Styles P

Phantom and the Ghost

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    8
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Feeding off an LOX reunion and the two diverse solo albums released previously (2012's rangy The World's Most Hardest MC Project and 2013's stoner album Float with producer Scram Jones), rapper Styles P takes advantage of his recent roll and squanders none of that momentum on Phantom and the Ghost. Past the Basquiat-meets-Pac-Man artwork there's the usual Mobb Deep-styled coldness with "Never Safe" and "Creep City" combining for a one-two opening punch with some electro underneath, courtesy of producers Joe Milly and Black Saun, respectively. The beats remain diverse, even returning to the eerie piano-fueled boom-bap on the great "Don't Be Scared," but Styles travels far and wide with his writing pen as well, telling his son a "do as I say, not as I did" story on the key cut "Rude Boy Hip Hop" with Raheem DeVaughn. Put the poppy, Jadakiss-type cut "We Gettin" on the end and Phantom and the Ghost is the big home-run payoff after a string of interesting but B+ albums.

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