and Australia just to name a few. I was in denial and I didn’t want to reply to texts, tweets or even phone calls. I wasn’t prepared to do any interviews, go on live radio or answer any questions regarding this issue. I didn’t want to hear any rap music talk about anything rap related and I definitely wasn’t ready to perform at any shows. It was too much for me so I decided to write this hoping to possibly bring closure to a major chapter in this Book of Life.
As the saga continues I strive everyday to keep going. The death of Sean has brought many of us closer and it also made many of us evaluate our health and our lifestyles. One friend came to me after the viewing with tears in his eyes he wanted to ask me a favor. He said “Steele no disrespect but I need you to stop drinking”. “I love you and I can’t do another one of these …”
Tears rolled down my face I hugged my friend and I said “No disrespect at all, I appreciate you for that. I love you brother. Thank You”.
As artist we live crazy lifestyles day to day. I pray Allah (Swt) gives me the strength to change the things I can and to accept the things I cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference.
I plan on making some changes in my life Inshallah starting NOW one day at a time.
Maybe this energy will affect us all in a way where we start to value every second of our God given life.
God Bless you. God Bless us ALL.
Yo SEAN P I LOVE YOU SLUM! THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING!