I’m all right, Brian.
You’ve got a new album, Supa Gangsta, Extraordinary Gentleman, coming on December 4. What was your state of mind recording your third album?
Hunger, hunger, hunger. I was hungry, baby. I was trying to leave a hell of a mark.
Did you do that?
With this one? Definitely.
You consistently stay on the mixtape scene, your latest offering being The Phantom Menace. How does your approach change from doing mixtapes to albums?
With mixtapes, I just go in on them. I do it for the people. I know who’s going out to get them. I follow that vibe. I know who’s going to get it, how they’re living and where they’re going to go get it. I just make it for the gutter, to tell you the truth.
”Blow My Mind,” which is produced by Swizz Beatz, has a different vibe than I expected based on the work you guys have done in the past. What made you choose that particular beat from Swizz?
I like to be different. I like to go left. I like to not do what everybody else is doing. I like to create a lane of my own. I don’t like to follow anyone else’s patterns. I just make music, man.
Do you think you caught fans off-guard with “Blow My Mind”?
I caught myself off-guard with that. I didn’t catch my fans off-guard with that. No, not really. I think they think it’s “I Get High Part 2.” That’s how everybody is treating it.
Fans look at A Gangster and a Gentleman as your best album to date. Did you exceed that on Supa Gangsta, Extraordinary Gentleman?
On Supa Gangsta, Extraordinary Gentleman, I did. I tried to take it a step further. I tried to use the same formula and the same energy, the same mindstate. It’s more advanced and more sharper. It’s more Godfather-ish.
How much of an influence are movies like The Godfather to you?
Very much. Very, very, very, very much. It’s about a certain type of man who carried himself a certain way. It’s always influential. It always sticks in the head and I always remember it.
Are you looking forward to seeing American Gangster?
Yeah, you know that. I’ll be there early. I’ll be at the matinee on that one.
What did you learn from making your sophomore solo album Time Is Money that you carried over to Supa Gangsta, Extraordinary Gentleman?
Nothing. I didn’t use nothing from that. But I had a more mature mindset and made something more mature. I didn’t use anything business-wise. I kept that maturity from Time Is Money and probably got more advanced with it.
How happy are you to be at Koch right now?
I’m happy. I’m ecstatic. I’m great. I am chilling.
How does it feel getting a release date that is actually real the first time you get it?
It feels great. It feels great. It feels great to be working independently, point blank, period. You cut out the middle man and talk to all the people you need to talk to. You get shit done.
Do you have to do more work on an independent as compared to a major?
Shit, yeah. Yes, definitely so.
You have to grind harder. There’s a lot more shit that you have to do personally. The label works with you. You no longer work for a company. You work with a company. When you work with someone, there’s a lot of work that you have to do.
When 50 and Kanye were dropping, everybody made a big deal that it was “50 versus Kanye” yet they have completely different styles so comparing their album sales is not really relevant. You’re dropping on December 4 along with Ghostface and Saigon and you all have your own styles. Would it be silly for fans to compare the sales of your albums?
I think everybody in their own mind says what they want or does what they want and has their own ideas of what’s going on. Whether it happens or it doesn’t happen, I think it’s good and bad. I think people get crazy and get real gimmicky, but that’s also getting the artist recognized and getting the artist some extra promotion. I would say “yeah” and “no” to that.
How are you approaching December 4?
I think I’m in my own lane. I think Styles P fans are going to go get Styles P. My big thing is getting the music heard and spreading out. I feel like my music will keep the fans going for years. I don’t know if everybody else’s raps does that for them.
What’s the best advantage to being on Koch right now?
Working with somebody and not working for somebody. It’s about cutting out the middle man. I would have to go with that.
Did Koch have any creative input on Supa Gangsta, Extraordinary Gentleman?
I just did my thing. I think they wanted me to do that. When they wanted me, that’s all they wanted me for because they know I do my thing.
A lot of artists say they can do it themselves, but after listening to their album, you can tell they really can’t. How important is it as an artist to be able to do it without a label?
I don’t just do it on my own. I have a team, but I don’t need the industry A&R’s. I have my partners. I have Sheek and ‘Kiss in the lab. That right there is the best team I could have in the world. I have Poobs, my engineer, who I shout out on every mixtape. I’m not just going off of me thinking it’s hot. I’m asking them, the team. But I don’t need any industry A&R’s or anybody from labels. I don’t need that.
I’ve been in this game since ’95. Shit, I’m a vet. I wouldn’t be here that long if I needed that help.
There are veterans that do need that help though.
They need that help because they’re lazy and because they’re not on their A-game. They’re living the artist’s life and not the “putting down art” life. If you live off making music and this is what you do…I make mixtapes all around the year, all year-round. My game is sharp.
Mariah Carey and J.Lo ask you for remixes, yet you’re known for making gutter music. Why do you think they ask you to be on their remixes?
I make hard music but I think everyone knows I can make that shit. I bring the street perspective to it, the rawness with no gimmicks. I think that’s why they ask me. Even the street can party. There’s nothing gimmicky about it. I still keep it hip-hop. I think everybody appreciates it.
Do you think your hardcore fans don’t want to hear you party?
No, because your real fans, they like hearing that kind of shit. I didn’t really see that until I actually made “Can You Believe It?” and “My Favorite Drug” and saw how much my fans really took to those. It really bugged me out. I knew they always took to it when I did it over other people’s shit, but a lot of my hardcore fans loved “My Favorite Drug” and “Can You Believe It?” It’s not shocking to me.
You worked with Akon before he blew up. What does that mean to you today?
Nothing. I just helped the brother out when he needed a little help. He’s talented on his own and he had talent before he met me. God willingly, the song was a help to him.
Looking back on Time Is Money, what was the biggest mistake surrounding that project?
Not dropping shit when I asked them to drop. Not dropping that “Crystal Waters” joint a year and a half ago when I told them to. But I wouldn’t be here today if that never happened. I can’t say that was a mistake. Everything happens for a reason.
You said you were very happy being at Koch. Because of your situation, will you be dropping albums on a more consistent basis?
Definitely. Did I take long on my last one?
It was almost a year from the release of Time Is Money to the release date of Supa Gangsta, Extraordinary Gentleman.
That’s what I’m saying, bro. I’m here.
Do you make better music when you’re happy with your label situation and in a better state-of-mind?
Definitely so. I think anything you do in life, if you’re in a better state of mind, whether it’s making music, running or jogging in the morning or painting, whatever it is you do, if you’re in a better state of mind, you’ll do better. You’ll feel free. I was feeling free on this album and I was just getting free, to tell you the truth.
There’s been a lot of talk of Jadakiss going to Def Jam…
Yeah. He just signed to Def Jam.
What do you think of that move?
I think it’s a great move for him.
Do you see the Lox album going to Def Jam?
It might. It’s definitely going to a major. It’s definitely going to a major.
How’s the album coming?
We’re probably going to lock up 10 or 12 more joints.
How’s the album sounding right now?
Hard. Impeccably hard. It’s the best Lox album to date.
From what J-Hood told me, it sounds like you and him had a good relationship. Are you disappointed with how the situation worked out?
Yeah. I don’t like what he did. He didn’t have to do all of that because I spoke to him prior to when he did all that chain dragging and all that shit. He was disrespecting everybody by doing that and the whole movement and the whole of what we stand for. He didn’t have to do that. I spoke to him and told him I would make sure he got off and that there wouldn’t be any problems. That was real wack of him to do.
He told me he didn’t mean any disrespect by doing that. Obviously you took that as disrespect, right?
Isn’t that a dumb answer? That’s just a stupid answer. I still wish him the best. Whatever.
Do you feel like him dragging the chain closed all future possibilities of you guys working together in the future?
Yeah. I can’t fuck with him off of that. I wish him the best and all of that, but that was wack for him to do that, especially after he spoke to me like a man and I said I would get him off.
Are you looking to add new members to D-Block?
You’ll hear them on The Phantom Menace. There’s Bucky, Bully, Team Arliss, Large Amounts, A.P…We’re getting it in.
Can D-Block become a launching pad for talented artists coming from Y.O?
Only for the street legends. For the good MCs, definitely so. Definitely so.
Have you started thinking about your next album?
Yeah. I’m thinking about starting over. I was thinking about it yesterday.
Do you feel you have to be more personal in interacting with fans now that you’re independent?
I don’t think I could be any more personal. I walk outside without security. If I get any more personal than that, I might have to move in with a motherfucker!
When you were dropping “I’m Black,” Interscope gave you trouble for it and didn’t promote it or support you when you wanted to shoot a video for it. After seeing the trouble you went through for a positive song like “I’m Black,” what do you think of Nas’ new album title?
I don’t know, man. It’s crazy. I have to hear the content.
Could that title encourage more white people to use that word?
You know why I don’t feel it’s right? Because that’s like “bitch.” We don’t go around calling women “bitches,” but a chick can call another chick a “bitch.” So it’s like, certain terms you can use around certain people and certain terms aren’t for certain people. I would say I don’t think it’s all right because you wouldn’t want everybody white walking around saying that and then black people will start walking around using derogative remarks to white people. Then the shit will be all haywire. The shit is going back to what it used to be with all these nooses popping up. They’re putting swastikas back up. Shit is just fucked up, man.
What do you think of Isaiah Thomas saying it’s more offensive for a white person to call a black woman a “bitch” than a black man?
That’s stupid. That was stupid for him to say, but I understand what he’s saying. You don’t want to hear anybody call anybody that. I can understand why he’s saying that because it goes back in the black man’s mind to slave days. I would think he’s looking at a black man saying that as a man-woman thing. With a white man calling a black woman that, I think he’s looking at it as a man-woman thing and a race thing. It was a stupid remark but I think I know where he was coming from, but he didn’t word it right.
What’s your take on the Jena 6?
It’s fucked up and it’s always been fucked up for the black man when it comes to the court of law. I think society needs to face the fact that there’s still racism. There’s still every prejudice. There are still mad white and black people who can’t get along and don’t love each other. You have a lot of black and white babies but you still have mad racial tension. You still have mad white people who can’t stand black people and you still have mad black people who don’t like white people. It’s never going to stop until we face reality. One reason why it’s never going to stop is because all the white men in the world will never be cool with all black people in the world. That shit ain’t never going to happen, therefore racism is never going to stop. It always brings people back to where they was. There’s always cool white people, but then there’s one cop who pulls you over and calls you “boy” and harasses you. That shit is never going to stop. That’s my fucking take on it.
Prodigy said the police offered him freedom in return for placing guns and drugs in 50 Cent’s car. Have you had any negative experiences with the hip-hop police?
I’ve had many negative experiences with the police, period, and that’s the bottom line. I have had mad police experiences and all of them were negative. I ain’t never had a good police experience, I don’t think. As a matter of fact, I’m lying. I remember they gave me directions one day.
What are your goals for Supa Gangsta, Extraordinary Gentleman?
It’s in the lyrics and the MCing. I want it to get response and I want to get some input, make some noise and hit those spots.
What’s the next move for Styles P?
Put this album out and put the Lox album out after that. We’re dropping a compilation with these young boys. I got a DVD called Phantom Gangsta Chronicles coming out. We’re just trying to keep it popping.
What do you want to say to everybody?
Supa Gangsta, Extraordinary Gentleman is coming out on December 4. It’s something classic and it’s the shit and make sure you get it.