I’m not sure if I have a more complicated love/hate relationship in my life than the one I have with Rap Internet. For all the incredibly dope music and hilarious memes that come across my timeline on a daily basis, there are a multitude of things that make me stare in dumbfounded bewilderment, causing me to question if this is, in fact, real life. Kendrick Lamar parody accounts tweeting life and relationship advice, and the latest “freestyle” over the hot beat du jour are why we can’t have nice things. Remember the summer of 2011, when every MC, Lil’ and Young had an “Otis” freestyle? Amid the onslaught, the only version that truly stood out was the offering from Styles P and Jadakiss.
It’s great to see that the old dudes still have it. At this point in their careers, they’ve already said everything they wanted to say. They don’t have to reinvent the album with every release, a tall order considering Styles P’s limited subject matter. It delivers where you expect it to: bully and weed raps backed by Scram Jones beats in a tidy, 36-minute package. There aren’t any ridiculous interludes or tracks that pander to popular music trends just for a few extra album sales. Styles and Scram stick to the music, get in, and get out clean.
Scram frames Styles P’s murderous urges in a cold, creepy atmosphere befitting a slasher flick on “Manson Murder” and “Bodies in the Basement” as Styles wages war on wack rappers. But leave it to N.O.R.E. to kill the mood on “Manson Murder”, as he intersperses bars about his healthy lifestyle among the typical gun talk. I’m personally glad that he’s healthier, but I hope he doesn’t become rap’s version of your annoying friend who floods your feed with check-ins at the gym and details on how far they ran.
The sound shifts back to a more familiar grimy street feel on “Hater Love” and “Open Up”, a territory in which Styles P truly eats. Scram’s production brings out an energetic, engaged Styles P, and the relentless “Reckless” elicits memories of one of the great moments in Styles P history: his classic appearance on Jay-Z’s “Reservoir Dogs”.
Naturally, a Styles P album is incomplete without a weed cut, thus the addition of “I Need Weed,” a stripped-down cousin of the similar spaceship-beat stoner anthem perfected by Snoop Dogg and The Neptunes on “Pass It Pass It”. For the man who gave us “Good Times”, “I Need Weed” is too subdued and unacceptably basic. It’s disappointing when the best idea for a hook is saying “Fuck that, I need weed” four times.
Float’s greatest strength is in its execution. Scram Jones’ production kept the album tight and cohesive, and Styles responded by turning in such a spirited effort that I’m almost ready to forgive him for his ill-fitting feature on Ricky Rozay’s “B.M.F.”. Float followed the Wu-Block blueprint for OG rapper success: a solid, professional, no-frills product that is becoming of Styles P’s stature and reputation.