In the Rap Game. Theres three things that are hard to maintain in order to have a long successful career. loyalty, Respect and longevity. There have been many groups that have either fell apart its hard to maintain loyalty(Diplomats), lack of longevity(Das Efx) and most importantly respect. Despite battling a trendy industry, a long-winded publishing battle with their former employer. battled, some of the hardest rap crews in New York along with Industry politics. The LOX in 2010 still remains as one of the most respected and relevant crews in the game.
With Jadakiss’s raspy voice mixed in with his slick punch lines, Styles P with his serious but cold delivery and Sheek Louch’s more animated crazier style. The 3 together have stuck it out and somehow still managed to remain longevity despite the fact that record sales havent been as great as they liked which made me label them as the Most Unknowns because their known in the industry, respected by their peers but they don’t have the record sales or mass appeal like many of their peers. So here’s the LOX The Most Unknowns.
The Bad Boy Era
The Lox were just like many other aspiring hip hop groups coming up in the game around late 1996. They were hungry for a record deal and after shipping their demos to labels and selling their own demos in the streets for a 100 dollars a pop, They lucked up and signed with Puff Daddy’s Bad Boy Records. This was the perfect opportunity for the LOX to showcase their talents and with Diddy’s successful track record. It seemed like the perfect match. Hoping to give the group some national exposure, Puff would put the LOX on the Notorious B.I.G.’s Sophmore smash album Life After Death and feature them on the track Last Dayz. The Group lyrically tore the dark Havoc produced track to shreads and even outshined Biggie on it.
Knowing that he had possible diamonds in the rough and impressed with the positive feedback for the group, Puff featured them on his own solo album No Way Out and Mase’s Harlem World Respectfully. He put them on his biggest hit to date(All About the Benjamins) which was probably the biggest record of 1997. This was pretty good promotion for an unknown hardcore rap group from Yonkers
After riding high off the momentum from Biggies, Puff’s and Mase’s smash albums, The momentum for a new Lox album was perfectly set up. They been on multi platinum albums, toured with Puffy and the Family along with having the streets hungry for their debut titled Money, Power, Respect. When Puffy released their first single “If you think I’m Jiggy” It certainly wasnt what the people expected or what the fans wanted to hear from the Lox. The Song was already horrible enough with Jadakiss singing that Rod Stewart hook for the course. It was a set up for a soon to be disaster. Puffy went to the next level and further softened up their image by having them wear shiny suits and followed the pop route. It may have worked for Mase because Mase started off hardcore just like the LOX did but Mase had more commercial appeal and Puffy tried his hardest to market the LOX commercially seeing that the R&B pop route was making him tons of money. The results were disastrous and it remains as disappointment record sales wise and musically.
The Ruff Ryders Movement
Throughout early 1998, The Lox started to show disdain for Puffy. Not only did they feel that he attempted to sabotage their image by having them go the pop direction, But they also felt Puff owed them their publishing which he maintained for the majority of their rap careers as a group meaning that whenever the LOX as a group release an album or whenever Jadakiss, Styles or Sheek would release a solo album, Puffy would get a cut of their royalties and if you would look on any of their albums, guest appearances, You would see Justin Combs’ Publishing on the bottom of any of their appearances.
Knowing that they made a mistake by signing to Bad Boy without any education about the business, The LOX launched their “Let the LOX” go campaign hoping to get off the label with fan support and raising awareness to other labels. They ended up signing with the Ruff Ryders in late 98.
The Ruff Ryders was riding high off the momentum from DMX who single handedly destroyed the Jiggy era in 1998 and brought Hip Hop back to the streets. This was the perfect home the LOX as they felt they can say what they wanna say, They can go the hardcore route and don’t have to worry about Diddy making them put out radio cuts. The LOX after leaving Bad Boy since then launched their “Fuck Puff Daddy” movement in full swing and released an onslaught of disses on their former employer and label throughout their whole 2nd album titled We are The Streets.
When they said that “We Are The Streets” They weren’t kidding. We Are The Streets has to be one of the hardest albums to have dropped in hip hop and showcased The LOX(mainly Jadakiss) at his best as he cruised through all of the hard beats with his raspy flow and sick punchlines. Styles and Sheek held the album down on their own but it was Jadakiss that was the main star of that album and he proved that on songs such as Fuck You, Breathe Easy and his solo cut Blood Pressure where he’s taking more shots at Puffy and Bad Boy. This led to a nasty feud which boiled over to a boiling point where Jada and Styles were airing out Puffy for shady business practices on Hot 97.
The Feuds, Controversy, and present
One thing that you have to respect about the LOX is that they aren’t afraid of competing. They have went against Rocafella, State Property, G-Unit, Bad Boy, and maintained their consistent by not only dropping some of the hardest music in hip hop. Every group that came against the LOX has been dismantled lyrically and it may come as a heavy debate on who won the battle between them and the Rocafella camp. Theres no denying that they crushed G-Unit and this is coming from a fan of theirs. The LOX has delivered some of the most brutal diss songs of all of hip hop and they still go hard to this day:
Shots Fired(Disses 50 Cent)
Jeter Freestyle(Dissing Rocafella)
What has also impressed me about the LOX is how they grew more as individual artists. Styles P has developed into not only one of the hardest rappers in the game but he’s also adapted a new style of lyricism by expanding his subject manner and improving more of his lyricism. His debut album Gangster and Gentlemen was one of the best albums in 2002, Jadakiss has always remained as the star of the group but his albums from the retail level hasn’t really met expectations but nevertheless he’s still remains as one of the best mixtape rappers out along with one of the game’s top lyricists with his stellar The Champ is Here series along with rapping along the best in the game. Sheek Louch stepped up his rap game as well and may remain as the least favorite member but he’s gotten a lot better over the years and he showed it within the past few solo albums.
I remember back in the day where this one guy on MTV got alot of heat for saying The LOX was a better group than groups such as Outkast, Goodie Mob and many others. But being over the years these three Yonkers representatives have progressed for the better and remain as one of the hardest groups on the streets, Theres no denying that claim.
The only thing that have stopped the LOX from getting their proper respect as individual artists and as a group is that their record sales aren’t as stellar as they should. But nevertheless they are always requested whenever it be on remixes, mixtapes, or even R&B cuts for that matter. Kiss is probably one of the few artist that can do a song with Paris Hilton and still get respect. They’ve done work with the best rappers(Pun, Biggie, Nas), R&B artists(Usher, Neyo, Mariah) along with some of the corniest(Paris Hilton) But the bottom line is that The LOX deserve more than what their getting and this is what this blog is meant for. Here are some other songs that are worth checking:
Jadakiss Bars of Terror
Styles P Black Magic
D-Block So Much Trouble(Sheek KILLED THIS!)