Styles P is quite possibly the only artist who can go four years between album releases and yet have it still feel for fans like he hasn’t gone anywhere.
Whether he’s releasing a series of weekly freestyles over other artist’s instrumentals, or dropping his own original-material mixtapes (a la 2010’s double dose of Pinero via The Green Ghost Project and The Ghost Dub-Dime), Styles makes sure to satisfy his supporters cravings for street-sensible lyricism by any means necessary.
But now the rapper/author (whose first novel, Invincible, can be read in part for free at StylesP.net) is looking to add-on to his official discography with the release of his fourth studio album, Master of Ceremonies (due October 4th).
Last Tuesday (September 6th), The Ghost spoke to HipHopDX about his first official offering since 2007’s critically acclaimed Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman) and its eye-popping production lineup of Warren G, Pete Rock, Statik Selektah, Reef and more. In addition to discussing his new solo effort, Styles revealed to DX that two-thirds of The L.O.X. have been keeping their eye on the throne, before he declared himself to be the occupant of that throne and better than “whoever’s out now.”
HipHopDX: I gotta jump things off by asking how The Ghost and The G-Child, Warren G, came to be collaborating?
Styles P: That’s my man. That’s my peoples right there. I’ve known Warren [G] for a long time. And then he be with my peoples, the Bartendaz …. Warren’s a cool dude, yo. I got like two songs with Warren, the “Love Barbara” track and then I also got a [track] on my album. The one on the album is called “How I Fly” featuring Avery Storm.
DX: Is the sound of that joint some smooth shit?
Styles P: Yeah. It’s a get high song.
DX: Oh okay. [Laughs] Now another producer I gotta ask you about is Alchemist. You know after “Make Millions From Entertainment,” [from The Green Ghost Project] and especially after the classic “All I Know Is Pain,” that your supporters need those Styles/Alc joints. So how many heaters did Alc give you this time out?
Styles P: Alchemist ain’t on this joint. He was busy. He was working, so we ain’t connect up like we usually do.
DX: Just out of curiosity, how often do people come up to you about “All I Know Is Pain?” Is that a joint that people talk about much [with you]?
Styles P: I get a lot of different songs [mentioned] from a lot of different people. Like, everybody got they own set of songs [they like]. Some people love when I work with Al, some people be asking me about me and Vinny [Idol], some people like the me and [DJ Premier] joints.
DX: Switching from your producer partners to your fellow emcee collaborators, I saw Pharoahe Monch’s name listed in the lineup for your new album. Is that “Black Hand Side” or did y’all do another new cut together?
Styles P: That’s on his [W.A.R. (We Are Renegades) album, “Black Hand Side.” This one’s for my album. It’s called “Children,” and Pete Rock produced it. Talking about the kids, and … how they come up in the hood, how they come up in the ‘burbs …. It’s my take on how things are different today growing up from how we grew up, and the differences of the things they see and do today. And basically that they the future, so we gotta try to guide ‘em right.
DX: You and Pharoahe have that street/conscious chemistry, [but] are you and Pharoahe really gonna bless us all with that joint mixtape Pharoahe told Forbez DVD about?
Styles P: Yeah, we just trying to get the timing right. We both got a lot of projects, so we definitely just trying to get the timing right.
DX: Have you recorded anything specifically for it yet?
Styles P: I don’t wanna tell you nothing – get me to be the one that leak the joint out here.
DX: [Laughs] No tentative title? Give me a tentative title.
Styles P: [Laughs] Nah, I’m not giving you anything. Ghost don’t rat.
DX: [Laughs] You still droppin’ your own solo mixtape before Master of Ceremonies?
Styles P: I actually pulled it, because it really wasn’t a mixtape, it was really an album. So I didn’t want it to bump heads [with Master of Ceremonies]. … My staff, and my team, we all pulled back, we listened to it, we was gonna release it, and then we thought, “You know what? This don’t even sound nothing like a mixtape.” Like, it’s all [original] songs completed, [with] hooks, different vibes …. Usually when I do a mixtape album, I keep it on a point of just goin’-in real, real hard, but on this mixtape I was goin’-in hard but I was also making a point of where I could make songs that even a person who wasn’t on a hard tip could relate …. I tried to be a little more broader on this one. … I wanted to make like girl songs, but shit that I would say and do and be about.
DX: Switching gears, the game ain’t shit without L.O.X., but it ain’t okay. [Laughs] You told MTV recently that “paperwork” and “politics” are behind the decade-plus delay on a formal group album. Have y’all politicked about that paperwork since y’all talked to MTV?
Styles P: We really close now. I think we really close, and we getting to the end. It ain’t all the way there yet, but we getting close. It’s been looking better than it has ever looked before. We keeping a positive vibe and just hoping that it works. I mean, we try to tell people put two and two together: you never hear a solo project without hearing [the] other two, you always see us together, you always hear us three work together, you hear how much music we put out over the years, [so] if it was up to us it woulda been a L.O.X. album out. It’s politics, ain’t nothing we can do. I mean, we could do something but …
DX: Would y’all start up another old school “Let The LOX Go” campaign at this point in y’alls career?
Styles P: Nah. I don’t see us doing that. We businessmen now; we not so much … young. We learned how to work things out business-wise. We coulda went that route, but what we trying to do is keep it business. We could use our power and flip, but nah, we don’t do that. We gonna use our brains and get it done the right way.
DX: You don’t be chuckin’ chairs anymore? [Laughs]
Styles P: Nah, man. [Laughs] I’m trying to live a more positive life and walk on a more positive note now. I juice up; I run a juice bar, try to stay positive, so … I can’t be doing things like that, unless I’m forced.
DX: Now, The L.O.X. obviously have gotta deal with those issues, but do you know if we’re gonna get a Wu-Block [album]?
Styles P: Yeah, Wu-Block’s coming. The Wu-Block’s definitely coming. And, Sheek [Louch]’s working on his next solo. [Jadakiss is] working on his next solo. … Me and ‘Kiss are working on an In And Out album. And we definitely working on The L.O.X. album, so …
DX: You talking about you and ‘Kiss are doing like a duo album?
Styles P: Yeah.
DX: Have you started recording for it, or it’s just a concept right now?
Styles P: We gotta – hey, I don’t wanna give up no info on that one. [Laughs]
DX: [Laughs] It’s gonna be like how y’all went on the “Otis” freestyle though?
Styles P: Yeah, basically. If you been listening, we been on a few joints [going] in-and-out. Lately, we been doing this. We always done that. But we felt since that’s so popular nowadays, we might as well [do a whole album going back-and-forth].
DX: That’s not even about right now; that’s Run-DMC, that’s old school.
Styles P: Yeah, definitely. That’s EPMD. That’s Run-DMC. Shit, even Slick [Rick] and Doug E. [Fresh] did it.
DX: I wanna wrap up this quick Q&A by asking you about a bar you spit on your new single, “Harsh” : “Big is the only rapper I don’t think that I’m better than.” Do you really believe that or was that just some nut-grabbin’ –
Styles P: Yeah, of course I believe that. Why would I say that if I didn’t believe it? Of course I believe it.
DX: Rakim, [Big Daddy] Kane –
Styles P: I’m talking about my era. I’m talking about everybody in my era. I consider Rakim, Kool G. Rap, [Big Daddy] Kane, KRS-[One], Chuck D and all of those to be my teachers and my forefathers and my sensei’s, masters, whatever you wanna say. So when I talk about I’m better than somebody, I mean who’s out now and in my age group. When [Mike] Tyson was saying he was the best, I don’t think he was trying to disrespect [Muhammad] Ali. So I mean, whoever’s out now, I think I’m better than. Bar none.