Styles P: Choices

Styles P stares at a crossroads.

Styles P, one third of Yonkers Rap triple threat, The LOX along with Jadakiss and Sheek Louch, is prepping to release his new album Time is Money in April. After shining on Akon’s “Locked Up Remix,” Jadakiss’ “Why? Remix” and countless mixtape cameos, Styles insists the highly anticipated follow up to 2002’s gold-selling A Gangster and a Gentleman will expand on his sound.

“Gangsta & A Gentleman is definitely a classic in the hood,” says Styles, who served an eight month bid in 2003 that interrupted the album’s promotion.

“I always look at myself as one of the hardest, street spittin’ MC’s. I feel I’m the best, but on a hardcore tip. I can’t honestly say that I feel I’m the all around best as far as making good radio songs. I never made chick songs besides ‘Ride or Die B***h’ or ‘Daddy Get That Cash,’" he admits. “[This album] I took it there, but I wanted to do it in the format of still being Styles P. I can’t do a song with Jagged Edge or Mario Winans and not be Styles P.”

Besides the aforementioned, the new album features production from Scott Storch, Hi-Tek and Havoc (Mobb Deep), as well as appearances from his LOX cronies, Talib Kweli and dancehall reggae legend Sizzla that assert The Ghost isn’t going soft.

But, he is adjusting his outlook.

The lead single “I’m Black” featuring Floetry began circulating in time for Black History Month and features Styles lyrically enlightening heads to the dilemmas and delights of being a Black man over Alchemist’s regal production.

And the 30-year-old rapper is suspects the song may be mistaken for a play at publicity. “I’m just Black, it ain’t got nothing to do with Black History Month,” says Styles. “I’m Black all year round. To be realistic, I suggest you find out your history and what it’s about, but even if you don’t want to do that I suggest you see what’s going on now as a Black person and know you’re Black.”

Known for lyrics heavy on gun busting and hardcore hood cinema, Styles is leery of being cited for hypocrisy.

“Whether you want to judge me or not, it’s on you,” he says. “I could come out like I’m all positive, but it wouldn’t be the truth. I could come out like I’m all negative and shoot ‘em up, but it wouldn’t be the truth. Some people when they get in a position they’re forced to try to say they’re something and they’re not always that. If I make a song and it’s talking something wild, that’s the song I felt like making. I believe in creativity. People don’t knock a song about sex, but we all got kids, right or wrong?”

Despite disparaging remarks from 50 Cent in the March issue of XXL Magazine towards Jadakiss and his dis track “Piggybank,” Styles insists that his D-Block brethren are going to keep level heads regardless of the snide commentary.

“I’m pretty sure he even know who’s better lyrically, let’s be serious,” says Styles P, who never mentions 50 by name. It should be noted that 50, his contentious label mate (both record for Interscope Records) said, “I'm the hardest from New York, my flow is bonkers, All the other hard n****s, they come from Yonkers," on “Back Down” from 2002’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’.

“We selling a lot of records in the same place. Being a business man-we CEO’s [D-Block Entertainment]-us flying off the hinges doing some crazy s**t I don’t think is good business for us right now. If people have a problem they should handle it in a real way, as real people do. Talking and doing articles and songs…that shit is corny. But this is a world of gimmicks. I ain’t going to be the ignorant n***a on MTV and BET first. You know how they promote bulls**t when bulls**t happens. It’s what they want you to do,” says Styles.

Styles has been known to engage in his share of beef, both on the mic and off. He was party to a serious gripe with Beanie Sigel and got out of jail in August 2003 for stabbing a man in the buttocks. The newly engaged father insists that those days are behind him.

D-Block, the crew and business, is moving in different directions as well.

The company, which released Sheek’s Walk Witt Me last year and houses LOX progeny J-Hood, recently inked a distribution deal with Koch Records. D-Block President Supa Mario says that "more money and control" was the reason for their exit from Universal Records, but still considered Warner Brothers, Def Jam and Virgin.

Their business acumen isn’t the only thing that assures that Styles and D-Block will remain at the forefront of hardcore, New York Hip-Hop. "Anybody that knows me or works with me will tell you that I put in a lot of work. That’s part of my reputation. This album I doubled up and I went superhard. Time is money man."

Even though Styles stands before a fork in the road of life, he’s positive of the direction he wants to take.