Styles P - Phantom And The Ghost

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4.31

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"Phantom and the Ghost" contains several of the gems Styles P fans expect, but as a total album, it comes up short, particularly on the production front.

The Lox have been a staple in the New York Hip Hop scene for some time now. They were a part of Bad Boy in its heyday, and they were a major part of the Ruff Ryders movement. Since then, besides carrying their D-Block crew flag, each of the three members have been maintaining their own brands. Styles P has showcased a certain duality, continuing what he presented with his debut solo album A Gangster and a Gentleman back in 2002. That duality provided by Styles gives a perspective most other “gangster” rappers don’t provide. That duality is present on Phantom and the Ghost, as well as intricate lyrics and wordplay. However, lackluster production and often questionable hooks don’t do the verses on Phantom and the Ghost justice, and overall hold back the project.

“Used to pitch, the game didn’t cancel on rain day / Cy Young, I rather live old than die young / Then smile at death when my time come / Think deep, niggas even wonder where my mind from,” Styles spits on “Deeper Self”—one of the standout tracks. The beat is comprised of simplistic keys and drums for the most part. While the instrumental doesn’t necessarily shine, it doesn’t distract from the bars Styles lays over the track. Rarely is this the case. On “Never Safe,” P raps, “Serpents in my sleep, well as awake / I guess the angels got my back, or it could have been faith / ‘Cause my soul travel the Earth, out in the space / Think of my niggas on the highway, out of the state / Touching weight but a gym ain’t around / If you the king of the dead men, really do we get him a crown?” However, the instrumental sounds like a throw away Swizz Beatz track. “Rude Boy Hip Hop” finds Styles at his best; however, his verses don’t necessarily match the track title and Raheem Devaughn’s Reggae-inspired chorus. Those are some of the better moments

“Sour” featuring Jadakiss and Rocko, is on the opposite end of the spectrum. The song features a surprisingly forgettable Jadakiss verse and a beat more suitable for an Electronic music festival than a Styles P album. “We Gettin” finds Styles on the hook rapping, “Homie we gettin’ money, homie we gettin’ high / Homie we gettin’ women, homie we gettin’ fly / Do this with no effort, homie we don’t try / Homie we gettin’ rich, homie we gettin’ by.” The “no effort” part is very apparent not only by Styles’ rhymes (“Said she was from Soho, I said so hoe / I just want to see you up and down like a yo-yo / Then bucket on your head no Polo / Did you come with a crew, or you solo”) but also the synth-driven beat provided by Trey On Da Beatz.

Phantom and the Ghost appears to try to go too many places it probably shouldn’t. Styles’ verses are normally on point, but the production is generally a miss. The hooks, provided by either Styles or featured guests miss far too often as well. There are several lyrical gems to be found throughout the project as fans of SP have come to expect, but as a total album, this one comes up short.

35 Comments

  • Kartel

    Track 3 - 8 is fire ......SOURRRRRRRR!!!!! SOUR!!!!!!!!! The track with Chris Rivers IS Hard... So - Deep is a classic already

  • Credibility out the Window

    I feel like your credibility goes out the window as a reviewer when you fail to list the album title correctly. And it isn't like it was just a typo, since your review went to great pains to draw the false parallel between Gangster AND a Gentleman / Phantom AND the Ghost. Too bad we can all read the album cover.

  • Anonymous

    beats are 2/5 at best

  • Anonymous

    Why can't Styles P find any one who will give him better free beats.

  • alex

    2 guns up l.o.x lets fucking go!!!!!! great music like this, telling the truth is all we need

  • carAnthony

    As a big fan of SP I absolutely agree with this review... Absolutely! Lyrical content is great, beats r not that great tho. Rude Boy Hip Hop my fav, shit's dope. Deeper Self & Never Safe r great too. Just for me it's 3.5/5, u know I'm that big fan, lyrical content is great, beats not that great, bonus tracks are pretty good. Mighty mighty D-Block!

  • Irish Pride

    This album is too dope every place I seen a review has nothing but praise apart from the sour track this reviewer has no clue smfh

  • D.G

    I have always been a supporter of the L.O.X and this Album has some really good tracks but there are a few production mishaps. All in All I think it is a solid album, sh*t definitely bangs in the whip. "Bullpen" is straight hard body!!

  • Frosty

    Shit is dope. Goes D-Block hard, fuck what you heard. "We heat sprayers, plus you know the street made us"

  • shakir

    Straight fire classic work as always 5mics

  • reality check

    I've never seen a black brother called bruce. You, know someone who was raised on this culture. Not just took a liking to it. Like how we all like martial arts films kung fu shaolin ect. But never try to even comment on what the best style is... thats for the inheritors of martial arts culture to decide Get it?

  • O

    This album is a 5 real hip hop been banging this in my car for a week now.

  • O

    Yo this reviewer Bruce Smith is a idiot he gave this album a fucking 3 and 2 chainz ep gets a 4 what the fuck is going on????

  • Yonkers Blocks

    Crack!!!!!!!!! 5/5

  • HOOLLLIIIDDDDAAAYYYY

    This nigga SP goes in on this real street rap for the hood the jails and the poor folks ALBUM IS FIRE

  • Maow

    Styles P is the perfect example of a dope emcee who has never dropped a dope album. Not sure if it is due to production or what but I can never make it through a whole Styles P solo project without skipping 5 or 6 songs. All of his albums are mediocre with minimal repeat value. There are a lot of songs of his that are dope(especially those with Alchemist production). Jadakiss too has never dropped a memorable solo album(nothing worthy of classic status). I think these guys work better as a group instead of solo artists.

    • NC

      you havent heard all his albums then......The Green Ghost Project to name just one, is a steller album.......Master of Ceremonies was pretty good........and His first album Gangster and a Gentleman was a classic so I dunno what styles your talking about but it aint styles p......because pretty much all his albums banged except for The Worlds Hardest MC Project but even that wasnt bad. Oh yeah i forgot bout that Ghost Dub Dime Mixtape/Album.....that shit was Lava too.......GTFO

    • Anonymous

      Two word: Executive Producer. That's all what most of these guys need: proper guidance throughout the project. Their most common mistakes are lack of album concepts, incoherent beat selection, poor subject matter, badly chosen singles (even if they have worthy material), under- or oversized tracklists and the list goes on.

    • Bizzalls

      KISS THE GAME GOODBYE is a fucking classic. You people are fuckin idiots, straight up! Just about every song on that album is fire! WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?? Even his other albums are good! But his first is a classic no question!

    • LAME

      @ Ghost in a Shell i think they should focus on a lox album and come with a banger instead of so so albums

    • Ghost in a Shell

      Jadakiss don't make great solo albums kiss tha game goodbye had its moments far from classic tho Kiss of Death was his best few horrible tracks recked it and last kiss was just bad. Styles the most consistent of the group Gangster and a Gentleman is a classic and his mixtape work is up there with any mc. People sleep on sheek he aint as good as jada n sp but on the real his Walk Witt Me album is a fuckin classic there is not one weak track on there. Lox - We Are The Streets is one the realest albums ever made people really need to check these guys catalogue

    • LAME

      Co-sign. Some rappers must stick to group albums. No member of the LOX ever made a classic album. Nowadays everybody wants to go solo but are not album to carry an album by themselves. The following rappers never ever should do solo albums: - fabolous - cassidy - lloyd banks - jadakiss - sheek louch - styles p - havoc - inspektah deck - masta killa - mc ren - 50 cent

  • T-Ram

    20 years same old lyrics but that's fans expect. I wanna emphasize his weak production selection these years.

  • Bob Sacamano

    Its a good album but not as good as Float.

  • DOWNLOADING FOR FREE

    im gonna download this for free , fuck paying for this album MUAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAH

  • Longbeach

    D-BLOCK!!! Phantom and the Ghost, Cocaine Pinata and PTSD best albums this year

  • bx

    u niggas serious?? this album dope as fuck

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  • sp the gunfire is rapid

    The fuck wit dat rating this his best shit since green ghost project

    • Anonymous

      Bruce, I hope it wasn't really you who wrote that comment... If it was, grow the fuck up.

    • Bruce Smith

      Oh it's shit, alright. Just not his BEST shit. His best shit is in the toilet. Oops, that would be this album. Ahahaha!