“Look into the flames, see the eye of the dragon”
There is a dragon waking in the desert southwest that goes by the name of Stacc Styles. Styles has long been an important fixture of Tucson, Arizona’s Hip-Hop scene and is now on a crusade to bring his brand of “High Energy Hip-Hop” to a larger audience. He just dropped his first full-length album, “Inside The Ride”, and is primed for bigger things in the future.
Styles has been making music since 1999, when he helped form The CCS Crew, a cornerstone of Tucson Hip-Hop in the last decade. While he still works with The CCS Crew, he also records as part of the Tustoned Kids, and performs as the Optic City All-Stars with his partner and hype-man Greg Sacks. “Too many projects” as he says. While he is a busy man his current focus is on his solo work, and that work is impressive.
Styles is known for his arsenal of delivery styles, which range from slow and deliberate to insanely fast. His rapping skills are the real deal and “Inside The Ride” is a fitting showcase for his talents. It is a diverse album, befitting Styles’ eclectic personality. It ranges from the social commentary of “Smacktown”, to the wackiness of “Sledgehammers”, to the bumpin’ party anthem “Ride With It”. The album packs a lot of punches, but perhaps the highlights are the ominous “Eye Of The Dragon”, “AZ Breakdown” featuring fellow Tucson up-and-comer Marley B, and “Fully Automatic”. On “Fully Automatic” Styles lets it fly and shows off his ridiculously fast chopping skills. Beware the “Southwest Chopper”, he is relentless.
Styles and his wing-man Sacks are going to be working hard supporting “ITR” and hope to tour and make as many appearances as possible. They recently opened for E-40 at Tucson’s historic Rialto Theater and will be supporting Berner on his “The Cookies or Better Tour”at the Rock in Tucson on July 12.
If you get a chance to see Styles perform don’t miss it. He and Sacks set it off every time, for real. They bring a level of energy to their show that is rare and absolutely contagious. Styles roams the stage like a predator stalking his prey. Bouncing, pouncing and delivering his flows with precision. This “High Energy” mindset has gained Styles a lot of support in Tucson’s Heavy Metal scene as well. He regularly performs with heavy-hitting Tucson rockers Stands With Fists and A Fall To Break. In a nod to those fans and musicians, he included a “Heavy Mix” of “Eye Of The Dragon” on “Inside The Ride”.
In a “shades of Willy Wonka” maneuver, Styles has included five “Golden Tickets” in the first 1000 copies of “ITR”. Winners receive winners-only gold logo Stacc Styles T-Shirts and hats, and an autographed poster. One Grand Prize Winner receives free entry to all of Styles’ shows for a year.
Pick up a copy and join Stacc “Inside The Ride”. Catch him and Sacks on tour if you can. Stacc Styles is coming, get on board or get out of his way.
Styles recently sat down with IPO Radio for a brief interview….Enjoy…
IPO Radio: You recently released your first full-length album “Inside The Ride”. How has it been received?
Stacc Styles: It’s been awesome. It’s been really well received. I’ve had certain people say that it’s the best Hip-Hop album that they’ve heard come out of Arizona ever…It’s so positive for me hearing stuff like that, I really appreciate it…So far from everybody that has hit me up I’ve had nothing but good feedback.
IPO: Why did you decide to record a “heavy mix” of “Eye Of The Dragon”?
SS: The inspiration behind doing a metal version was Marcus Davis from Stands With Fists and Ph8. He came in the studio one day while me and Greg ( partner Greg Sacks) were rehearsing for a show. He heard “Eye Of The Dragon” and really dug the track and started playing guitar to it. It was the moment I realized we could do something like Cypress Hill did with “(Rap) Superstar” and “(Rock) Superstar” off their “Skull & Bones” release. Also Limp Bizkit had done something similar in 2000 with “Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle)” having a Hip-Hop version and heavy version. Something that I had been wanting to do with CCS (The CCS Crew) for a long time. After hearing what Marcus had in mind we went nuts with “EOTD”. Adding Marcus on guitar and Matt Good (of From First to Last) on bass, plus having Matt add another guitar part. And then adding Jonathan Russell (of Stands With Fists) on back-up vocals on the hook and Steve Natale on drums and then added some Adrian Wilson (also of Stands With Fists) on violin to spice it up a bit.
IPO: Your new track “Smacktown” is full of gritty tales from the street and anti-drug messages. What were your inspirations for that song?
SS: As soon as I heard the beat from Funk Volume I knew exactly how I wanted to do it. I fell in love with the beat and started writing about true stories that I myself have either been through through family or friends or stories they told me, all true, no bullshit. I formed the track around those experiences and those stories.
IPO: How has Tucson influenced you as an artist?
SS: Tucson is home to me…I’ve spent the majority of my life here in Tucson and it’s a family environment for me, with all my friends and family, and fans. The fans are my family in a lot of ways, especially the Tucson fans. It’s my home and I represent Tucson, Arizona to the fullest. Everybody’s rallied behind me and supported me in this town and it is beyond appreciated.
IPO: What do you think about the current state of Hip-Hop in America?
SS: I feel like Hip-Hop is still going strong in a lot of ways. I feel like certain areas have kind of died out…It comes in waves. Everything with the Hip-Hop industry comes in waves…I feel like the 90s were better than now, with a lot of music, not just Hip-Hop…But Kendrick Lamar is great, E-40’s still doing it, Eminem, Rittz, Yellawolf…These are some of the dudes I’m listening to.
IPO: What about the Hip-Hop scene in Tucson?
SS: There’s so much talent in Tucson, I feel like it’s a “diamond in the rough”, there’s just so much talent that hasn’t been seen, and people just don’t know about it…There’s a lot of great talent here in Tucson and I’m happy to be a part of it.
IPO: What’s your take on Battle Rap?
SS: Battle Rap is a part of Hip-Hop culture, you know, the four elements of Hip-Hop: MCing, DJing,B-Boying, and tagging. I feel like as far as the MC side of it goes, battling is part of Hip-Hop. There’s a lot of positives and negatives in the Battle Rap scene. I’ve got nothing but respect for everybody who does step in that world. I’ve done a few battles in the past, but it’s not really my thing, I like to write and record and keep things as positive as possible.
IPO: You recently performed at Tucson’s Rialto Theatre supporting E-40. What was that like for you?
SS: It was actually really dope because it was the third show I’ve done with E-40 and I’ve always been a huge fan growing up. When I was a kid one of the first artists I heard was E-40. I’ve always been inspired by his music, he’s an innovator, he’s a legend. It was an amazing experience getting to perform with him on a solo level, I’ve done work with him with The CCS Crew in the past…It was a good night, we had a great turnout, and I’m hoping I can do more work with E-40 in the future. He’s always been good people and always treated me with respect.
IPO: Who are some of your favorite non-Rap artists?
SS: As far as Classic Rock goes I like The Traveling Wilburys, Roy Orbison, George Harrison, The Band…In the Heavy Metal scene I like Stands With Fists, Pantera, Animus Divine, A Fall To Break, and White Zombie. I love Reggae, I listen to everything.
IPO: What do you think of legalization of medical and recreational marijuana?
SS: I’m pro-medical marijuana…There’s positives and negatives in everything, there has to be a balance. On a lot of levels legalizing marijuana across the board could do a lot of good, I also think it could do a lot of bad. There’s pros and cons to everything but I don’t think marijuana is bad in moderation.
IPO: What’s next for Stacc Styles?
SS: Keep grinding, keep pushing, keep my forward progression. There’s tour discussions in the works trying to get me out on the road. I’m working on a couple different projects, I’ll be putting out new music, of course I’ll be promoting “Inside The Ride”. I’ve got a couple of videos that I’m going to do. Just basically pushing and promoting this album, maybe doing a tour, and just trying to get the word out there.
IPO: Thanks for the interview Stacc and best of luck to you in the future…
Story, interview and photos by Michael Anderson