Gangster and A Gentleman-Styles P

“Gangster and A Gentleman”  Definitely one of my top five album titles ever.   14 years ago, David Styles aka Panero aka The Ghost aka Holiday Styles aka Styles P; with more monikers than Apollo Creed, dropped his debut album.  Styles is one third of the mighty Lox.   Through the many conversations of the best groups of the 90’s, The Lox are rarely brought up in discussion, which has always disappointed me.  Now we all know the story of Jada, Sheek, and Styles.  The Lox started out on Bad Boy, but they were one group of MC’s that Puff just couldn’t keep strapped in those pesky shiny suits.  Once they were able to do their own thing in the late 90’s, we were blessed with The Lox’s debut album, Jadakiss’ debut, and their participation on 3 Ruff Ryder compilations.   Soon after this, Styles began dropping singles and oh my damn, they were monsters!

styes

You must have been living under the Grand Canyon if you didn’t hear 2002’s “I Get High/Good Times”.   This was released in June and was dedicated to his love of the beautiful Mary Jane.  The music sampled Freda Payne’s lovely, “I Get High”.  Though she didn’t share Styles same love for weed.  This song was extremely catchy and even found its way on the Oscar nominated “Soul Plane”

 A couple weeks later the Pharaohe Monch assisted “My Life” was released and this almost brought a tear to me eye.  Styles rhymes

Is based on, lightin blunts, loadin guns
Tellin my lawyers to get the case gone (uh-huh)
I need the bills that the presidents got they face on
So I can switch my residence – get a truck and a Lex
Fuck a check, I no longer have to wait for ’em

Monch’s hook to this new millennium classic is among the best ever.

My life is all I have
My rhymes, my pen, my pad
And I done made it through the struggle, don’t judge me
What you say now, won’t budge me
Cuz where I come from, so often
People you grew up with are layin in a coffin
But I done made it through the pain and strife
It’s my time now, my world, my life
My life…

A video was shot and featured a who’s who of  NY rappers and DJ’s.

The worst thing about this joint was that it was under 4 minutes.  I could have enjoyed this masterpiece for about 15.37 minutes with no interruptions.

Both of these singles were added to ”Gangster and a Gentleman” which only made this album more fire.   We begin with a 30 second introduction.   Short and sweet, just an introduction from The Ghost himself, to this evening’s proceedings. Next is his smash “I Get High” The next two songs are solid, then the soulful Angie Stone joins Styles on the introspective “Black Magic”   This was the first time you realize, Styles has different layers to persona.  “Listen” is along these same lines.    He’s not all about gun talk.   He’s a gangster AND a gentleman.  Lil Mo joins the party on “ Daddy Get That Cash”.  This is an updated “Gangsta Bitch” by Apache(RIP)  Young’uns go research that classic immediately.  The music is cinematic and was the perfect soundtrack to his Bonnie and Clyde tale.   “

I’m so gangsta that, just know’n myself makes me affiliated

is one of the best lines from the album.

“Lick Shots” is next and features Sheek, Jada, and J Hood.   Simple production and stellar wordplay from the brethren make this enjoyable.  “Get Paid” is another enjoyable listen.   The beat sounds like something from a kid’s cartoon show on Saturday afternoon.   That must have been the goal because it fits with the cute kids singing on the hook..

Can I get paid? I’m just trying to make some cash

Lines like

I kill lemonade peeps
It’s Holiday with the fruit punch Ferarri and the lemonade seats

 and

I’m in a Caucasian Jag with a bag knockin Hall & Oates

have made me laugh for over a decade.
”I’m a Ruff Ryder” and “Styles” features Jada’s word play and Styles tough talk.  Magic is created anytime these two collaborate. Soul Clap has an early 90’s vibe to it.  Jada, Sheek and Styles team up once again on the DJ Clue produced “We Thugs”  and create one of the bests tracks on the album.   Styles and Jada trade rhymes on the  first two verses and share the mic with Sheek on the final verse.     The majestic Toto sample makes this a must add to your library. MOP drops by and adds their energy to “Yall Don’t Wanna Fuck Wit Us”

“Nobody Believes Me” is another standout on this album.  Think “Me and My Girlfriend” and “I Gave You Power” .  Styles is having a conversation with his knife(J-Hood), gun(Sheek) weed(Cross)  and cash. Styles rhymes

Money you’re the root of all evil, how the gonna put ‘in God we trust’ knowin what you do to people

The menacing piano and bassline accentuated this interesting story.  You will definitely have to rewind this a few times to fully appreciate it.  Styles ends the album on an extremely personal note.   “My Brother” highlights his feelings on the death of his brother.   You can feel his pain coming through your ear buds and can’t help but shed a tear.

There’s my brother
I could smile, cause I know he right next to Allah
Right next to the prophets and the soldiers that died
And all the angels in the heaven that be holdin the sky
There’s my brother
I could cry, for the fact I can’t hug him no more
But my tears go to heaven and I know the nigga feel me
And the good thing is he ain’t got to worry no more

Gangster and a Gentleman is on my top 20 albums of all time.   The guests, production, and with Styles versatility he was able to cement this album as a new age classic.  The album was even laden with skits, but the “Ass Bag” skit is hilarious and rivals the classic “Dez Nutts” skit   Styles has certainly stayed relevant.  He has since released 8 studio albums, a slew of mixtapes(why do we still call them that?) and even has a joint project with Louisiana’s wordsmith, Curren$y.  If you somehow missed this album, then close your browser, purchase this immediately, then head to NY and enjoy a delicious juice from one Styles P’s Juice For Life locations.

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