When somebody lists Styles P in their Top Five Dead or Alive list, there’s not much you can say. You can disagree, but if you know anything about the Rap game, you respect that opinion. It doesn’t matter if the D-Block general opens up his fifth solo album with a parody on Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Man adverts, complete with ridiculous claims like, ‘”every gang in the world claims him as a founding member, even ones established before he was born’ and ‘he once had one hundred birds, drop off one hundred birds.” They’re jokes, but the reputation is solidified. Like the album states, Styles P really might be The World’s Most Hardest MC, but in a world where former parole officers are crowned king, the music is what matters most.
The album begins on track two with “Araab Styles.” The Ghost links with every street dude’s new favorite producer AraabMUZIK and it’s basically what you’d expect; devious keys, mean bass line, no hook, just bars like, “every rapper reppin’ the set, I know they pussy though / take my knife, stick it in ’em, like they a pussy hole,” and “shoot my brains out, shoot my heart out / catch me at the juice bar, pourin’ a little bark out.” Yes, that last line was about healthy living and it still sounds hard, no sarcasm. The Jahlil Beats produced “I Know” is more of the same, a banger that contains as many threats as it does boasts as it does depictions of unfortunate circumstances with, “momma singin’ Tina Turner trying to smile ’cause we poor.” That might sound confusing to some, but the hardest MC never misses a beat, making the complex sound simple.
If you skip past the singles, Styles plays to his other strength on “Like That,” an after-hours smoke anthem manifested over drifting synths that whisper paranoia. Another inevitable fan-favorite is “Murder Mommy.” While other rappers are struggling to do their best Drake impression for female fan support, Styles talks about backstabbing women who would make Kat Stacks wifey-material. It’s these types of songs that really separate the new generation from the ones before them. While younger rappers make pillow talk anthems – or worse, cartoonish songs about rape – Styles crafts this story about having no choice but to “gun butt” a chick in the grill for trying to get him first. You might find a hipster tickled by the imagery, but to Hardcore Rap fans, this is that unadulterated story-telling that will force them to throw him on their Top Five lists.
One thing that can never be taken away from Styles is his ability to stay relevant by working with all of your other favorite rappers. He’s on Rick Ross’ biggest street record (“BMF”), he’s doing EPs with Curren$y (#The1st28), he’s on the new Action Bronson (“Gateway to Wizardry”), and he’s got a collaborative album with the Wu. So it’s a head scratcher when he’s only got features from his D-block family. They’re not bad by any means, but having all the rappers from the same camp can get stale, something a feature is usually there to prevent.
Overall, you won’t find a highly conceptual track on here but there is enough solid material on here to make a strong case for The World’s Most Hardest MC, both in the street and on the mic.