Complex | Combat Jack

Styles P on The Combat Jack Show Ep. 1

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Combat Jack:

On this episode of Complex TV's 'The Combat Jack Show', we bring to you lyricists, author, Yonkers taxpayer, carwash and juice bar proprietor, rough-rider; 1/3 of the hardest groups in the history of New York City, The Lox's very own style Styles P. Welcome to the Combat Jack Show. What's up, sir?

Styles P:

What's up, brother?

Combat Jack:

Man, I can't call it, man. It's nice outside.

Styles P:

Very nice.

Combat Jack:

We got the sunlight; you got the sex, drugs . . . sex, drugs and what?

Styles P:

Sex, drugs, and rap.

Combat Jack:

Yes, yes, yes.

Styles P:

Big shoutout to my man, Nickie Diamonds.

Combat Jack:

Nickie Diamonds, hook us up. What's up, sir?

Styles P:

Chilling, bro. How you feel?

Combat Jack:

I'm great, man.

Styles P:

I'm great too. I feel great today, too.

Combat Jack:

Congratulations on your album 'Flow'. It's out. It's doing well.

Styles P:

Thank you. Yes.

Combat Jack:

How's it doing, man?

Styles P:

It's doing great. I wouldn't know numbers-wise, but the reception is great from the people. I feel appreciated and I appreciate the appreciation.

Combat Jack:

You seem to have this reoccurring theme throughout your music, throughout your entire career. You speak about weapons. It seems like your weapon of choice is the knife.

Styles P:

Yeah. The word is my first weapon of choice.

Combat Jack:

The word is the first . . .

Styles P:

Physical weapon would be a knife.

Combat Jack:

What is it about the knife, sir?

Dallas Penn:

The intimacy?

Styles P:

Yeah. I think when you come up in the hood, and this is really not for hip-hop. This is . . .

Combat Jack:

Sociological.

Styles P:

Let's say, not hip-hop-wise, this just man-wise. If a person shoots somebody . . . you could get a kid right now, even today to say, "Let's go ride out. We going to go shoot at these dudes and do all that." They're going to ride, and they have no problem with people shooting back. If we say, "Yo, let's get bats and knives and meet up in the middle of this field, and we're going to go out like park fight with Sonny Carson," that's not going to happen.

Combat Jack:

Which is a classic movie, by the way.

Styles P:

That's not going to happen because you have the fear of being harmed, of being in physical combat with somebody immediately. It's easy to pull a trigger. It's really simple to . . .

Combat Jack:

Of course.

Styles P:

. . . pull the trigger and feel hype about it.

Combat Jack:

It's impersonal, in a sense.

Styles P:

It's difficult to combat with a man and combat with a group of men . . .

Combat Jack:

Right, in the pits.

Styles P:

. . . in the pit and there's all kinds of weapons. That's a different lifestyle.

Combat Jack:

I think the worst thing in the world is to get stabbed. I could see getting shot. I don't want to get shot, but getting stabbed, man . . . have you ever been stabbed?

Styles P:

No, I haven't been stabbed.

Combat Jack:

Okay. Getting stabbed is horrible, but getting poisoned . . .

Styles P:

I've been stabbed, but I wouldn't call it official because it was just in the shoulder and . . .

Combat Jack:

Okay.

Styles P:

. . . 2 little pokes. I'm saying it's wasn't nothing I needed to go tend to. I've been beaten the shit out of, though, before; beaten the shit out of.

Combat Jack:

What's the worst situation you've been in, man?

Styles P:

That one I felt like that, because I feel like that actually changed me a lot.

Combat Jack:

What happened?

Styles P:

I was around 18 or 19. Actually . . . Niggas done started something, 20 niggas batter me, Still couldn't shatter me, only getting up, splitting up your anatomy. That's a real line.

Combat Jack:

That's a real line.

Styles P:

That's a real line.

Combat Jack:

Walk us through that, man, what . . .

Styles P:

Just at a night club, me and a few homeboys. It was a rumble, and it was just . . . it wasn't enough people around, and then it was just a swarm of jumping. I was hit with 2x4s, garbage cans, stompouts. One of them . . . I woke up Elephant Man. I got upstairs; I don't know even how I made . . . my adrenaline kept me up. When I woke up the next morning, my shit was like Elephant Man.

Combat Jack:

You wasn't missing no teeth, though.

Styles P:

No, I wasn't missing no teeth,

Combat Jack:

That's good then.

Styles P:

My shit was like really Elephant Man, my back was fucked up, my hip was out of place, my shoulder.

Combat Jack:

Your hip was out of place?

Styles P:

Yeah, my shit was . . . it was hurt bad, it was bad. I ain't go to the hospital, I held up. That changed me to make me feel like never let . . . always be on the attack.

Combat Jack:

Right.

Styles P:

If you have drama, settle with it first, or make sure you catch them. It just put me in warrior mode, I would say. Certain events in your life change you, and that was one of them for me.

Dallas Penn:

That just turned the switch on.

Styles P:

I think that turned my switch. I was already on; that just turned my switch to . . .

Combat Jack:

All the way on.

Styles P:

. . . a whole other level.

Dallas Penn:

Rocket power.

Styles P:

You never know who to trust, all that kind of shit. I need a certain amount of feet.

Combat Jack:

You coming from that experience, man, which is real primal, you almost died in that sense. How do you then make that transition to come into the music industry, because there's more wolves in this industry.

Styles P:

As a man, if a certain walk . . . when you take a certain walk or choose to do a certain thing, you have to walk that walk. I was already outside, so I just feel like as a man, I just can't be scared to go nowhere or scared to know other men. I can't be . . . I want to feel comfortable, feeling like I needed to be protected by someone other than myself. I don't knock other people who do it. I'm not here to knock other rappers or whatever they do.

Combat Jack:

You never had no security, man?

Styles P:

No. When we was on Bad Boy, there was security. As far . . .

Combat Jack:

It was turned up, though.

Styles P:

Yeah, but we always used to run from security. That's why we [inaudible: 05:54] . . .

Combat Jack:

What do mean you used to run from security?

Styles P:

We ain't want to be next to security. If you're selling somebody a dream, selling somebody a picture, or selling somebody a painting, they want to know the artist really meant that shit. It has to be that you meant it as an artist, or how the fuck do you expect them to really feel you and say you're really, authentically that artist? I can't say I'm the King of New York. That's like me saying I was the King. I can't paint that picture. It don't go right because that's not the lane I'm in. Why I want to paint a picture that I'm not really delivering? I'm not trying to be the flyest nigger.

Combat Jack:

Why you want to falsify, right?

Styles P:

Falsify. I'd rather give you what I am and say, "This is what I am. This is what I do. You either going to fuck with it and respect it or you not."

Combat Jack:

Why is that only specifically in hip-hop? Actors, and we know we mentioned some of the actors earlier; De Niro and Pacino for example, play these uber-superior gangsters.

Styles P:

I think . . .

Combat Jack:

Why is it in hip-hop; hip-hop is the only art form where you really get tested on your words?

Styles P:

Because the people, your audience. Pacino and De Niro's core audience is sitting there and watching them in a flick, in a movie theater, or at home in the living room amongst they family doing something. Your audience is really people that's out there that's doing the shit that you're talking about. If I'm doing . . . if you out there and you living a certain life, and I'm portraying that life, you want to know that it's authentic, because you're talking to the people about something. You actually . . .

Dallas Penn:

That's real to them.

Styles P:

That's real to them.

Dallas Penn:

You got to be accountable.

Styles P:

The people are going to look to hold you accountable in this. They not looking to hold them two accountable, because it's a different platform. If you say . . . let's take it back and let's just say I'm outside doing this and this. If you living like Q-Tip, give me Q-Tip, don't give me Kool G. If you living like Q-Tip, because I'm taking what you're saying because I'm living like Kool G, and I'm listening to you every day and I'm trying to pick up jewels from you, pick up your wisdom; I might be trying to dress like you, get the car you got, travel the lane you're traveling in. You're selling me another dream because this is something . . . unlike acting, hip-hop and music is something . . . is a way out for a lot of us that's attainable if you put in enough work. It's like you have to sell authenticity.

Combat Jack:

Isn't it just entertainment? It's still entertainment, though.

Styles P:

It's definitely still entertainment.

Combat Jack:

You're an entertainer first.

Styles P:

You shouldn't hold all . . . it depends what the artist is delivering too, because if you're selling me, and selling me, and selling me, and selling me that you're this, you should have sold me something else then.

Combat Jack:

What if . . .

Styles P:

It's definitely entertainment; I'm not disagreeing with you.

Combat Jack:

What if there is an MC out there who is all right with the party rhymes and this, but is a fucking Picasso with the thug stories.

Styles P:

Then he got to do that.

Combat Jack:

Should they not portray it?

Styles P:

I'm just saying, broaden your horizons. Don't be a fucking not-thug and everything you do is thug.

Combat Jack:

Is thug, right.

Styles P:

Come on; what the fuck. Give me something else. There's nothing wrong with . . .

Combat Jack:

Sell turkey burgers, B.

Styles P:

I think a lot of MCs are scared to be theyself. People ask me. I have no problem rapping along whether the fuck I want to rap along. I have no problem saying I'll write a book or a juice. I don't give a fuck if you think juicing ain't cool because . . .

Combat Jack:

You shouldn't.

Styles P:

. . . a bunch of dudes standing outside on the corner think juicing ain't gangster. That's fucking stupid. If you fucking follow stupid people, you're stupid; you're stupid along with them. Fuck all that. You've got to make a decision to say . . . that's like saying gangsters don't wear skateboard gear. Fuck you. If that's how you feel, get the fuck out of here.

Combat Jack:

How about dresses?

Styles P:

I don't know. I can't go with that that.

Combat Jack:

You know that's cool right now.

Dallas Penn:

There is a standard, then? Then there is a gangster standing.

Styles P:

For me there is.

Combat Jack:

Okay.

Styles P:

I can't speak for the world. I'm a gangster by the standards of G-A-N-G-S-T-E-R. I'm not a G-A-N-G-S-T-A.

Dallas Penn:

Right. Take notice white people: E-R, A; there are differences.

Premium Pete:

That all depends on what type of white people you're talking about. If it's the Italian people that are white, G-A-N- G-S-T-E-R.

Combat Jack:

If we was watching 'True Romance' . . .

Premium Pete:

Christian Slater.

Dallas Penn:

Are the Italians white or are they olive?

Styles P:

They're olive.

Premium Pete:

You have to make a decision.

Dallas Penn:

Like a taupe.

Styles P:

I think Italians are olive. I think Italians are white- black people.


In the first part of our three part interview with Styles P on The Combat Jack Show, the gritty Yonkers MC began the conversation by revealing a physical altercation as a teen that changed his life.

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