Styles of War (Volume 1)

Styles Of Beyond
Killer Instinct feat. Divine Styler
from Killer Instinct 12″ (1998, Bilawn)

Ambiguous Figures
from Funky Precedent (1999, Loose Groove Records)

Styles Of Beyond, the undervalued Los Angeles outfit, consist of MC’s Ryu & Takbir, with scratch hooks and beats provided by a culmination of DJ Cheapshot, Vin Skully, Divine Styler & Bilal Bashir, who is older brother to Takbir. Their debut album ‘2000 Fold’ didn’t exactly move the infamous LA underground, as they claim “Our own city hates us more than anybody”. Styles Of Beyond emerged with the indie release of the single “Killer Instinct” on Bilawn Records. The track features the aforementioned hiphop legend Divine Styler.

Takbir & Cheapshot were already making minor moves under the SOB name when Ryu and Takbir met and freestyled with one another in ’95. The video game based “Killer Instinct” single created a light buzz with critics and the underground hiphop community, and SOB were branded Best New Artist of 1997 by ‘The Wake Up Show’. The crew released their album ‘2000 Fold’ in the late summer of ’98 independently. Early into ’99, they were signed to the Dust Brothers founded label Hi-Ho and this classic was re-released. The Dust Brothers were responsible for the production of Beastie Boys debut album Paul’s Boutique.

In ’99, Styles Of Beyond featured on the ‘No Mayo’ compilation “Funky Precedent” (Loosegroove Records) on which they dropped the exclusive track ‘Ambiguous Figures’. The “Funky Precedent” showcases starving artists living and working in LA, well worth the pick up. After the 2002 rumour that the crew had broken up over “Creative differences”, Styles of Beyond came back strong with some creative and higher profiled material, which we’ll discuss on a later post. Styles Of Beyond got signed to a major label, Machine Shop Records, under the wing of Warner Brothers. Machine Shop has scheduled the 2005 release of Styles’ debut major label appearance “Fort Minor”, which features Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, Common, Kanye, Black Though, John Legend, with a notable executive producer as well………Jay-Z!

Styles 3rd crew album is scheduled for release in 2006, “Triple Bitchin'” is the title, and I read about that a while ago on Spytech records, and then the majors came calling. There’s too much to really fit into one post, so I’ll try and post up some info on their second release ‘Megadef’, amongst a couple of other mentions of work from their extensive musical catalogue… ENJOY.

-Matty B

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