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Styles P Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman) [review]

Last year, I reviewed Styles P's Time Is Money, and while I felt it overall, I was kind of upset that there was an overabundance of rhymes that, while dope, didn't have the STING that P usually infuses into his mixtape masterpieces. Since then, P left his previous label and linked up with Koch to bring forth Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman), which must be a play on his debut solo album. He's progressed since that set dropped, but does that mean he is capable of dropping an end-to-end banger?

Well, if you're a D-Block fan, the answer is an undeniable "yes". On the short intro, Styles lets you know how he feels: "I'm better than all of you muthafuckas. Point, blank, period". What does he do next, though? Drops a weird ode to herb, "Blow My Mind", which has Swizz Beatz providing a track that sounds like more of an ode to someone's moms or lady, as opposed to a track devoted to getting ready to get blowed. I can see something like this going off well in concert, with Ls and bags of burn getting thrown around crazy, but not only P's flow can save this one on wax. This is followed by the random Ray J-featured "Let's Go". I was confused as to why Ray J is a) on the mic singing and b) on a Styles P album, but anyone who can smash Kim Kardashian, then get paid for the sextape can sing my eulogy. Hi-Tek's bottom-heavy bounce sets this one off perfect. Imagine getting lit with a chick to "Blow My Mind", then getting ready to go to the club or to the summertime cookout; "Let's Go" is the soundtrack to getting dressed and riding to the spot to get live. From then on, Styles lets loose with a barrage of that raw uncut. "Alone In The Streets" has Vinny Idol doing what he does best: throwing some ill piano flourishes overtop a hard kick. Paniro spends this track letting you know that he's out in the streets all night/morning trying to "get it in", although I find it hard to believe that a 33 year old dude is truly still in the game.

The Alchemist drops two heavy tracks for Styles: "All I Know Is Pain" has a very non-ALC beat (it actually sounds like a spiced-up Eminem instrumental), but it still knocks, allowing Ghost to pour his heart out about damn near everything. The other is "Green Piece Of Paper", which is another "wow, ALC produced that?" kind of tracks, and is one of the highlights of the album. Throw it on, hear the first bar, then WHEEL IT! Akon produces and is featured on "Got My Eyes On You" which, if you didn't pay attention to the lyrics, would sound like a serious anthem in those clubs where the rainbow triangle is prominent. This track is OK, but "I'll Still Kill" hits a bit harder. I was surprised at how much I dug "Look @ Her", what with P saying he needs to do a track for the females. P nails his persona nicely: a rugged, fitted-hat-low nigga dropping science about his lady, his way ("she remind you of your first .22/she real small and got alotta bang"). I saw that not only did P have Beans on this CD, but he had Ghostface as well. I was disappointed by the instrumental for "U Ain't Ready" (hey Dame Grease, who really wants to hear some melancholy, Drumline sounding beat?), but Beanie and P go back and forth nicely. "Star Of The State" is a bit better, but again it's more for the chemistry between P and Starks. Pete Rock comes correct with the flipped Isaac Hayes sample on "Gangster, Gangster", which features both Jadakiss and Sheek Louch doing what they do best: giving you that fire rap over a dope beat. I also loved hearing the Black Thought-assisted "Cause I'm Black", which features a line I use to this day, both in jokes and in serious convo, and has a dope, 70s Black Power/revolution feel to it. And if you have any question on how dope Styles is on the m-i-c, throw on "Da 80's", which has a throwback sound to it provided by the one and only Kid Capri.

What I dislike is that, there's mad gangster, and hardly any gentleman on here. Styles P prides himself on the duality of his character: he has spent most of his career being the intelligent hoodlum, the thug poet. And with a title like Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman), you'd expect him to go hard in the 187um rhymes as well as the more conscious flows, but we don't see that at all. Kind of like how he did with Time Is Money and "I'm Black", which is disappointing. I can understand that you niggas won't buy an entire disc of pro-Black shit, nor will you cop that real deep, introspective shit, but with a guy like Styles P, who definitely has a large fanbase, it would take a cat like him, or a 'Kiss to help convert cats. Make those niggas on the block spend some time speaking on the ills of society instead of strictly speaking about which whip they are going to cop next. It's actually insulting; the title makes me immediately think that there should be some kind of balance, some kind of effect to explain the causes. But sadly, we get what P always brings us: that raw with no consequences.

In the end, you can't really blame P, though. It's damn near a documented fact that niggas don't buy shit that could be considered "smart". Tony Roberts' interludes personify the kind of niggas that are sheep, flocking to what their MC idols portray, but instead of giving them more food for thought, P just feeds them more. One of these days, our stomachs are going to bust, and who's fault will it be? I doubt MCs will take any responsibility, they were just going for the "Green Piece Of Paper"...

rock the dub gives Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman) a 3.5 out of 5. For all of his intense, vivid rhymes, P fails to knock it out of the park. For all of the duality he spits in various interviews, his CD continues to fall back on the same jewels he always spits, which will no doubt satisfy hardcore D-Block-ites.

Burn Deez: "Green Piece Of Paper", "Da 80's", "Gangster, Gangster", "Cause I'm Black"

Styles P's Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman) is in stores December 4th, 2007.

related links:
Styles P on MySpace
Styles P on Koch Entertainment

BONUS BEATS: "Blow My Mind" video:

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