We’re not quite sure why Styles P.’s latest project is called Float, but we think it may be due to the lighthearted nature the album was supposed to project. Although it may be slightly misnamed, what’s refreshing is that Styles P. doesn’t shoot for commercial, because he doesn’t care to, and you won’t find it anywhere on the album. It’s a complete evocation of rap’s underground—the gully and the brash. And though a lot of people won’t have the opportunity to take this project seriously because it barely made the radar, there are still some highlights.
There’s no single concept with this album—just trash talk—completely reminiscent of early 00s street rap. And with Styles P.’s underground phantom persona, you can’t expect him to take on the sophistication of hip-hop all grown up. The album name “Float” makes you think of an artist that doesn’t take himself or anyone else too seriously. But how contrary is it that with menacing threats on songs like ”Bodies in the Basement” or “Hater Love” we think Styles P. is so for real?
Though we’ve never questioned Styles P.’s dedication to weed culture since “I Get High,” he doesn’t quite come off as the laid back introspective slow talking smoker you’d think to get from somebody who spent 15+ years in the rap game and should be basking in their Bad Boy glory days. There’s little easiness or nostalgia with this album, and he actually comes off kind of hype. Float is not very relaxed or carefree at all. In fact, the only thing Styles P. seems carefree about is cracking your skull open like a shell. We’re not sure he’s our kind of stoner. The weed haze covered album art is deceiving and if this album is full of Styles P.’s marijuana thoughts, he must not be smoking the best stuff. He relies heavily on the violence and brashness of his 1990s persona and the album at times, feels a little heavy for an album entitled “Float.” But it’d be unreasonable to expect him to abandon the hardcore elements that built him.
It’s nearly impossible to think of any song on the album that doesn’t threaten someone, their parents, or their clique, but Scram Jones’ production mellows everything out with sporadic smooth, jazzy instrumentation. “Shoot You Down” is probably the best song on the album. It draws from the early Lox without relying so heavily on the past. The production in its entirety isn’t a complete memory of the 90s conscious rap era, and hardens at times to sound a little Wu-Tang. The juxtaposition creates a nice balance, though we could do without the repetitive, threatening lyrics. Float isn’t bad. But we think we still prefer Styles P. as a ghostwriter.