Styles P: Fear of a Black Poet

It’s a few days before the Millions More March and Styles P is getting him mind and his mic ready to attend. Without a doubt, Styles P is one of the most well respected rappers on the streets, and the charts. His flow and his personal flavor have made him a stand out not only in The Lox, but pretty much everywhere he walks.

As he readies his next release Time is Money, he candidly talks to about how “I’m Black” got ignored by mainstream radio, how we need to do more than just march, and how young folks need to get their minds right in 2005. What is your favorite song on Time is Money?

Styles P: All of them. It switches day to day, because they are all great. What’s your favorite one today?

Styles P: “This Is How We Live- it’s produced by Havoc. It’s about how we live in the ghetto. It’s about the s**t that happens. Like what?

Styles P: Smokin’ drinkin’, all kinda, shootin’ tryna make money. That’s what the song’s about. When you did “I’m Black,” it did not get the response on radio that many felt it deserved. How did that make you feel as an artist about the industry of radio and what it means for Rap artists who speak about positivity?

Styles P: I think they always put a negative spin on Hip-Hop. Then when an artist such as myself reaches out with an song like that, they shoot that s**t under the door. I think a lot of politics are involved. The song was dropped near Black History Month, and they still didn’t play the s**t right. But I’m cool with that. Because at least people recognized what I was doing. Does it make you want to speak about politics and social issues in your music less?

Styles P: It definitely makes you not wanna make a song like that your single. It changes your outlook on how you should try to distribute it out. You don’t wanna give a song like that to the main machine. It’s always a fight man. In the early 90’s Death Row Records rose up, and conscious Rap started to take a back seat. People used to say at the time “Oh conscious music does not have a good hook. It does not have good beats” and things like that. I always believed that was a lie created by the Rap industry executives.

Styles P: Definitely so. The industry is about money. The industry is not about the fans. It’s not about the people. I think people confuse industry with Hip-Hop. The industry is the hand that has the same seven songs you hear going everyday, on every radio station. That’s what the program directors want. That’s what the party people want. People who wanna party just wanna hear the party s**t. The street people just wanna hear raw lyrics. I don’t think there’s enough of that goin’ on. Are you going to the Millions More March?

Styles P: Oh yeah! I’ll be there! What are your thoughts about the significance of that day, the Nation of Islam and things of that nature?

Styles P: I think it has to be more than a day. I think everybody needs to recognize what we are dealing with in this day and age. We have to make ourselves stronger. Did you attend the last Million Man March?

Styles P: Nope. What did you do on that day?

Styles P: I don’t even know, to tell you the truth. So, what made you decide to participate in this one?

Styles P: To be honest with you, I’m not one who usually marches for the day. I play my part, and say what I could say when I could say it. But I feel like things have to happen a lot more often. I used to be like “Why go march and the next day that s**t is over with?” But now as I get older and more mature, I see. So playing my part will be better than staying at home and not saying nothin’. I’m my own Black Revolutionary party. Who are the three people that had the biggest influence on you, in terms of bringing positive things into your life?

Styles P: The three most influential people would be God, my mother and my wife. She influenced me to stay out of jail and think with a better mind. But on another note, that’s a long list. I could say Malcolm X. I never met him, but he really influenced me. Malcolm, Nelson Mandela and everybody on the streets who makes it happen who are nameless. Them kinda people. What three films or books motivated you the most?

Styles P: Malcolm X again. Manchild in the Promised Land by Claude Brown and Mis-education of the Negro, by Carter G. Woodson. For me, I thought that Black people were set up since the 1900’s. But when you read that book, you learn that we were set up since the 1800’s! How we are living in 2005 was set up way back in the 1800’s. That book made me know how real s**t is, ya know? A lot of times drama that happens in Hip-Hop bleeds over into the streets. Often this ends with tragic consequences and repercussions. What are your ideas on how various gangs and street organizations can empower themselves through the Millions More March as well as beyond the day itself?

Styles P: I think the problem is that the same s**t happens everywhere. A lot of people do care and do things to make the youth stronger. But if you look, none of the youth want to work for minimum wage. If you work for minimum wage, you’ll barely get by. A lot of us come from broken homes, which makes it so much harder. So, a lot of the youth feel that they have to do, whatever they have to do. It’s a f**ked up situation for the youth. I actually speak to incarcerated youth from time to time. What would you tell a young brother right now who is tryin’ to get his life right?

Styles P: I would not suggest anything but for the kid to find himself. Because he could have his eye on something nobody even knows about. Sometimes people are looking for an answer, but my answer may not be the answer for you. It may not match your will or your drive. Sometimes a person has to look deep within themselves and say “What do I want to do? What’s in my means realistically?” People have to follow their hearts.

Adisa Banjoko is the controversial author of the upcoming book “Lyrical Swords Vol. 2: Westside Rebellion” For more info visit: today!