For over 26 years, The LOX built a reputation for being one of the most tight-knit rap groups in Hip Hop history. They entered the game standing side by side and if there were any internal issues amongst them, it was never made public.
It’s not every day you see a rap group hit the double decade mark in their careers, and to do it while never breaking up, is even harder to find. Most collectives see their end after creative differences or financial issues cause a rift amongst the members, but The LOX managed to avoid all that through the fierce loyalty and deep love they have for each other. “These other niggas was never taught that. They was never taught that kind of brotherhood [we have]. Them is my brothers,” Sheek Louch tells GroovyTracks.
The brotherhood that the trio is speaking of was created back in their younger days growing up in Yonkers, NY. Their families knew each other, and as kids, The LOX would hang out whenever they could, developing an organic bond that would later be the force that helped the trio maneuver through the music industry and life in general.
In high school, the trio formed their rap group, first calling themselves The Bomb Squad and worked diligently to get their voices heard. After years of putting out demo tapes and performing at local shows, they changed their name to the Warlocks and developed an underground buzz. Their sound would eventually reach the ears of Diddy who signed them to Bad Boy Records in the early 90s and the rest is history.
Throughout their lengthy careers, The LOX kept their loyalty strong and their love pure through how real they kept things with themselves and their music, something their fans have greatly appreciated. Their brand of reality rap that details street life through a hardcore, gritty lens made the group a fresh new voice for the streets in the 90s. They built a loyal fanbase through their roots in the hood and raw lyrical talent, but most importantly through their authenticity and how strong they were as a unit.
When The LOX were unhappy with the direction Bad Boy Records was going in the late 90s and fans felt they were selling out, the Yonkers trio petitioned to be let out of their contract with Bad Boy Records to find a label that better suited their style of music. Even when it came to rap beefs with Roc-A-Fella and G-Unit, the trio took charge against their competition as a fiercely united front.
“As far as this trio goes, I feel like we’re special because we managed to stand the test of time,” Styles P explains. And they were only able to do that through the love they received from their family, friends, and fans through the years. “Young people fuck with us, our peer groups fuck with us, the elders fuck with us, and we fuck with the elders, our peer group, and the youngins” Styles adds.
For their upcoming album Living Off Xperience (the true definition of their time-tested name), The LOX are giving their fans an inside look into their brotherhood, their growth from teenagers to men, and how they’ve stood the test of time together. On “Loyalty and Love,” the lead single off the album, the trio gives a crash course on what those two words should mean to those who claim people as their family. “Loyalty is not lit these days. If I put money and fame over that, that kind of makes me a coward, and sucker ass nigga,” says Styles P about the single. “We’re just breaking it down,” Jadakiss adds. “I love our story, I love our legacy, the journey [it took]. All of it is needed [right now].”
To go along with the new album, the trio will be releasing a documentary that opens the door into the world of The LOX. It’s raw and personal, something the group feels their fans need to see because to them, we haven’t seen anything yet. “If y’all thought that we never argue, you’ll see little arguments and disagreements and shit,” Sheek reveals to GroovyTracks. “You’re going to see what we go through.”
GroovyTracks continued the conversation with The LOX about their legacy, what’s in store for their future, the new album Living Off Xperience, having an award named after them, their feelings on the current state of Hip Hop and more.
GroovyTracks: You guys just hit 26 years in the game. How does it feel to hit that benchmark in your careers right now?
Sheek Louch: I think it’s dope, man. I love it because the fans still love it. That’s what I’m really going on. When you go out on the shows, and they going crazy, and it’s still packed and all that, that shit is dope. If the fans wasn’t loving it, then I might not like it either. But they loving it, so I love it.
Styles P: I love it, because the fans love it. I ain’t gone lie, I love it because my two brothers, I think we kept dope over the years. It’s a lot of dope MC’s who they get a 7-year run, 10-year run tops. Maybe 15. So I think personally, for us, it’s super dope.
Sheek Louch: And we look good as fuck, man. Look at these other niggas. They look like they had the corona like 30 years ago, man. They don’t look good, man. Like they been had the corona. Our shit is fly.
Jadakiss: We definitely look good. We definitely in great shape. Healthy. You see my brothers drinking tea, man. Waters.
GroovyTracks: It’s really dope to see you guys promoting healthy living because we don’t get that from the older generation. What keeps you guys inspired to do that?
Styles P: Personally, trying to survive, man. And trying to see our people survive. We the people of the streets, we the rappers of the streets, blue-collar rappers. So just trying to spread information, as you know, helps people. Not to be a doctor, not to be a guru, not to say I know more than anybody. But just more so to say this works for me, this works for us, this works for our people. Give it a shot. I think everything is in balance. I like to smoke, I like to drink, I like to party. So with that being said, I know my peoples want to do the same thing. So, it’s important to bring balance and remind folks you possibly could be hurt if you don’t bring the balance. So, simply that.
Sheek Louch: I appreciate where Styles and Kiss took it with the juice bar flow. As far as like, they made it cool to drink these drinks, and all that kind of stuff, man. Before you frowned on that kind of shit. Even if you knew it taste good, or not. Now it’s like you have to put that in you.
Jadakiss: I appreciate that. I appreciate Styles being at the helm, and putting us onto it, making me a partner in one of the juice bars in Yonkers, and just teaching me how to drink some cool stuff and take care of your body with some knowledge that we didn’t have before this. Like he said, we ain’t getting no younger. So, what better time to get in shape and make sure you here for your kids.
GroovyTracks: You guys are the only group, from what I remember, that hasn’t really had their internal issues spill over into their public lives. How’d you guys manage to avoid that, and what’s the secret to staying together for so long?
Sheek Louch: We argue and shit like I’m pretty sure muthafuckas been mad at me. But y’all ain’t going to know about it and shit like that and vice versa. That’s just how it goes. I don’t ever understand with this new world, fucking Instagram and shit. I’m really not for like you putting all your shit on there, telling muthafuckas that don’t know you. Fuck that.
THE LOX IS BLACK HISTORY. @therealstylesp, @Therealkiss, and @REALSHEEKLOUCH backstage celebrating the release of their debut album ‘’Money, Power & Respect,” captured by @JohnnyNUBUZZ. pic.twitter.com/TMR6PQBLNx
— The LOX (@thelox) March 9, 2020
Styles P: They ain’t take the sense of the word brotherhood together. They don’t really understand it. If one of them two are winning, I’m winning. If one of them is out there, they doing what they got to do, and they winning, that means I’m winning. That means it’s beyond family and that means that we all winning. People often look at a group and think it’s supposed to be based off of what rap is. I could’ve never been famous, or never been known, if them two brothers didn’t accept me.
So, with that being said, I think when you come in with a code, or beyond like Louch will call me and Kiss will call me beyond shit that has anything to do with rap. If I don’t appreciate that, and look at rap first, that’ll kind of make me a bitch ass sucker nigga. Like to remember somebody that cares for me, and cares about my well being, and that’s said real shit to me in my life. At times, they ain’t have to take that time out to say it.
Jadakiss: A lot of these groups was put together at the label.
Sheek Louch: Absolutely.
Jadakiss: We put the label together.
GroovyTracks: Do you guys feel like your more organic than these other groups?
Sheek Louch: Oh, hell yeah.
Styles P: Word. Let’s give a big shout out to De La Soul and M.O.P. I never seen them break up. If they did, I don’t know about it. I think we are just a group that kind of puts it in people’s faces. But those are two other solid groups that stuck with each other. So let’s give them they flowers while we supposed to.
GroovyTracks: When it comes to the younger generation and this current Hip Hop scene, do you care about fitting in with this generation?
Sheek Louch: Hell no. You ain’t never heard nothing about when we tried to fit in, man. And salute to all the new young rappers, and all that. And the new generation. Go ahead, man. Get that money, yo. Word. No, we ain’t never try to fit in.
Jadakiss: You heard Ignatius? It don’t have any trap songs on there.
Sheek Louch: Not only that, them young people love us. And we love them. Even if we don’t all the way fuck with it, we like the group that’s going to go, “Yo. You’re a young black man, you getting your money, get your fucking money, man.” I don’t got to 100% agree with that shit. You don’t got to 100% agree with my shit. But you out there and you getting it, LOX is going to support you. I might not play your shit, but I’m not going to talk dirty about you, I’m not going to say nothing negative about you. That’s another young black man who didn’t have to sell crack or rob nobody. So fuck it. Go get your money.
GroovyTracks: Jada, I know you mentioned to us before that, you like Young Thug, and that more hip hop heads need to listen to the new school to appreciate them. Styles and Sheek, do you guys feel the same way about Thug, and who outside of the new guys do you like right now?
Sheek Louch: I absolutely feel the same way. I’m fucking with Russ. I like Russ right now. It’s a whole bunch, man. Of course, DaBaby, Lil Baby, all of them. The shit is dope. I get around, when I be around Styles, definitely my youngest sons and them, but when I get around Styles and Kiss, I hear all new shit. When I be in the Sprinter and shit, like, “Yo who that? That shit is crazy right there.” So it’s dope and I’m with all that. I may not love everything, but I’m with it.
Styles P: If you making money, I love you, man. You don’t got to go to jail. I don’t got to love it, man. I’m not a person who has to love it. I understand that I’m 45, I come from a different era. I wasn’t raised off a phone. I had to knock on people’s doors to call them or yell out the window. So I don’t expect to have the same experience as everybody else. But if a young black man is making money, I love it. I absolutely love it whether I fuck with it, or don’t fuck with it.
If I know it’s a young black man making money and he don’t got to sell drugs, be on the corner, I don’t got to understand that shit, I don’t got to like it, I don’t got to fuck with it. I got a 21-year-old son. I’m in the house all day, he in the house all day. Some shit he plays, I like. Some shit he plays I fucking absolutely hate. Like to the bone. To my core soul. But, when I have a talk with him, and he explains to me what’s going on, and what’s happening, I can’t hate on them young fellas. Go get your money.
GroovyTracks: You guys have the lead single, “Loyalty and Love.” What do those two words mean to each of you at this point in your life?
Sheek Louch: You know what loyalty is. That’s self-explanatory with The LOX. All these years, man. It is what it is with us. Can’t make that shit up, right? It’s like you can’t make that shit up. And the same with the love part, man. Basically, if you hear the song, we just talking about snakes around you, how you should be with your real niggas, why they only holler at you. Muthafuckas might think yo, he’s talking about me. I don’t know, if that’s the case, fuck it. I am. It’s just a dope song. Like yo, get with it.
Jadakiss: Yeah. Just like he said. A picture of us should pop up when you even Google the word loyalty.
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THE LOX IS BLACK HISTORY. The inception of the group stemmed from the duo, Jason "Jadakiss" Phillips and Sean "Sheek Louch" Jacobs batting one another as kids. They evolved their craft through high school until David "Styles P” Styles joined the group. The Yonkers-based trio, originally known as the "Bomb Squad", moved on to be known as the “Warlocks” until finally settling into their present day name, The LOX.
GroovyTracks: We never really seen a group like you guys keep it together as much as you guys have.
Sheek Louch: Yo, y’all got to make more of that, though. Right, Kiss? What you said? When we going to the awards for that shit? Y’all got to spread that out more, man. Be like yo, y’all niggas is dope.
Styles P: It’s no award for that, Louch. That’s not geared to people nowadays.
Sheek Louch: I know, man.
Jadakiss: That should be an award that all these new groups should want to have as much as a Grammy, man. The LOX loyalty award.
GroovyTracks: The last project you guys dropped, was Filthy America… It’s Beautiful. Why was there a 16-year wait between that album and We Are the Streets?
Styles P: I want to say contracts and the fact that we actually really brothers. I think it meant more to the people, and it should’ve meant more to us, but I was fine with seeing my brothers every day, meeting them in the studio, talking with them, having lunch with them, having dinner knowing how they family is going, then putting out a next LOX album, that we wouldn’t all the way get the money off of. So I think the people ain’t understand our brotherhood, and what we go through, and what we do.
For me, personally, I do music with them, but they my brothers more than I do music with them. So I don’t know how that goes. So other people from the outside may look at it a different way. But I just look at it, I’m happy to see Louch and Kiss. I’m happy to be next to them, hear they music, see what’s going on. And I’m good with that. So I wasn’t pressing the issue if we wasn’t going to get the most money off of it that we could get.
GroovyTracks: What are we going to hear from the LOX on this new album that we haven’t heard before?
Styles P: Fire!
Jadakiss: The same shit but from a grown man perspective.
Sheek Louch: You could hear the lyrics and the topics we talking about. As far as like grown type shit. It’s different.
GroovyTracks: What’s the most challenging thing about making this new album. What things did you have trouble with or tried to adjust to?
Sheek Louch: I think it was pretty dope, man. I think everything went kind of smooth. Even flying out to meet with certain producers, we always bang-out and we work good together. We don’t be having a lot of difficulties. Only shit be like clearing samples and other shit like that. Even the rapper or the producer got love for us like crazy. So it’s kind of like I don’t know if we go through the young boy problems.
Styles P: I ain’t going to lie, my biggest difficulty was making sure I matched the energy on verses. That shit was, every time that it was coming, I just felt it was crazy. They was doing some crazy shit, the energy, for me, it was matching energy, to be honest with you. I think what we all come with is, for me, I was just waking up going, “God damn, man. I don’t believe he said this shit.” That was pretty much the most, for me, that was the most difficult but inspiring part, also because it makes you wake up.
Jadakiss: Little bit of both of what both of them said. It was dope because we was there together for making a lot of it. The bulk of it, we was all there. So that made it doper than your normal projects. Besides We Are The Streets, we was there for the whole thing together. But it’s just exciting to get it out.
GroovyTracks: Is there a concept behind it or is it just a selection of records you guys are just putting together and putting out to the people?
Styles P: The concept will be the title. Living Off Xperience. I think when you hear the songs, and you’re going to hear a lot of songs, you’re going to hear our growth from the beginning to now.
GroovyTracks: Jada, when we last spoke, you mentioned to me that you would like to have more post-production done on this album. Were you guys able to do that?
Jadakiss: That’s some of the things that we tweaking right now. To get some samples replayed and beef up some songs and get that sound real edgy that we looking for.
GroovyTracks: One of your most memorable moments came during that infamous label dispute you had with Diddy. Do you guys feel you deserve more respect for that whole saga? You’ve said in the past that guerilla movement is what started the trend of people wanting to get out of contracts.
Jadakiss: Definitely. They won’t give us no light on that because that’s not something that they want to happen in this game. So, that’ll probably be when we no longer here and somebody comes with it.
Styles P: You know how I feel on that? They ain’t going to never give us the light because all three of us are still twenty-something years plus in the game, without letting the game fuck us up. I think the game is meant to fuck you up, or meant to separate some, or do something. We’ve managed to remain family, our families remain families, and love each other beyond rap. I think that’s something they will never highlight, because just what it stands for, it’s bigger than the industry.
Sheek Louch: True. We ain’t ready for the Unsung yet. Not yet.
Styles P: No, we can’t do an Unsung, Louch. We ain’t ready for the Unsung.
Jadakiss: I ain’t ready of the Unsung yet. I still got some stinging to do.
GroovyTracks: What lies in the future once this album comes out? Is there going to be more LOX projects or are you guys going to hang it up after a while?
Sheek Louch: Nah, man. I’m going to speak for us. I think we going to keep going until the fans tell us to stop. That’s when I’m getting out. I’m going to know when the fans don’t want me to do this shit no more. You’ll feel that shit. It’s something.
GroovyTracks: Do you guys ever feel like you’re getting older and this current state of Hip Hop is not for you anymore because it’s so different?
Sheek Louch: I’m dumb old yo. I’m dumb old but I’m just dope as fuck. You got to embrace that shit, yo. Yo, embrace it. All the OG’s, they embrace that. Snoop and them, they lit. They still lit. When you embrace that shit, you better. You feel better. Word. Keep going, man. Keep spitting. Word. Keep doing that shit.
Jadakiss: Facts. I got a lot more to say, man. That’s all I got to say. I don’t really play the age game, because I eat a lot of them young niggas up. As well as the older niggas, so. Call it what you want. You touch the stove, you find out it’s hot.
Sheek Louch: That’s right. That’s a good one, bro.
GroovyTracks: What’s the story behind the documentary? Why come out with this right now, when you guys could have dropped it last year, on the 25th anniversary of the group?
Sheek Louch: It wasn’t all the way done yet. The doc is going behind Shawn Jacobs. It’s Jason, it’s David, type shit. You going to see all that kind of shit. Family and what we go through. It’s dope, man. Word.
Styles P: I feel like for me, personally, I think the doc is bigger than our 25th year. It’s bigger than anything because you get to really see the insides of LOX. What makes us, what builds us, why we are the most loyal group ever. Why we stick to each other. So for me, it’s not a timing thing. It’s more so of make sure it’s the right type of thing. It’s pretty much right. I think with LOX, with everything we do, I don’t think we chase what people say is the right timing or you need to do it this way. I think everything with us is pretty much, as you said earlier, organic. I think it happens at the right time, when we need it to happen when God says we need it to happen, and pretty much from there, we just go with the flow, I believe.
Jadakiss: He summed it up. We was made off doing it abnormally, which is normal to us. So that’s the same shit with this documentary and this new album. I think it’s going to fuck the world up.
GroovyTracks: 10 years from now when this new project is out, we got the documentary out, you guys got way more fans than ever before, how will you guys look back at your careers?
Sheek Louch: Hopefully richer and still healthy, I hope. And hopefully, we inspire more, like MC’s like that. You heard I said MC’s.
GroovyTracks: Not just rappers.
Sheek Louch: Word. You know. You get it. You get it.
Jadakiss: Same thing. A little better off, financially. Being healthy and inspired to see some more close to LOX. Because there’ll never be another.
Styles P: Same thing my two brothers said but more so, I think we already did what we needed to accomplish. I think we gave the visual why being brothers is important, what loyalty means, and that some shit is bigger than money. So I figured we already left the legacy we need to leave, and everything from this point on is just a plus. Get wealthier, like my brothers are saying. Get richer, get wealthier.
GroovyTracks: Is there anything that you guys wish you could’ve done or regret not doing?
Sheek Louch: With me, I wish I learned how to make tracks. I wish I would have learned how to make production like crazy. Word. I think I could do that shit, but I don’t know if it’s too late right now.
Styles P: It sounds weird, but I would have said I would have been softer because we would have made a lot more money. I think we intimidated a lot of people we was around, and we was the real deal and they wasn’t. So I think if we would have been a little softer, we’d have been a lot wealthier, a lot faster.
Sheek Louch: Hell yeah. I think I know what you saying. Beefing don’t mix with money, man.
Styles P: No, not at all.
Follow The LOX on their Instagram page @thelox.