Styles P. Interview
|Next Project:||Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman)|
|Twitter:||Styles P on Twitter|
|Website:||Styles P's Website|
Although Sprite seems to think that “Image is Nothing,” they are clearly in denial. In the world in which we all live, image is everything. Unfortunate as it is, but undeniably true.
To some in the Hip-Hop world, rappers can either portray themselves as a “gangster” or a “gentlemen.” Despite the stereotypical belief that the two mentioned personality styles are on polar opposites of the image spectrum, it is in fact possible to be one in the same.
Just ask Yonkers native, Styles P. An original member of the famous trio, The Lox, and a current constituent of D-Block, SP is determined to prove that not only can you be a “gangster and a gentlemen,” but be super and extraordinary at the same time.
During an interview with DJBooth’s DJ “Z,” Styles P. talks about what elements of living blow his mind, why former D-Block member J-Hood got off easy for his untimely departure from the group, which record label the Lox might sign their new deal with and who would win an intergalactic battle between SP “The Ghost” and SP “The Phantom.”
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Styles P Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on ya’ll? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is one of my favorite lyricists. A man who once again will set out to prove you can be both a gangster and a gentleman. Please welcome Yonkers native Styles P – how you doin’?
Styles P: Z, what’s up, baby?
DJ Booth: Man, what’s up is you have an album that’s gonna be droppin’. The release date is set in stone, and there’s no doubt about it – it’s gonna be in stores this December.
Styles P: Oh yeah, December 4th is my day, brother. I ain’t playing around, I’m not joking – I’m back at it. Last winter I released an album; it wasn’t what I wanted, it didn’t come out how I wanted it to come, it wasn’t the time, it wasn’t right. I’m in a whole new situation, a whole new world, I’m feelin’ great.
DJ Booth: Great. Last we spoke you offered up an interesting quote. You said, “I think I’m pretty much not marketable. I’m not trying to sell much other than my lyrics and my soul.” That was during your last days at Interscope. Now you’re in a new situation, over at Koch – do you feel differently?
Styles P: I feel differently ‘cause I feel like they’re marketing hip hop over here. I feel like I don’t have a gimmick. There’s no gimmick, no nothing – you know what you gettin’. It’s more of a hip hop, in-tune company, more of a company that probably appreciates what I do. Not sayin’ Interscope didn’t, but they got many big artists who they gotta tend to, who’s doing much bigger things than I am. I just give my heart and soul [in] the lyrics, the same shit, from then to now.
DJ Booth: This December you’re going to release “‘Super Gangster, Extraordinary Gentleman.” Since your debut of a similar title dropped back in ‘02, how has your gangster level been elevated to super, and your gentleman status to extraordinary?
Styles P: I think “super” ‘cause the things I’ve been through, for how long I’ve been on the streets and been an artist on the streets, and from the street survey. And it’s just how I hold myself down, the way I carry myself – I’m well-respected by all the gangsters. That’d pretty much make me a super gangster. What makes me “extraordinary gentleman,” is on the fact that I am a super gangster but I still carry myself cool, still have manners, still respectable. I know how to handle things both ways. I’m very much a respectable businessman – I’m just extraordinary. Just point blank I’m extraordinary!
DJ Booth: Doing both is certainly walking a fine line, and very few artists can do that. What makes you feel as though you’ve been able to be both business-minded and appeal to the streets, and never compromise one or the other?
Styles P: To tell you the truth, that’s installment from my mom at an early age. When you’re raised on the street or in the ghetto, it is what it is when you get outside. But what’s instilled in you in your household you should carry with you your whole life. My mom always told me to be respectable, have manners, treat people how you wanna be treated, never violate anyone who hasn’t done anything to you or violated you. I try to keep carrying that on to my manhood.
DJ Booth: Well, shout-out to SP’s mom!
Styles P: Yeah, all day. I think it’s not just me, I think it’s many gangsters and gentleman. And when I first made the first album, I wanted the world to understand that, that you could be a gangster and a gentleman. A lot of people who’s out there, ‘cause you see them with a hoodie on, they come from a certain neighborhood – don’t automatically count them out as like they’re not a gentleman or they’re not respectable young men.
DJ Booth: You’re out to prove that that stereotype should not exist.
Styles P: No, it definitely shouldn’t.
DJ Booth: Lead single off the project entitled “Blow My Mind,” featuring and produced by Swizz Beatz. We both know what the meaning of the song is about, but in life, what absolutely blows your mind?
Styles P: Life, period. Like, who the f*ck made the alphabet. How God gave man the mind to make a bridge? How water’s water? How you just breathe in the air? And going to sleep.! Insects, animals – you know, the basic sh*t in life that you probably just look at it as regular, like breathin’, talkin’ – how is the body able to talk? How is it that we’re talking beings and no other animal can talk? What’s on other planets? Like, tons of sh*t blows my mind.
DJ Booth: I couldn’t agree more. It’s funny because we all think about these things, but very few people voice them.
Styles P: Yeah!
DJ Booth: Earlier this month, you released a statement regarding the departure of former D-Block member, J-Hood. I’m not gonna go into detail, but in it you acknowledged his unhappiness with the label for not releasing a project over six years’ time. So, why wasn’t an album ever dropped?
Styles P: I think the same reason Papoose has never dropped an album and the same reason Saigon never dropped an album, or Red Cafe never dropped an album. We’ve been in the game for a long, long time. So you know when something’s going to be street, or actually cross over from street to making it in [the] industry. Hood is definitely loved by the streets, but he wasn’t embraced by the industry. So it’s something you have to keep workin’ on – you don’t wanna drop him and then his career’s a dud and then he’s mad at us, and he’s not as successful as The Lox. We’re a keystone group in hip hop, but that’s only for our strong lyrics, hard work, and being able to make a song that is capable of the whole world listening to it, even though we are who we are. He didn’t have that particular formula yet, and we was all tryin’ to work on it and give it to him, but it just ain’t happening yet. And another thing is, when you out for six years, if you would’ve made the song and it would’ve been a certain song to make an album, then the album [would have] came out. Certain things are undeniable. The undeniable sh*t didn’t happen! You heard Flex on the radio sayin’ Sheek begged them, and we tried to get songs to them, and none of the songs grabbed.
DJ Booth: After 6 years’ time, for an artist who put in hard work but really did not produce anything to make it to that next level, is there a certain point where you say, “Maybe this is not the direction I should be taking in life. Maybe I shouldn’t rap?”
Styles P: I can’t really say that for anyone, ‘cause you gotta always follow your heart and chase your dream. And if you’re good at something, just keep tryin’. But the golden gates don’t open for everyone. People always judge a book by its cover or think that everything that glitters is gold, and that’s not the case. And shit, I was rapping since I was seven, man.
DJ Booth: So you put in way longer than six years…
Styles P: I was a rapper since I was seven years old. No bullsh*t to you. I still, to this day, haven’t gotten what I wanted out of rap, still haven’t got multiple big-time, huge checks that I should’ve had. I’m nicer than damn near everybody, but sh*t happens. You gotta keep hittin’ the drawing board, man. If a person can’s keep hittin’ the drawing board, then that’s why I was willing to say he can be out, ‘cause he ain’t cut from the same cloth we come from.
DJ Booth: What’s interesting about this is, if every rapper who had their project remain inn ‘standby mode’ decided to diss their label and then request to be dropped, the game would have nothing but free agents…
Styles P: Nothing at all but free agents.
DJ Booth: And really, then, hip hop would probably go in the toilet at that point, because there’d be no marketing at all for anybody.
Styles P: No doubt. But see, it backfired on him. You should as an artist want to say when you’re unhappy, and when you don’t like what’s going on with your label, which he did. I stated [it] was all right and cool and it was no problem. He went off doing the other sh*t that was crazy, goin’ on with 50, draggin’ the chain and all of that sh*t. This is different from some corporate people– we from the hood. We came up with you, we tried to help you out. We put you on our major albums, which you should be appreciative of. Nobody had to put you on no major Lox album or Styles album, or whatever.
DJ Booth: SP, when you talked to him before the chain was dragged, before he went on stage with 50, did you try to convince him not to leave the group, or at that point was it already-
Styles P: Not at all. I told him it was cool and I understood his frustration. Not my style, man – I’ve been through that point.
DJ Booth: You better than a lot of artists, unfortunately, know about the struggles that come with putting out a major album and having to wait for its release date. If he couldn’t listen to you and understand where you’re coming from with it, I don’t know who better to speak with?
Styles P: Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. I always wanted to be cool, but f*ck it. Whatever. That’s why I had no qualms and I was just willing to be whatever. But he went and did some d*ck ass sh*t and some idiot sh*t. When I’m tellin’ him he could go scot-free with no paper, you know we ain’t gonna f*ck you up or I ain’t gonna f*ck him up. Louch might wanna smack him but I ain’t gonna let him smack him or do nothing to him. So you take advantage and then disrespect something we built after you spoke to me like a man? This situation, I’m through with it. He gotta handle that sh*t with Louch and Kiss.
DJ Booth: Well, like we said: it’s in the past – let’s focus on the future from when here on out. Something that I’ve been awaiting; I know a lot of people feel the same way – what is the latest status on the pursuit of a label home for The Lox?
Styles P: We just makin’ the album right now, to tell you the truth.
DJ Booth: So, you don’t even care about the label, that’ll come.
Styles P: We ain’t thinkin’ about that till we finish the project. I think with hip hop sometimes, and a lot of people should understand that it’s crawl before you walk or practice the jumpr before you get on the foul line at the game. Get the body of work done first, focus on that. But we got heat. We definitely got some heat! Everybody wants the Lox album. People go, “We heard it’s gonna be Def Jam.” It’s not just Def Jam – everybody wants it, you know?
DJ Booth: Well, if I ran a record label, which I don’t, I’d give you a record deal right now without even hearing it.
Styles P: That’s what I’m saying. A lot of people would – that’s why we’re just chilling.
DJ Booth: SP, you recently dropped a mix tape with DJ Big Mike entitled, “Styles P: The Phantom Menace.” If you had an intergalactic battle versus yourself, who would win?
Styles P: [laughter] People are starting asking me that – you’re the first interviewer to ask me that, but people on the street ask me that a lot. I don’t know right now, ‘cause Ghost is my root, where I’m from, that’s how I started, but Phantom was like me enlightenment, my new way of seein’ things; a new way of goin’ in and just new energy and light. So it’s like they’re versus each other but they’re one and the same. I feel since Spidey did beat The Venom, though…
DJ Booth: Well, one thing we know: no matter who came out on top, it would be hella entertaining to listen to, so that’s all I care about.
Styles P: I appreciate that, brother.
DJ Booth: No problem. Did you know that Boston Red Sox outfielder, Manny Ramirez, attempted to use “Good Times” as his introduction music during home games at Fenway Park this [past] season?
Styles P: Yeah, I was aware – oh, this year again?
DJ Booth: Yeah.
Styles P: I heard he got banned for it before! He’s tryin’ for it again?
DJ Booth: After a few listens, the team decided they were not gonna allow it permanently, because of quote unquote, “raw lyrics, and promotion of drug use.” Had you known, would you have just merely suggested they us the radio edit?
Styles P: Yeah, they could’ve used the radio edit! Tell Manny Ramirez I love him, man. ‘Cause I know he tried to do it before – he tried to bring the song back again?
DJ Booth: Mm-hm.
Styles P: Tell him to play “Blow Your Mind” this time.
DJ Booth: That’s exactly what I’ll tell him.
Styles P: Somebody send Manny Ramirez a copy of “Blow Your Mind” and see if he can get away with that one!
DJ Booth: SP, give everybody your website, your Myspace page, so they can find out more about your brand new album.
DJ Booth: That’s what I’m talkin’ about! SP, I appreciate your time, man. Nothing but the best of luck.
Styles P: All right, bro – be easy.