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#HumpdayHymnal: ‘Master of Ceremonies’ [Review]

Styles P of the Lox came out with his fourth studio album last month. Having been in the game for 15 years now, our man Law takes a look at how well he holds his own in a market full of fresh-faced kids in skinny jeans. And thank goodness for us, Styles is holding it down for the grown folk!

Styles P returns with his first solo in four years. You’d think after 4 years the Lox’s most underrated 3rd would come out weak and lose his step in this saturated market. This is the era hip hop brings another level to the fore in the midst of radio friendly bubble gum hits. It’s a bad bad time to come out with a whack album especially lyrically, considering Styles P aka the Ghost is a veteran in the game. Well hip hop headz… you are in luck!

Styles start off with “This is How I Fly” feat Avery Storm on the hook, catchy bumping but none compromising… This is that track you bump in the ride full of hip hop heads and hip hop queens, singing the hook, windows down, spilling merlot on your seats *sigh*. Listen closely and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the way he uses movies as metaphors to talk about the hip hop ‘plant ‘of choice.

“We Don’t Play” feat Lloyd Banks sets a darker mood with Banks actually audible while doing his thing and the beat reminiscent of Mobb Deep. Justice was done. Next, “I’m a Gee” feat Rell, gives me back goose bumps. The sample uses Blues guitar as if BB King stepped into the studio and laid that riff himself! Styles of course rides this like a skateboard. No gimmicks… no braggadocious talk either; just real talk. He sets off like “Most of us came from a broken home/Drowning all my sorrows/Drinking liquor trying to smoke alone”.   Hell, he sounds like me, sounds like most cats I know, sounds like real life. As a grown man this is the kind of hip hop you relate to. “Ghost – never on the swag sh*t/Guess it’s a sad thing my tarot card is magic/I remember I ain’t never have shit/December was cold but – February was drastic!/So pardon my ni88az and what they traffic; Or if they seem cold when the murder scene’s tragic.”   Slow down boy you killing me!

The beauty about a hip hop album that has passion is the feeling you get when you listen to it – Styles P put in work for this one. “Ride on the Regular” continues to take these young buck to school; spitting about his hood and how dudes are trying to get out. Some might say these are stories we have heard before. That might be true, however these are stories we must always hear because we cannot act like we are free when half of us are struggling. We can never be truly free economically and otherwise if poverty plagues our brothers and sisters still. Hence, for me, hood stories can never get old. Aja spits that Hebrews 11:1 at the end over easy basslines and angelic violins that penetrate instantly like an shot of tequila to your dome.

“Children” introduces the vet, Pharoahe Monch, to the album – addressing this new age generation with lines like “The birds play video games/Imitate wack rappers and the video dames. (brain washed!)/PlayStation, X-Box, laptop, desktop/I be askin’ myself: when will the mess stop/ {Children!} Snotty lil’ niggaz is too rude/All I know is cooler than YouTube – is makin’ it easy/with nothin’ realistic you can see on the TV (NOTHIN’!)/But they call this a reality show”.

“Street Sh*t” brings Sheek Louch to the fore, but Styles shines even better on the “Feelings Gone” track riding solo… The gem for me right now is still “Harsh”, feat Busta Rhymes and Rick Rozay… ooooohhh weeeeee!! (have to open a beer for this one) Just lyrical mastery over that boom boom bap, and piono chords that go crazy all over the beat like a naked child running around the crib breaking everything. Styles ends his first verse with a line “BIG is the only rapper I don’t think I’m better than”. Rozay rides the beat beautifully proving he is a very versatile rapper, riding commercial beats and going harder than a Viagra induced tool when the need arises (all puns copyrighted). Busta – of course and as expected – comes in on the hook and kills everything like a suicide bomber with no warning; he is the bully on the track. After this track the next 3 tracks kinda skip over my head; they are tight but this track right here is fire and boiling water all in one.

Done. Styles P album solid. Get it on Amazon or iTunes.

On that tip, please listen to Torae – for the Record, the Accomplices – Got away EP (FREE EP)

Keep hip hop alive!

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