Friday, January 29th, 2010 at 9:37 pm
DJ Green Lantern’s a New York mixtape veteran. In the past few years, his name’s been co-signed on Royce Da 5’9″s Bar Exam 2, Immortal Technique’s 3rd World, Dead Prez’s Pulse of The People as well as a slew of Eminem mixtape compilations. What separates him from every other DJ on the NYC mixtape circuit are his releases; they don’t feel like mixtapes. Although Green Lantern rewinds some verses every now and then or blurts out “INVASION,” the collaborative efforts made by him feel genuine. They are not comprised of recycled material or filled commonplace instrumentals. These ‘street albums’ feature some of the most talented producers in the game alongside Green Lantern himself. This brings us to The Green Ghost Project with Styles P. One of the core members of D-Block and one-third of the LOX, Styles P (aka The Ghost) is known throughout the streets of New York as one of the hardest spitters in the game. It seems only right that the man who’s hosted mixtapes for Jadakiss develop a project for Styles then. The Green Ghost Project offers listeners a chance to hear collaborations from Styles and his crew alongside some unexpected guests.
The Green Ghost Project opens with Styles P wondering, “why is the hood so evil?“ On “Nothing to Lose”, he proclaims “feel me or feel steel,” while soaring through the suppressed drums of Green Lantern. Tre Williams provides the hook on “Callin Me,” while Green Lantern steps aside and Scram Jones provides the production. While reminiscing on how he can’t escape the allure of hood living, Styles P tell listeners, “I’m in the airport lounge, heading to a spot where I can air more pounds.” The album’s single, “Send Me a Kite,” has the appeal of a pop song due to Dwayne Williams’ vocals although it’s about prison. A prison song has become somewhat expected of The Ghost, but nobody’s really doing it better than him. He’s actually writing a prison mystery novel that’s being published on Random House. Green Lantern’s production actually makes the song as it smoothly rests behind P’s vocals, bringing out the fullness of the Ghost’s voice.
Once again Green Lantern slides aside to bring in an A-list beatmaker as The Alchemist’s MPC blesses “Make Millions From Entertainment.” The track has an authentic New York vibe to it that would be extremely difficult to replicate by another duo. It’s hard to believe that Green Lantern only has only one track titled “Invasion” in his catalogue – and that it’s on this album. Junior Reid and P’s partner in crime, Jadakiss throw down on the track, which doesn’t have any outstanding qualities to it. While it doesn’t have the best hook, both Jada and The Ghost are always on point. That’s what leaves more to be desired; we’ve heard them represent in better capacity on other releases. Moving along, Buckwild of the legendary D.I.T.C takes over behind the boards for the classic “Time Will Tell.” This is what Hip Hop’s supposed to sound like; hard lyrics and grimy beats. Raekwon is utilized perfectly on this joint, with his voice lacing the beat perfectly on the hook.
Green Lantern once again comes back into the picture, this time providing one of his nicest instrumentals for Styles P and his guests, NORE and Uncle Murda. The three emcees and Green Lantern are a perfect match bringing back that 90s gutter feel. ”Real Ghostly” is a standout track in terms of Styles’ lyricism as he spits “sort of like the ancient Egyptians/I can move objects without lifting.“ The selection of scratches on the hook also add to the overall track. Although Green Lantern displays his exemplary use of sampling “On Pretty Young Thing,” the track takes away from the overall tone of the album. While I’m all for variety, Styles P isn’t exactly known for his songs that appeal to women, and this isn’t going to change anything. Luckily the Ghost once again goes all in on the Statik Selektah produced “Shadows.” Styles P flows perfectly over Statik’s instrumental which relies on a female vocal sample that’s expertly executed. Styles remains lyrical on “Legal Money” which initially has a battle tone to it as P proclaims, “say a rhyme with a gun in your throat.” Ushering in another gutter rap track, M.O.P. gets brolick on “Bang Time.” Unfortunately, the hook is overly repetitive rendering its repeat value unlistenable. Longtime D-Block collaborator Poobs provides the final beat for The Green Ghost Project. The beat has an ’80s vibe to it and doesn’t really take away or add to the song; Styles just blesses it.
On The Green Ghost Project listeners hear the chemistry that The Ghost and Green Lantern have, although at times the album borders on formulaic. There are points on The Green Ghost Project where we hear some of the most unpretentious Hip Hop to come out of New York in a minute. However the album seems stuck in a rut between wanting a commercial vibe and attempting to remain true to the street. Despite having some true gems such as “Shadows” and “Time Will Tell,” the only thing saving the album from teetering upon mediocrity is Styles P’s signature flow. The Green Ghost Project is definitely worth a listen or two, but at times lacks the consistency and vision that separates an album from passable and greatness.