Styles P & DJ Green Lantern
The Green Ghost Project

Beats: XL
Lyrics: L
Originality: XL

DJ Green Lantern is certified when it comes to throwing assists to members of the LOX. In 2004 he linked up with Jadakiss for the epic mixtape The Champ Is Here. Then, just last year, the duo reunited on The Champ Is Here 2: Kiss My Ass. So it should come as no surprise Lantern’s teamed with Styles P to concoct the right mix of stellar lyrics and gritty original production on their collaborative effort, The Green Ghost Project. That’s not to say Green deserves all the credit.

The Ghost does his part, too, by exhibiting a real knack for finding new ways to rhyme about his usual concepts. Over GL’s melancholy production on “Send A Kite,” for instance, he spits from the perspective of inmates locked behind bars. Likewise, the soulful “Pretty Little Thing” sounds like just another female-friendly love song until Styles reveals what he’s really rapping about (we won’t ruin the surprise here). The cleverly flipped Group Home sample on “Pablo Doe” becomes the foundation for SP trading verses about making money by any means necessary with N.O.R.E. and Uncle Murda.

While the street-laden subject matter could become tiresome to some, the LP is better served by allowing Styles the freedom to craft a body of work that doesn’t have to cater to radio. So from the aggressive opening verse on “Nothin’ To Lose” to the paranoid Statik Selektah-produced, “Shadows,” he’s able to focus squarely on satisfying the streets. Styles is clearly riding a wave of confidence on the project’s most personal effort, “Born In These Streets,” where he raps, “I’m large in the city lights, go hard in on any mic/Ghost is the closest you gon’ get to what Biggie writes.” It’s a bold comparison, of course, but one that doesn’t sound quite so far-fetched thanks to another successful experiment by DJ Green Lantern and a member of the LOX. —Chris Yuscavage