Within the hip-hop industry either you are conscious, or you arenâ€™t. Itâ€™s very black and white, with little room for gray area unless you are a Pharrell or Kanye West. As much as Styles P is a quote un quote, hardcore rapper, he can also be very quote un quote, conscious. Dealing with loss of his brother, brushes with death himself, his album, and constantly getting pushed around due to other artists, itâ€™s a wonder that Styles P has yet to call it quits or jump off a cliff.
Paniero understands that music is a business. He also understands that his music speaks for itself and it speaks to people. With an album release of December 19th and a clothing line in the works with a concept he calls and â€œfly and rugged,â€ P has learned to take life one day at a time.
Appearing very introverted, P knows hip-hop is, in his own words is â€œFâ€™d up right now,â€ and if hip-hop is a microcosm of society, well you get the rest. In the midst of all these dealings, whether conscious or hardcore, Styles P is his name and it is what it is.
Format: Itâ€™s been a while since the passing of your brother, how are you coping with that on a daily basis?
Styles: Everybody in the world is going to die but Iâ€™m definitely going to see him again.
Format: Whatâ€™s the biggest thing you took away from the whole Diddy-BadBoy situation?
Styles: Itâ€™s a business.
Format: Can you elaborate on that?
Styles: I mean coming in as a young boy you have to stay on top of your shit, you have to know where your money is going, you have to know all kinds of shit, you just ainâ€™t a rapper anymore.
Format: Why do you feel you always run into problems when itâ€™s time to release your album?
Styles: Politics, politics, itâ€™s a business man.
Format: So do you think hip-hop is more about the politics and financial and less about the art?
Styles: I think hip-hop is fucked up right now, and itâ€™s definitely about more politics (coughs). Itâ€™s a big business and a big industry and big politics.
â€œcoming in as a young boy you have to stay on top of your shit, you have to know where your money is going, you have to know all kinds of shit, you just ainâ€™t a rapper anymore.â€
Format: Where do you think that stems from?
Styles: Money, there is money to be made and that is very huge.
Format: You were recently quoted in a magazine as saying you were doing Gangsta Grillz Mixtape because you needed love from the South as well. How do you feel about the Southâ€™s movement?
Styles: Itâ€™s good. Itâ€™s a cycle and they stick together with it, so it’s unity. I mean, they were bound to come out on top, when you have a bunch of people sticking together doing what they do.
Format: Lyrically, who do you think are some of the illest artists out there?
Styles: Black Thought, Siegel, Fab, umm, Iâ€™m high right now.
Format: Yeah youâ€™re over there coughing a little bit. So what can we expect from this album Time is Money?
Styles: Straight dope good lyrics and good songs.
Format: What kinds of issues are you talking about on the album? Youâ€™re labeled as a conscious artist. Do you have a problem with that term?
Styles: I have a lot of labels (laughs), I donâ€™t know which one I am the most, Iâ€™m still trying to figure out myself.
Format: So itâ€™s also a process for you?
Styles: Yeah man I do a little of everything, I go off of feeling. However I feel for the day thatâ€™s how it comes out. If I want to be conscious, Iâ€™m going to be conscious, if Iâ€™m going to be hardcore, Iâ€™m going to be hardcore.
Format: Where would you say you are right now compared to when you got released from prison?
Styles: More mature, more level headed. I used act then think. Now I think then act. Anytime Iâ€™ve been in [prison] it can switch my view you know.
Format: Who do you have on production for this album?
Styles: Me, Scott Storch, Havoc, Ruff Ryders, Lilâ€™ Jon and a couple others.
â€œHowever I feel for the day thatâ€™s how it comes out. If I want to be conscious, Iâ€™m going to be conscious, if Iâ€™m going to be hardcore, Iâ€™m going to be hardcore.â€
Format: Do you feel that hip-hop has let you down when it comes to dealing with the business side of it?
Styles: Yes and no. It depends on what day you ask me, some days I feel like yeah and some days I have to appreciate shit. There are homeless people and starving people so, it depends on how humble I am that day. Humble days Iâ€™m alright and some days Iâ€™m not.
Format: What has been one of your most humbling experiences?
Styles: Jail, shit jail, and a couple of brushes with death here and there. That makes you real humble.
Format: Do you feel like hip-hop could do more than what itâ€™s doing for the community, do you feel like itsâ€™ fallen short?
Styles: Yeah of course listen to the music. I think people look at the industry and hip-hop as one entity and they are two separate entities. Hip-hop is art, culture, music, how you dress, walk, talk, kick it with your boys, where you live, what you get into, and how things are culturally motivated. Industry is a good beat, good hit radio single, marketing big promotion, and they are totally different worlds.
Format: Last week we lost some big voices in 60 Minutes reporter Ed Bradley and singer Gerald Levert, who I heard is on your album. What was going on in your mind when you heard of his passing?
Styles: Itâ€™s sad and itâ€™s fucked up, but the reality is that shit happens everyday everywhere. So, you send your prayers to that person and wish for the best, but really he is in a better place than we are. Youâ€™re just sad because youâ€™re a human and youâ€™re trained to be sad. Death is supposed to be a celebration of life because he is with the Big Guy upstairs you know. Itâ€™s sad that we canâ€™t hear his voice and see his talent anymore.
â€œI think people look at the industry and hip-hop as one entity and they are two separate entities. Hip-hop is art, culture, music, how you dress, walk, talk, kick it with your boys, where you live, what you get into, and how things are culturally motivated. Industry is a good beat, good hit radio single, marketing big promotionâ€
Format: What is the biggest misconception people have about Styles P?
Styles: There are so many different views of me I donâ€™t really know (laughs). Some people think of me as a conscious artist, some people look at me as the hardest artist, so I donâ€™t know. It depends on how people view me, but Iâ€™m 180/180 man.
Format: What is the one thing you want people or the hip-hop community to know about Styles P?
Styles: Oh they do, and thatâ€™s that Iâ€™m the hardest rapper and I put in the hardest work. I want them to know, they know.
Format: Any tour dates expected or promotional concerts?
Styles: After this album drops Iâ€™ll probably do some things with Akon, Iâ€™ll do the big places with him and the nasty hole in the wall places by myself. Iâ€™ll do a whole bunch of shit a little bit of everything.
More Info: http://www.stylesp.net/