Last updated: 04/24/2013 02:11:35 PM
“…I don’t see myself as a positive or negative…I’m a gentleman if you’re a gentleman and I’m definitely a gangsta’ if you’re a gangsta’.” –Styles P.
When Hardcore is an Understatement
Styles P., government name David Styles, is no ordinary rapper. He embodies true thug-life to the fullest, and then some. His blood gauging lyrics will leave you cringing and wounded. A hardcore runner whose thugged-out persona leaves admirers and challengers for the chase—and he’s so far ahead of the game that there isn’t anyone who’s remotely close to catching up. Simply put: Styles P. keeps it so real, one look and, he’ll make any “Ruff-Neck” go soft. And these aren’t attributes he chose to take on willingly, these traits stem from personal experiences that have molded him to be one of the most—if not the most—grimiest and most lethal rapper around today.
Now, unleashing fire on his solo debut project, “A Gangster and a Gentleman,” Mr. Styles P. drives skills so hard not even the strongest MC can break ‘em. Once a Bad Boy Entertainment devotee—LOX was signed to Sean Combs label during their “Money, Power, Respect” days—Styles, still a committed member of the LOX crew, rips chests open and leaves hearts hanging for questioning. You’re either with him or against him, plain and simple.
Power, Substance, Style
Born in Corona, Queens, Styles moved to Yonkers NY at the age of seven. And he considers himself to be a Yonkers man because he has spent a third of his life there, on Groshan Ave. His mother, a South African woman from Johannesburg, and his father, a Brooklyn native, have been instrumental in his development as a lyricist—whether directly or indirectly. The streets have taught him what it means to be loyal, to be aware, to beware and to know that life spares no one. “I basically grew up in the ghetto like most black boys,” says Styles. “My man “BG” (Black Garf) and I use to go outside for the hustlin’. Ralph and me started off “bottlin’ up” and then started pumpin’. Ya know, the regular stuff young boys do in the ghetto.” Drugs, guns and stabbed backs become routine in the streets. Styles had to decipher between who had his back and the people who tried to knife it. “Those kats are still my boys and I’ve got to respect everything I’ve been through,” testifies Styles. “Even t
hough I rap I still got the same niggas from day one.”
It wasn’t until he began spitting rhymes that Styles knew this art form would be his salvation. “I was rappin’ since I was nine. I remember always flowin’ wherever I went. I met Sheek in junior-high summer school. I met ‘Kiss in 9th grade,” recalls Styles. “Kiss and Sheek were already a group and I was a solo-ist from another part of town. But when I met them I started to roll wit ‘em. I would do little hooks, I would be in the background ‘cause they was better in the booth, and I ain’t have too much booth exposure. At the time we named the group “The Bomb Squad.” That’s when we got with Bad Boy and I had got popped with a burner. I was nineteen so I had to go to county jail. When I came out I met Dee (Ruff Ryders CEO) and he was already down with Sheek and ‘Kiss.”
When things didn’t turn out as planned with Bad Boy, “The Bomb Squad,” who had changed their name to the “LOX,” ran a street campaign to free themselves from their contract and after it was finally terminated got signed to Ruff Ryders. Now after multi-platinum success with the LOX, Styles P. has readied himself to represent the streets like no one has because Styles represents “the niggas with the hoodies on—struggling. Whatever’s on my mind I’m gonna speak it, so I ain’t never gon’ make it how I’m supposed to make it ‘cause I ain’t gon’ get in no meetings with nobody and kiss they’re ass. I love money and I love bein’ ai’ight but I love my honor and my respect more and that’s what I represent,” firmly states Styles.
“You see, I’m a gangsta,’ and a gangsta’ ain’t somebody who runnin’ around killin’ people. A gangsta’ is a nigga who takes care of home, his people and lives by the “rules” and lives by the “code.” A gangsta’ is a nigga who work 9-5 who just knows the rules of life and knows how to respect a man and how to be respected and he knows where to take it when he’s disrespected. You don’t have to be on the streets sellin’ crack and dope to be a gangsta.’ You can be a poet, a doctor, a construction worker or whatever. Like if ‘you’ do something to me I don’t believe in stoppin’ until my point is proven. I’m not gon’ stop unless you stop me or unless I’m incarcerated or bleeding badly or I’m dead.”
A Gangster and a Gentleman
Styles P. is a hardcore poet. His new album, A Gangster and a Gentleman, is a fine example of a black man’s ability to turn negatives into positives and live to tell the story. When a man like Styles P. hits the mic the landscape becomes far more interesting. “I don’t really MC. What I say I just say cause that’s how I feel. I always try to make a jewel in it. You might not catch what I’m sayin’ til later,” boasts Styles. A Gangster and a Gentleman is an audio documentary, taking the listener through every knit and cranny of one man’s pains, joys, aches, rebellions, defeats and conquests. It’s an all-personal report of his attitudes toward people, the streets, his little brother (who died in an accident), his family and life. For instance, “Black Magic” (feat. Angie Stone) is evidence of this.
Collaborating with such an artist shows how much influence Styles’ mother had on him—she’s an African born woman who instilled Black Pride into her children from an early age. The track is subtlety militant yet it rocks like a street anthem. The first single “Good Times” is yet another evident track showcasing Styles P’ lyrical genius and story telling. “I get high cause I’m in the hood, the guns is around, it takes a blunt, just to ease the pain and humble me down, and I rather roll something up, cause if I’m sobered up dog, I might just flip, grab my guns and just hold something up.” “Good Times” is an immaculate head bangin’ Swizz Beatz produced arsenal that is sure to be on full rotation on the streets, radio, and video.
Produced by heavy-hitters such as Swizz Beatz, DJ Clue, The Alchemist, Rockwilder, Shok, DJ Twinz and PK, A Gangster and a Gentleman is geared toward “those niggas in the jail cell, the murderers, the hustlers, deep thinkers and righteous men.” Other tracks such as “Daddy Get That Cash” (feat. Lil’ Mo), Latino (feat. Jadakiss), and “My Brother” (in memory of his lost sibling) are classics that’ll glitter beyond gold. Styles P. is a child of the ghetto—born and raised. He sold crack-cocaine in his teenage years yet wrote plays in high school. He’s a straight-up thug with a stern yet receptive spirit. When he says “Nobody can do it like me,” he’s telling the honest truth.