The legend of The LOX is one of hip-hop’s greatest stories. Jadakiss, Styles P and Sheek Louch touched down in the rap game in the mid-1990s and have delivered a uncompromised brand of street-inspired hip-hop for nearly 20 years.
Now, with their new album Filthy America… It’s Beautiful, which will be released via a new partnership with their label D-Block and Roc Nation, The LOX are continuing that legacy.
“It’s a brotherhood over everything. We all recognize that we come from the group,” Styles P says of the trio’s legacy. if one man is winning then we’re all winning. We keep a strong code of ethics.”
The Yonkers, New York trio formed in high school and got their first break appearing on Main Source’s 1994 track “Set It Off.” After fellow Yonkers native Mary J. Blige passed their demo tape to Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, the Bad Boy CEO signed the group. While on Bad Boy, the LOX earned a reputation for street-savvy, gritty, lyric driven hip-hop with their 1998, platinum-selling, debut album Money, Power, Respect. They continued their run when they signed to Ruff Ryders and dropped 2000’s gold-selling We Are the Streets.
Tracks like “Money, Power, Respect,” “Ryde or Die, Bitch” kept the group on the charts, while collaborations with Diddy (“All About the Benjamins”), Mariah Carey (“Honey”), The Notorious B.I.G. (“Last Day”) and DMX (“Niggaz Done Started Something”) made them beloved by music fans of all types.
The group’s collective success set them up to branch off as soloists, where they released almost two dozen projects between them, including several platinum and gold albums. “There aren’t very many groups in hip-hop that have had no break-ups or public altercations or qualms over money,” Styles says. “The LOX show that in hip-hop there can be loyalty over money, women, business and things of that nature.”
With Filthy America… It’s Beautiful, the LOX bring their proven chemistry and golden age hip-hop sensibilities to a millennial landscape. So while producers like DJ Premier, Dame Grease and Pete Rock bring a classic feel to the LP, beatsmiths like V-Don and Jahlil Beats keep things fresh while L.O.X. bring their patented lyrical grit.
“It’s not super conscious, it’s just the raw truth of what the country is,” Styles explains of the album’s title and overarching theme.
“People paint America to be beautiful and it is a beautiful place, but it’s a lot of shit we don’t talk about,” he continues. “Racism, food, education, you name it and we duck it. We act like a drug dealer on the corner feeding his family is such a horrible person, but the pharmaceutical industry can be killing half of this nation by prescribing everybody the same shit. And it’s fucking disgusting, but it’s a lot of things that’s happening that’s beautiful.”