Styles - Gangster and A Gentleman      
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written by Bomb 1st    
I could picture Styles of the LOX (and Jadakiss for that matter) as a man who likes to eat his steaks whole. There would be no trimming of the fat, no throwing away the grizzle. Save the bone, that baby is waxed. It seems this way because Styles apparently doesn't know what songs to trim from his debut album, "A Gangster and a Gentleman," which features all too much filler and ultimately plagues a release that also offers slices of solid material throughout.

Starting things off on the right foot is the lead single, "Good Times." Styles' ode to marijuana. Those who don't dabble in weed smoking need not worry as the beat and the sample stand out enough to make the lyrics take the back seat. You can just nod your head and enjoy. This is my favorite joint of the summer. The second single, "Daddy Get That Cash," featuring Lil' Mo, isn't as good as the prior, but holds its own and is a pretty good track for a radio geared song. The beat is one of the many greats found on the album, while the hook seems to fall into the "get that money" clich.

The beats seem to carry much of the album, mainly because Styles' rhyme topics really don't change at all. He is usually talking about how hard and gangster he is and how much money he is going to make. Dope beats and uninspired yet sufficient rhymes can be found on "Soul Clap," "I'm a Ruff Ryder," "We Thugs My Niggas" and "Styles."

Thankfully there are a few more great tracks here. "Listen" has Styles kicking some lyrics that actually have some meaning, which sound even better over the Tank production. M.O.P. inject life (as they do with every album they guest on) into "Ya'll Don't Wanna Fuck." Of Course, also included here as a bonus track is the hit "The Life" with Pharoahe Monch.

The rest of this album seems to be bogged down in the thug/gangster clich, coupled with repetitive beats. "Ya'll Know We in Here," "Lick Shots," "And I Came To" and "Get Paid" are all examples of this. Even the Alchemist produced "Black Magic" seems to fall flat.

This album has 24 tracks and desperately needs to be condensed down to, say, 12-15. Yes there are your typical skits, but we know from two LOX albums and a Jada solo that the skits are pointless and annoying. Cut those, cut the weak tracks, and someday someone associated with the LOX will turn out a whole album that is solid. For now they will keep devouring those full T-Bones.

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