I’m choosy so when two lyricists come together, create an opulent masterpiece from introduction to outroduction and make me want to gush about it as if it were my own magnum opus, it is an act of God. Styles P and Dave East did just that with Beloved.
While collaborations are nothing new, the music industry is becoming more co-dependent than ever before. I find myself yawning when I see a track list of guest verses before an album is slated to drop. To be fair, features are a vicarious look into what the starring artist holds in high regard so for that reason alone, I may refrain from judgement and give it a whirl.
More often than not though, we are bamboozled and the unification is purely strategic in hopes of leapfrogging to the top of the charts and the consumers pocketbook when the artist wouldn’t be able to manage to do so under their own individual power. Perhaps I lost faith in chemistry until Beloved debuted, that is.
Are two artists better than one? For Beloved, the answer is a resounding yes. Hip-hop enthusiasts can bask in this moment as this album is a true testament to what a dignified collaboration should sound like. It’s safe to say that devotees haven’t felt this optimistic since the 2011 partnership between Kanye West and Jay-Z on ‘Watch The Throne.’
Styles P proves that he has a golden touch for intertwining two things that should be connected simply because they hold a similar space but was only a matter of divine timing before coming together. Mastering the art of getting veteran and young thoroughbred aesthetics to attract, Styles and East never deviated from the authentic and lucid story-telling that is the quintessential element for rhyme play to be received intelligently.
Not only did Dave East demonstrate himself to be a worthy candidate to share the spotlight with the esteemed Yonkers rapper and take a spot on the other end of Styles P’s see-saw but the alliance proved to be worth more than what the pressure may have cost and Dave East was a shoo-in for the job.
With production by Scram Jones and Style’s son Noah Styles as well as appearances by Dyce Pane, Jazzy, and LOX kin Jadakiss and Sheek Louch, Beloved is a noble admission into the collaboration hall of fame. Their message isn’t convoluted. Portray the day-to-day exploits of street life, display the content in that foul New York style we long for, go lyric for lyric, and do it sagaciously.
Mission accomplished. The thirteen song trophy is a download must. If Beloved hasn’t landed in the “heavy rotation” section of your Spotify library, something’s gone awry in your life. I suggest you allow Styles P and Dave East to guide you back on track.