Hip Hop is not just rap music and Soundscan numbers and clubs, drugs and hot booty. It is a way of life. With so many people forgetting that, it is no wonder that while Hip Hop may not be dead it has certainly has lost some of its ways. Platinum albums of artists promoting the lifestyles of the rich and morally foul take people further and further away from what it is and what it has always been. In this confusing and overly commercialized climate it is virtually impossible to find an artist, who will bring that old feeling back. Afterall there is only one Nas and even he thinks that we are all in trouble.
So it is as a breath of fresh air when artists bring it back and make it currently viable. Styles P may have gone Platinum with his first album but he never stopped repping for the streets. The streets is what this man is about and the streets is what he represents to the fullest. The man of few words and even fewer smiles, David Styles got your back when everyone else will only recognize the show-attending CD-buying crowd with ‘Thanks for your support’. Mobb Deep’s G Unit affiliation didn’t result in another ‘Shook Ones’ or even ‘Quiet Storm’, but rather in a club-oriented ‘Outta Control’. Whoo Kid has been spotted saying that “back in the day it was corny raps”. Even ‘Kingdom Come’ is all about what was and not what it is now. Not Time is Money.
If you want to hear the real street swagger, the in-your-face statements, the I-don’t-give-a-shit attitude, pick up a copy of this album.
In one of his recent shows, Styles said: “I do it for the streets, not for the fame, not to get rich… actually I do want to get rich, but [my heart is] still with the streets.’
Don’t get it twisted, Styles is not afraid of commercial success. Like Snoop, Jeezy, Obie and so many others he got a track with Akon. Like Kanye, Talib and Nas he took sounds from non-Hip Hop music and infused his beats with them. Still, his goal, his focus and his mind are with the people he knows. The people who struggle and are still on their grind. The people who love their neighborhoods. The people who stay real.
The story of this record could fill in the pages by itself. After leaving Bad Boy and sorting through all the typical label issues, Styles signed to the acclaimed Interscope. It seemed as if he finally caught a break. These guys understood him and promised to give just what this Yonker’s rapper needed – a proper outlet for the street poet. Who would have thought that 50’s constant disagreements with Ja, Jada and the LOX would make this label even a tougher environment for the LOX? At first everything seemed peachy. The LOX dropped Money, Power and Respect and then Styles came out with his own A Gangster and a Gentleman. His ‘I Get High’ hit off of that album was one the most played songs of ’02. Life was good. Then it was 50’s turn to make money for the label and Paniro was back to the mixtape world. His Ghost series mixtapes were great, but as all mixtapes were hard to find. While he may not give a damn about all these disputes, there are plenty of people who won’t let it go, starting with the label money makers and the label owners. Finally, after numerous delays, Time is Money hits the streets.
“When my album comes out Hip Hop will be back!”, Styles promised. “Just wait… I swear it will be worth the wait”
Relaxed in his vibe, even then Styles never drops his guard. Focused on himself for the moment, he is looking at the world to see its reaction to his new album, he wants to know if Hip Hop is still alive. Talking to WNT, he sounds exactly the same as he always has – honest, straight forward and to the point.