So many producers work to build an empire and make a name for themselves, hoping that their work is a reflection of that dedication and diligence. But for producer Chris Styles, recognition came at a price. The Hip-Hop producer, who boasts three ASCAP awards and a Grammy nod for the 2004 hit "Disco Inferno," (The Massacre) has produced several chart toppers for the G-Unit camp. But it wasn't he allegedly distributed the same track to both 50 Cent and Jim Jones that Chris Styles became a household name.
Intent on not letting this new-found fame go to waste, Styles is ready to take the industry by storm. With his sixth release with G-Unit, and production credits on upcoming albums from Swizz Beats and LL Cool J, Styles is laughing all the way to the bank, and he let AllHipHop.com.com in on the joke.
AllHipHop.com: Hey, what's up? What are you doing right now, at this very moment?
Chris Styles: I'm here, chilling with my daughter. I just picked her up from school actually.
AllHipHop.com: How nice. Not only are you busy with little mama there, but you've been busy creating tracks for several artists as well. Who are you presently working with?
Chris Styles: Well I was just working with Uncle Murda, Maino and Cassidy last night. I got a new joint with them on the radio called "NWA." I'm also working with Lil' Mo. Swizz Beats and I are working on a new mixtape together. That's it. We're just working. I got another record on [50 Cent's] album, called "Destiny."
I'm really trying to crack into this R&B thing. I have a passion for it. When I catch it, they ain't gonna let me go.
Oh and I'm working with LL Cool J. He just signed to G-Unit. He's just the coolest dude ever. He came through 50 [Cent's] spot to do some tracks. I could just sit and talk to him. He hung around at the barbecue and ate some chicken...just a really cool dude. No ego. There's just nothing but respect there.
AllHipHop.com: How does it feel when people try to put you into a box and label you strictly a G-Unit producer?
Chris Styles: I have a lot of records over there, officially and with video games and mixtapes, so I can see how someone would think that. Like, we actually have a song deal where I do five songs for them, or however we set it up. [50 Cent] and I have a good relationship compared to a lot of the other producers he works with. In fact, we played pool all day yesterday. We have a business and a personal relationship, so it's easy to sell a track, you know? But yeah, I don't really sweat it.
AllHipHop.com: You two also teamed up on the lead single "Amusement Park," from his forthcoming album Curtis. What is the creative process like? Do you take a track over specifically for him, or does he have a rhyme and you find a suitable track? How does it work?
Chris Styles: It depends. He usually has the tracks laid. Then he'll call me and say he needs this or that, and I get it done.
AllHipHop.com: Now there has been this heated controversy over the track ["Amusement Park"]. Can you tell me what the deal is? What is everyone saying, and what's really real?
Chris Styles: Another artist [Jim Jones] had the same beat that [50 Cent] had. It's funny because I was reading some comment on the Internet last night that said, "Chris Styles stands behind his lie." Writers and editors are just so naive, like someone can't steal a beat or use someone else's beat. It's just ridiculous.
First of all, the two tracks are different; they sound similar but they are different. And if you listen to [Jim Jones'] joint, they are rhyming all over the tube track, not the actual track. You hear "Dangerous LLC" all over it. Like I tell anyone, if they want me to do a track, hit me up and we can get it in.
Production is funny like that. Like with "Hands Up" (Rotten Apple), I did that and Eminem put a couple of little things on the track. But because he's a bigger name, that's all they see. Michael Jordan's rookie teammate can score 23 points and Mike can score ten, but because of who he is, Mike's ten will outshine that rookie's 23. You just gotta take the bad with the good, you know? Same thing with "Disco Inferno." When [50 Cent] said "the flow sounds sicker over Dre's drums n***a," people thought [Dr. Dre] produced that. I think maybe he made that track to a Dre beat at first, then liked my beat better and instead flowed to that.
But you know, I praise God because while the devil meant this for my destruction, it's proving to be my arrival. It's just ironic, you know? I ain't mad, but I don't want it happening again. But it is what it is. I finally arrived. They know it now.
AllHipHop.com: Well you know the industry wouldn't be the industry without perpetual drama.
Chris Styles: Yeah, you know.
AllHipHop.com: There's also been a lot of talk about this beef between 50 Cent and Sha Money. Now I know that you roll pretty hard with Sha Money, so how does this affect you, working so closely with 50 Cent and G-Unit?
Chris Styles: There's no beef that I know of.
AllHipHop.com: I feel like you aren't being completely honest with me.
Chris Styles: I don't know where the drama is, or could be. I just saw both of them. Two men made a lot of money together, but if they go their own way people assume they are beefin'. They are still cool and still respect each other.
I mean, I got a lot of producers under me. I'm the next Barry Gordy or Diddy- I'm creating the next movement. There were just a lot of things I couldn't do, like playing bass, programming equipment, so I got a strong team behind me to help me get there. Sometimes people grow and branch off, it don't mean there's bad blood between them.
AllHipHop.com: I feel you. Alright enough about the drama. Do you have any favorites right now, as far as tracks you're working on or artists you're working with?
Chris Styles: My favorite artists are my artists. [Laughs] Like I said, I'm the new Puff and Barry Gordy. They always brought you the new, raw, big-time talent. And I know the artists I have are going to be big-time artists.
AllHipHop.com: That's what's up. You have an artist coming out this year. Tell me a little about that project?
Chris Styles: Her name is Deemi. She is new and just so phenomenal. Her stories are so serious. It took us four years to get this done so she could get all that out. And it seems so negative but the beauty is in hearing the life and struggles of a young woman, so I'm looking forward to that. She has a single out, "Soundtrack of My Life." We also have the beautiful, chocolate, talented Dawne. She can probably blow half these chicks out of the water with her voice. And she's beautiful too, a beautiful brown sister.
AllHipHop.com: Busy, busy. So who gets the better tracks, your Dangerous LLC artists or outside artists?
Chris Styles: Let me tell you two things that happen; the only way my artists keep a record without paying for it is if they own the record. Like, it has to be so good that ain't no one else gonna get it. Outside artists have to come get tracks, and they don't own it until they pay for it. This is a business and I will conduct it like one. I'm not making no specific beats and waiting for an artist to pay for one, because if I did I'd never eat.
AllHipHop.com: True. I know it's a hustle out there. We talked about you working with Swizz Beats earlier. It's funny, there doesn't seem to be the competitiveness in the production world that there is on the artists' end. How do two producers come together to collaborate on a track without worrying about getting ahead?
Chris Styles: For me, in the beginning the cockiness was there. I wanted to do it myself. But when you learn that the music is for the people, you realize you can't skin a cat by yourself. You can go make a hot record, but if you can have people that have the same view you have, you can have more than a hot record, you could have a hot album or even a classic album. I do it all the time with Midi Mafia. We [collaborate] all the time and just keep feeding each other. Our kids gotta eat, you know?
AllHipHop.com: More people should open up that way, I think.
Chris Styles: Yeah. So what else do you want to ask me? I'm sexy. Make sure you let all the ladies know.
AllHipHop.com: Oh yeah? That was going to be my next question. [Laughs]
Chris Styles: One of the sexiest chocolate producers out there.
AllHipHop.com: And you're serious about that aren't you? So you're producing, developing artists, what else?
Chris Styles: Dangerous LLC is doing the score for the Wendy Williams biopic. We're just kind of getting everything together. It's in its early stages, but I'm excited and I think they're excited too. I was a part of her album a while back, Hood Princess, so I'm excited to work with her again.
AllHipHop.com: Cool. So what don't you do?
Chris Styles: I don't do bad business [Laughs]. I try to do good things because when you put out good things, good things come back to you. But other than that, man, I don't know. There ain't nothing that I don't do. My goal is to start my own non-profit once I get my celebrity persona up. I want it to be for 18-35 year-old young men. I'm from Brooklyn, so I see the need. There's so much for women out there, but not too much for young men. I used to be an HIV/AIDS counselor at Rikers Island, so I have a passion for that, you know? I want these young dudes to have a desire to live beyond what they see. They know what a gold chain looks like, but not clear ocean water with fish swimming by their feet.
When I got my first check, I got more equipment to keep my business running, and I bought a crib. I still drive my '99 Jeep Cherokee. [Laughs] I'm just trying to teach these young dudes about life.
AllHipHop.com: That's dope. Well, I'm going to let you go and enjoy the rest of the day with your daughter.
Chris Styles: Yeah, she's busting in the room now. This is my pride and joy right here. Like my father wanted for me, I want her to achieve more than I did. My dad is an engineer for Sirius Satellite Radio, and the other day I told him, "Dad, I think I made more money than you," and he said to me, "You're supposed to."
AllHipHop.com: That's what's up. Real talk.
Chris Styles: Oh, and one more thing before I let you go. I just want Interscope [Records] to recognize me a little more. It's like a producer-driven label. I'm on like my sixth single for [50 Cent], and have done stuff for other artists over there. I'm like, "I'm ready to come in and do my thing," like Timbaland and Pharrell. have put in work for them for some years now and I haven't been called in or anything. But I'm ready to do my thing. That's all I really wanted to say.