Interscope has to be the most strategically organized label in Hip-Hop, period. They encourage consumers to literally become crack fiends for their artist’s albums. Pushing projects back and back again, never reduces attention, it just heightens anticipation. But for one artist his album has been put back so many times that even he himself admits to a feeling of being ‘blackballed.’
Regardless of how he feels and how damaging this prolonged agony of sitting idle with a completed project ready to go for over a year has been, Styles P’s Time is Money has Hip-Hop fans ravenous. With a top notch team of producers including, Hi-Tek, Scott Storch, Akon and the timeless presence of Dame Grease all hopping on board to reiterate why Styles P is still that dude, it is guaranteed this album will fly off the shelves when it finally hits them.
Holding Styles P back isn’t going to stop him; it may have played with his mind for a minute and had him doubting the business ethics of his secondary home, but this of course isn’t the first time someone else has had control over this Yonkers hard knock. But after the ‘long time coming’ resolution with P Diddy came into effect late last year and a scheduled drop for Time is Money in December,it looks like his patience and perseverance will be the victors.
Here he talks about what has kept him up, what brought him up and just what he has been up to whilst time has inevitably marched on.
Hip-HopCrack.com: So what excuses have they given you for putting the album back so many times?
Styles P: I don’t even know the reasons, it is just industry politics. I think I was black-balled if you ask me.
Hip-HopCrack.com: What sort of damage does this treatment have on your character?
Styles P: It’s either going to make you or break you and it can be very frustrating, but you just have to have patience and perseverance.
Hip-HopCrack.com: Has the track listing changed or has it stayed the same as I know when we spoke last year you were really happy with what you had?
Styles P: Not, not really, not too much. I mean I love what I have.
Hip-HopCrack.com: So while you have been waiting for this album to see the shelves what have you been up to? Preparing your next five albums right?
Styles P: Yeah (laughs). I mean I just keep working; you can’t let it make you not work. You know if I didn’t work, it would make my situation worse; so I just keep doing the mixtapes. I stay in the studio; that’s basically all I can do.
Hip-HopCrack.com: I know you had a listening session recently for it, how was it finally seeing other people’s reactions to it?
Styles P: It was good; I mean I am just really thirsty to see how people are going to respond to it. It’s going to take you on a real ride, it’s 13 tracks and has Sheek, Kiss, Talib Kweli, Gerald Levert, Jagged Edge, Marsha from Floetry and a group called Flypside on there.
Hip-HopCrack.com: You get so much love from the streets and from Hip-Hop fans, I watched you rock a crowd at S.O.Bs last month. How hard has it been to keep your fans onboard throughout all this bullshit?
Styles P: I really say they have been what has kept me on board instead of me keeping them onboard. They have been waiting for it and waiting for it and they know it is coming. So there has been a lot of support from them and that was also what kept me going as they could understand. Of course I am always putting out the mixtapes, I am always about. You know if I ain’t frying up the airwaves I am still being heard on the bottom, you know the underground.
Hip-HopCrack.com: When you look at what other projects that are dropping around the same time yours is scheduled to drop, are you pleased with the timing?
Styles P: I mean I won’t say that I am ecstatic; you know I won’t lie to you and say I feel great about it. I do however feel great about getting my music out and you know my fans being able to get it, but I definitely could have had a better set up and a better impact.
Hip-HopCrack.com: What is your situation with Interscope now?
Styles P: I am just working on the Lox things and fixing up some paperwork for that, figuring what to do with the Lox. Then when that drops, D Block of course and J Hood, the D Block Compilation; just want to get all the paperwork for that right and get everything situated.
Hip-HopCrack.com: Last time we spoke, we talked about a book you were working on, how is that coming?
Styles P: Somewhat, I mean I get thrown off sometime but I am still working on it.
Hip-HopCrack.com: You see recently a lot of rappers getting involved in television. Is that something you envision for you?
Styles P: Yeah definitely so, I think I would be more involved in production and direction, I would like to direct. I would take the long way out, I mean I would like to do some acting, but definitely would want to be a ‘behind the scenes’ man.
Hip-HopCrack.com: Why is that?
Styles P: It is just my character.
Hip-HopCrack.com: You are good at keeping low key, when you see this situation you are in.
Styles P: I try to keep it cool. I have been through a lot in my life and no matter what I don’t want to be in a situation like my last album, you know as far as being incarcerated and being taken away from my family, my wife and my kids, not be at home and just be able to breathe fresh air.
Hip-HopCrack.com: How do you think Styles P would have reacted to this had it happened ten years ago?
Styles P: I would have spazzed (laughing). Even four years ago, even right before I came out of jail I would have spazzed.
Hip-HopCrack.com: So what has calmed you down?
Styles P: Jail and life in general. Suffering, you know it means a lot man. This sucks going through this, it really sucks, but jail, man that is being taken away from your family.
Hip-HopCrack.com: Obviously your family has been a big encouragement.
Styles P: Yeah I mean that is the most important thing to me. Everything else falls after that. You know I try to do things to see us alright. But see that’s the part that really frustrates you, as going through this you have to watch your family suffer, but my wife keeps me humble. There are a lot of people in a worse situation. You know we have a place to live, three beautiful children; we can travel and have nice things. My family definitely keeps me strong.
Hip-HopCrack.com: What lessons have you learned?
Styles P: Patience, perseverance and sacrifice.
Hip-HopCrack.com: What do you feel you sacrificed?
Styles P: A lot, everything, I have almost thrown my career out of the window somewhat; that’s how I feel on some days when I can’t do something. But I guess being here is more important than that, that’s just how I feel.
Hip-HopCrack.com: Almost every legendary name in New York Hip-Hop has dropped an album or is going to drop an album this year. When do you think we are going to see some new blood step up in NYC?
Styles P: They are here.
Hip-HopCrack.com: So why aren’t they the ones putting out albums?
Styles P: I don’t know what to say no more as the industry has changed so much; what I figure isn’t what they think they need. As they think that all they need is a catchy hook and a nice beat (laughing,) you know what I am saying? They think with just that, they are in; they can just say ABC on a track and get away with it.
Hip-HopCrack.com: Does it bother you, this so called decline in Hip-Hop?
Styles P: Yeah definitely so. As a fan and music wise definitely so, but to take something good out of it you do see a lot of dudes making money. Money should encourage the game to step up, but there are a lot of things that play a part in this. It’s not just the rappers; it’s the rappers, the record labels, the radio, it’s the parents in the way they educate their kids. It’s a lot of shit. a lot of new rappers probably never read, or read when they was coming up. But everything is a cycle though.
Hip-HopCrack.com: Are you going out on the road promoting the album?
Styles P: I’m actually about to start tomorrow and I am going to damn near every state. I am going to be out on the road a while. It’s not really something I enjoy anymore to tell you the truth.
Hip-HopCrack.com: Miss the family?
Styles P: Yeah it screws with my wife’s schedule, it screws my schedule up, but then I do enjoy performing, I love the performance part, but the traveling shit is irritating.
Hip-HopCrack.com: Do you feel that you have to do an extensive tour right now?
Styles P: Yeah I feel that I have to go for myself because the music is coming out. You know I gotta do what I gotta do and do what is in my fullest capabilities and in my power so I know I gave 110% as that’s all you can do. Because at least then I can say I did give 110% and did everything I could.
Hip-HopCrack.com: So when can we expect to hear anything from The Lox, I mean that’s long over due too?
Styles P: I would say first or second quarter. Everybody is working you know, J Hood is coming out with Tales from the Hood; we got the D Block compilation coming out. Then we are working with our other artists too.
Hip-HopCrack.com: How do you find your artists?
Styles P: I know most of them, you know I met them through someone or I heard something from them. I guess you could say through life’s natural circle.