Deen don’t shop at Zales.

Quiet as kept, Styles P dropped a gem of a mixtape last week. Given that Jadakiss is my favorite member of the LOX and there are only so many hours in a day, I’ve often neglected Styles AND Sheek. In any case, none of them have managed to put a classic together and despite my Jadakiss stanning, methinks Styles has probably come closest (A Gangster & A Gentleman, anyone?)

But all that shit is only tangentially relevant to what I’m really here to write about. Diamond Life is some seriously dope shit – like album level dope. Maybe the best shit I’ve ever heard from Styles P. That said, it’s possible that I’m projecting the excellence of two really amazing tracks on the whole tape, but I’m fairly comfortable making that statement anyway. I don’t feel accountable to you fucks.

But before we get to those two tracks, a few notes:

  • Jadakiss should have kicked a verse or two. It’s only right. This muthafucka decided to do a shitty Vincent Price impression instead.
  • Styles P and Roc Marciano have been listening to same old records. 10cc’s “I’m Not in Love” to be exact.
  • Styles P was wise (or broke) enough to restrict French Montana and Uncle Murda to hook duty only – a move Pusha T should remember the next time he calls fellas of that ilk (French almost ruined those Pusha tapes from last year). That’s about the full extent of their tolerability. Awful rappers.
  • Not to be rude or question anyone’s G-Pass, but the things we’ve learned about Styles P over the years make his brusquely clipped shit-talking and threat issuing really hilarious if you spend too much time thinking about it. How seriously can you take threats from a man who once threw napkins at the other driver in a road rage incident? Or a man that owns a juice bar? Or a man that seems to have an in-depth knowledge of the Kardashians? I dunno, shit be making me laugh and shudder, but mostly laugh.
  • I’m beginning to think that Fred The Godson, shitty name aside, is a pretty nice rapper. He impresses me on every guest appearance, even if he looks like a black a human version of Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Pause.

And here’s the real reason I started this piece: Lex Luger. Yep, my favorite Virginian makes an appearance on this set, so that’s an automatic write-up in my book. Thankfully, Lex’s evolution as a producer continues unabated and his contribution exudes the calm menace you’d generally associate with someone like the Alchemist (more on him later), as opposed to the rabid trap bangers we’ve come to associate him with. There’s even some scratching in the hook, which comes courtesy of Bun B – who also offers one of his gullier verses in a minute (Styles will do that to people). That’s not to say that “YO Trill Sheet” doesn’t sound like Lex Luger (it does), but it’s definitely a newish sound from that has more in common with the beat he gave Cyhi a little while ago than his regular oeuvre.

“YO Trill Sheet” would easily be my (biased) pick for the best song on The Diamond Life Project if the Alchemist didn’t decide to lose whatever’s left of his damn mind on the project’s closer – “The Myth.” I don’t want to ruin the surprise, so I’ll just say that he employs super hard drums for the first time in a minute and he even one-ups DJ Premier/Gangstarr’s efforts on “I’m The Man.” Just listen, you’ll get it once you hear it. I mean, it’s not even close. Styles should have saved both tracks for a proper retail, then again who knows when he’ll get a chance to drop a project again. Rap game brutal that way.

As for Styles P, you already know what you’re going to get when you press play. Just gully bars upon gully bars supplemented by more gully bars. You might bark at a co-worker afterwards if you aren’t careful. He’s still in great form and the stilted flow is employed to great effect. As the man says, “nobody harder.” Pause. He just gave you the perfect tape to usher the Fall in with and it’s one of the best things I’ve heard in 2012. And like all the other best shit in life, it’s free…

Download:
MP3: Styles P ft. Bun B (prod. by Lex Luger) – “Yo Trill Sheet”
MP3: Styles P (prod. by Alchemist) – “The Myth”

ZIP: Styles P – The Diamond Life Experience (Left-Click)