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The LOX will forever go down in history as one of the greatest rap groups to ever do it. Consisting of rappers Sheek Louch, Styles P, and Jadakiss, the trio returns with their highly anticipated new album titled Living Off Xperience. The new project hails 14 brand new records with standout features from DMX, T-Pain, Jeremih, Westside Gunn, and Benny The Butcher.
With nearly three decades worth of life tales — from coming up in the streets to signing to Diddy’s Bad Boy Records to eventually joining Ruff Ryders Entertainment — all three veterans embody the phrase, “Hard work pays off.”
REVOLT caught up with The LOX to discuss the early days with Puff, priceless studio sessions with DMX, their new project and more. Read below.
Twenty six years later, what inspires you to create music today?
Sheek: The love from the fans for me. That’s when I know I’ma stop, when the fans don’t want me to make it anymore. Right now, they still want us to make it, so I’m enjoying it. That’s pure. I love the money, but it’s the love from the fans.
Styles: For me, working with my brothers. Being a group that stood together this long, being dope for this long. Looking at our draft class and seeing who’s still relevant and popping, really be able to look over our body of work and what we’ve done together. What we’ve been able to achieve as a group is amazing. Super dope, it feels great.
Jadakiss: For me, it’s the bills (laughs). It’s still coming.
Bring us back to when you were with Bad Boy. How’d it feel to have Mary J. Blige pass your demo to Puff?
Sheek: That’s big sis right there. We’re always going to appreciate her doing that and having that interest, and love for us back then. Incredible. Most people want the contracts and to be tied to them, she didn’t. Mary wanted nothing at all.
Fondest memories from those days?
Jadakiss: Some of the best parties you could ever go to. Partied like 1999, it was 1998. It was the same kind of parties The Beatles had.
Styles: Beautiful people, beautiful clothes, a lot of money, a lot of ambiance, a lot of feng shui, a lot of success, a lot of abundance. Bottles and glitz.
Sheek: With Diddy, it felt like he was always celebrating something. That was life, n*ggas was getting their money, but we’re celebrating.
What about the Ruff Ryders days?
Styles: The music and the camaraderie. Seeing blue collar hip hop and regular people on the streets get the hip hop they could relate to, that’s pretty awesome. To be part of the people who did it was really awesome.
Sheek: Timing is everything with all that. Watching our big bros take it to a whole other level to where Puff was. Cash Money, all these guys, that was so dope to see.
Fast forward to 2020. Getting DMX on “Bout Shit” is so full circle.
Sheek: X is the GOAT, man. X is always a lot of energy. He came through to the studio the night we called him on time. He wasn’t deep, just in good spirits. We had him in for a hook. I came out the room later, Styles had him doing a verse. They were chopping it up, we banged it out.
Styles: We had a ball. It was like riding a bike, doing what you do with an old friend. Old comrade. We got to it and it came out great. It was pretty fucking amazing to say the least. An amazing song, shout out to Scram on the beat.
What’s the energy now compared to back then?
Styles: We were laughing, having fun like the old days. Doing what we did in the old days in the new days really.
Sheek: That conversation could go anywhere — from music to religion to politics, all that.
Jadakiss: Everything! All night, we talked about God, the devil, life, church, money, kids, music, rap, careers, Yonkers, crackheads, dopeheads, pitbulls, shooters, aunts, uncles, nephews. Everything you can imagine, we talked about.
Sheek, you say you’re in the best shape of your lives. How so?
Sheek: Definitely mentally, physically, spiritually, all above. But, definitely physically. I’m working out, hitting the juice bar on the regular. That juice bar got us looking like this (laughs)!
What inspires you to be healthy?
Jadakiss: Survival, life, the passion of living.
Styles: Surviving and taking care of all our people, our communities, our families. Noticing food deserts in the hood, trying to be informative.
Sheek: It’s dope what my brother Styles and Kiss are doing for us, getting the young ones to start now. A lot of people start when they get older, I’m one of them. I’ve been working out, but it’s a little different now. Getting them so young, they specifically know their body and health. It’s cool.
Where do you see the state of hip hop now compared to when you were coming up?
Sheek: It’s two-faced.
Jadakiss: A lot of money. More money, less substance.
Sheek: Word up, but they’re eating. They’re making a lot of bread. It’s the whole Jordan thing and these new players now. Jordan wasn’t seeing the money they’re getting. I know he’s a zillionaire now, but these guys are supposed to.
Styles: Hopefully they keep the culture. One good thing is they never say the best rapper is a dude that isn’t lyrical. They always refer to best rappers as the lyrical dudes. So, until that changes, I’m comfortable.
Loved seeing Griselda on the project!
Sheek: We took them on their first tour actually. They killed it out there every night. It was dope.
How’s it feel to be one of the OGs to push hip hop into the mainstream realm?
Sheek: It’s a pleasure.
Jadakiss: Hardcore and mainstream, that’s what The LOX is.
Styles: It’s good for hip hop to be mainstream [as] long as people know the difference between hip hop, rap, emceeing, a rapper, a craftsman.
Jadakiss: As long as people keep the culture, it’s all good. Hip hop run the world, so it has to be mainstream.
New album out now! Living Off Xperience is such a fitting title.
Sheek: That’s what we stand for.
Jadakiss: Dope body of work. Best shit on the shelf!
Sheek: Absolutely, man. Dope content, dope visuals. We’re painting pictures on that joint. We give you a sick ass story on there. It’s incredible stuff.
Styles: It’s very authentic, very organic. You get what you get from The LOX with more maturity. It’s a rounded out album. The young fans love us, they get something they could listen to. For our peers, they get something to listen to. For the older hip hop heads, they get something raw to listen to. We covered all the bases.
You have features from T-Pain, Jeremih, Westside Gunn… What was the creative process behind picking these?
Styles: Which they sounded the best on.
How does this compare to your platinum-selling debut album; Money, Power, Respect?
Jadakiss: We’re grown.
Sheek: It’s different times. As far [as] lyrically and content, we grown now. We’re talking different shit than before like “murder murder murder, money money money.” Now, I’ma tell you a little more going on in my life.
Styles: We’re in a different place in our lives. We were young men, now we’re mature men. We’re families, we’re businesses. Views of the world we’re sharing with you through our experiences of life, being in the music industry and outside period.
What does it mean to close out the project with “Loyalty & Love”?
Styles: That was the best song to finish with on the list. It made sense. That’s what we stand for — hundred percent to these brothers right here.
Jadakiss: Loyalty and love, respect.
Styles, Jadakiss, and Sheek: Facts.
How did the podcast come about?
Jadakiss: That came out of marketing, a meeting of the minds.
Sheek: It came out of when people see us together, our chemistry and organic-ness, how we maintain through the years. They felt we need to share this with people.
Jadakiss: Shout out to Roc Nation for that, the whole team.
Sheek: We got mad questions to ask them, they got questions to ask us. We share those thoughts, man.
What are your thoughts with everything going on in the world from the pandemic to Black Lives Matter?
Jadakiss: Another dude just got shot in the back in Wisconsin.
Sheek: With the pandemic, it’s crazy and sad what is happening to all these businesses. I was riding around Manhattan the other day and all these places are closed. Not for fun closed — even Dave & Busters is about to close.
Jadakiss: It’s bad out here.
Sheek: That’s a big corporation. Imagine the little mom and pops that finally got their shit together, then boom just like that. The people who lost their lives or fighting that shit, it’s crazy.
Styles: That state of the world, everything from hip hop to the pandemic, it’s mixed feelings. A lot of this shit is very stagnant, but we can only go up from here. I try to keep an optimistic point of view, look on the bright side of things. This was a time for a lot of people to get reconnected with their families, get down to earth, get back into hobbies, get in tune with their own body. From the virus to the racism to the Me Too Movement to child shit to the presidential race, we’re in a very fucked up time, but a very exciting time to be alive because change has to come about. Something has to change. We’re at a boiling point.
How do you guys, as a legendary rap group, plan to continue to push the narrative?
Jadakiss: By sticking to the script, giving them what they love us for. Dropping jewels inside the music. Besides rap, it’s our job. We still have families to take care, kids to raise. We’re going to push the narrative at home and at work.
Styles, Jadakiss and Sheek: Absolutely.
What can we expect from The Lox documentary?
Sheek: It’s going to be crazy.
Jadakiss: Real life issues and things you never knew about us.
Styles: We’re trying to get the right home for it right now. It’ll be here soon.
Anything else you want to let us know?
Sheek: Get the project!
Jadakiss: Get the album, Living on Xperience.
Styles: It’s fire, spread the word.