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 Akons Locked Up Remix, Jadakiss Why? Remix and countless mixtape cameos, Styles insists the highly anticipated follow up to 2002s 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 albums promotion.
I always look at myself as one of the hardest, street spittin MCs. I feel Im the best, but on a hardcore tip. I cant honestly say that I feel Im 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 cant 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 isnt going soft.
But, he is adjusting his outlook.
The lead single Im 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 Alchemists regal production.
And the 30-year-old rapper is suspects the song may be mistaken for a play at publicity. Im just Black, it aint got nothing to do with Black History Month, says Styles. Im Black all year round. To be realistic, I suggest you find out your history and what its about, but even if you dont want to do that I suggest you see whats going on now as a Black person and know youre 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, its on you, he says. I could come out like Im all positive, but it wouldnt be the truth. I could come out like Im all negative and shoot em up, but it wouldnt be the truth. Some people when they get in a position theyre forced to try to say theyre something and theyre not always that. If I make a song and its talking something wild, thats the song I felt like making. I believe in creativity. People dont 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.
Im pretty sure he even know whos better lyrically, lets 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 2002s Get Rich or Die Tryin.
We selling a lot of records in the same place. Being a business man-we CEOs [D-Block Entertainment]-us flying off the hinges doing some crazy s**t I dont 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 aint going to be the ignorant n***a on MTV and BET first. You know how they promote bulls**t when bulls**t happens. Its 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 Sheeks 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 isnt 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. Thats 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, hes positive of the direction he wants to take.