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      Rap / Hip Hop / Alternative
      “I don’t think they’re going to expect what I’m coming with,” says Styles Peniro (né David Styles) about his upcoming sophomore album, Time Is Money. A member of the storied Yonkers, NY descended trio The LOX, it was a matter of time before each member would pursue their own solo projects. But wh... read more
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      “I don’t think they’re going to expect what I’m coming with,” says Styles Peniro (né David Styles) about his upcoming sophomore album, Time Is Money. A member of the storied Yonkers, NY descended trio The LOX, it was a matter of time before each member would pursue their own solo projects. But where Styles, Jadakiss and Sheek differ from the status quo is that their impeccable solo projects match the standards set by their group efforts. As Styles P readies to drop his follow up 2002’s critically acclaimed A Gangster & A Gentleman, he’s confident in his abilities to not only continue his cliques’ reputation for banging Hip-Hop, but also cement his rep as one of the rap game’s illest lyricists.

      Whether as part of the triple threat that is The LOX or as a solo artist, Styles’ razor sharp slick talk has enamored him to countless heads that like their Hip-Hop hard to the core. “I always looked at myself as one of the hardest, street spittin’ MCs,” he says.

      While he proved that he had the goods to hold an album down for self with A Gangster & A Gentleman, the album’s run was prematurely cut short. While in the midst of promoting the album, Styles was ordered to turn himself in and serve an eight month sentence for charges stemming from an altercation a year before. The involuntary vacation, he was released August 4, 2003, served as a serious wake up call to his priorities.

      “When I was sitting in jail I didn’t make any music. But the first two lines of “I’m Black”, I thought of that in jail and I just kept it in my head,” says Styles of the inception of what may be his most important song to date. “For the longest time I was telling myself I wanted to do a song about being Black. But I never did it. When I came out Alchemist played the beat, and that was it.”

      The magnificent track “I’m Black” featuring Marsha Ambrosius of Floetry is Time is Money’s lead single and finds Styles P lyrically offering a glimpse of what it’s like to be a Black man in an inherently racist world. Despite his propensity for gun busting lyricism, he’s always dropped a certain amount of knowledge in his verses. “I want to be known as the kid who’s saying some shit, and I hope that people catch the jewels,” he says. “Even when I’m coming hard, I always throw a jewel in it.”

      “I’m a lyricist,” he continues. “We’re in an industry where lyrics don’t really count anymore. The beat and the hook count. Nobody really cares what you say as long as they can play it in the club. But, at the same time they’re plenty of people that want to hear something.”

      Throughout Time is Money Styles continuously packs on the heat that makes it one of 2005’s most anticipated releases. Though those familiar with the mixtape circuit have been privy to scorching Styles linguistics regularly, the album showcases more refined verses and finely chiseled songs. On “How We Live” dancing flutes and strings converse over thunderous kicks as Styles weaves thoughtful lyrics throughout the Havoc (Mobb Deep) produced track. The Mario Winans produced “First in Line” sports an underwater groove with thick shuffling base. More gems are provided by Scott Storch (“Day You Die”), Coco Chanel (“Tryin’ to Get Rich Homes”) and Bink! (“Watch Ya Self”).

      “The standout experience I had in the studio with another artist was my joint with Sizzla, it was just magic in the room,” says Styles about teaming with the reggae legend on “Fire & Pain”. “The song with Talib Kweli, I knew that was going to be ill too,” he adds about “Testify”, where he teams with the Brooklyn rapper for some hardcore consciousness over Hi-Tek’s rubbery bass, where he kicks, “Damn right I make gangsta music, but I spit poetry just like Langston Hughes did.”

      With Time is Money Styles sidesteps any notions of a sophomore slump by instead accomplishing the impressive task of surpassing the high expectations set after his solid debut album. For Styles, it was always part of his job description. “I always try to improve and get better,” he says. “Once you get to a point where you don’t need to get better, then you don’t need to be here.”

      Categories: Music | Hip Hop/Rap

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