The Lox (stylized The LOX or The L.O.X.) is an American hip hop group from Yonkers, New York, composed of East Coast rappers Sheek Louch, Styles P, and Jadakiss. They had originally signed to Sean Combs' Bad Boy Records in 1995, before joining Ruff Ryders Entertainment in 1999, and have since launched their own label, D-Block Records.
1994-1996: Formation and career beginnings
Jason "Jadakiss" Phillips, David "Styles P" Styles, and Sean "Sheek Louch" Jacobs, began their musical careers in their hometown of Yonkers, New York. As high school students they formed a group called "The Bomb Squad" and began performing at local shows and producing their own demos. In 1994 they appeared on Main Source's "Set It Off" from the album "Fuck What You Think". While the local rap scene was being dominated by artists like Raw Rome, Lord Devon and a young DMX, the group began to gain attention for their lyrical style and ability to present tales of urban life. The group eventually changed their name to "The Warlocks" and continued developing a fan base by appearing on underground mix tapes. One of their admirers was the "Queen of Hip hop soul," fellow Yonkers native Mary J. Blige. Mary passed their demo tape on to Bad Boy CEO Sean "Puffy" Combs who signed them to a deal. At the behest of Combs, The Warlocks would later change their name to "The L.O.X" which stands for Living Off eXperience.
1997-2000: Mainstream success
The LOX gained national exposure in 1997 with an onside collaboration on Sean "Puffy" Combs' single "It's All About the Benjamins", shortly after gaining additional exposure with their multi-platinum tribute to The Notorious B.I.G. "We'll Always love Big Poppa". The trio later appeared on a multitude of hits, Mase's "24 Hrs. to Live", Mariah Carey's "Honey", and Jennifer Lopez's "Jenny From The Block". The group's debut album Money, Power & Respect went platinum.
In the summer of 1999, the Yonkers trio found themselves disappointed with the direction of their career on Bad Boy, and the group wanted to be released from their contract in order to join the newly formed Ruff Ryders/ Interscope label. The Ruff Ryders had always served as the Lox's managers and the group felt like the new label could better represent the hard-core sensibilities which they expressed in their rhymes. Bad Boy was known for its radio friendly dance hits and high priced videos, while the Lox were quickly establishing themselves as Hardcore rap artists. The identities clashed — "We just needed to be with a rougher label," said Sheek Louch. "A harder label that fit our image."
The LOX tried all of the legal maneuvering available to be released from their contract with Bad Boy. However, when the lawyers and conference calls didn't work, the group did what they do best. They took their story to the streets. At a New York rap concert, the defiant group sported "Let the LOX Go" T-shirts and sparked a grass roots movement to "Free the Lox." Pressure resultant from the campaign ultimately caused Bad Boy to release the group from their contract. "We really changed the game by doing that," says Styles concerning the contractual drama. "It might take years from now, but other people are gonna do it. We made it so they don't have to be scared to speak up."
2001-present: Hiatus and return
Through much of the years following, the group contemplated other labels to sign to as a collective. All the while working on music, each member continued to record steadily releasing various solo studio albums.
A collaborative album with the Wu-Tang Clan was released in 2012 titled Wu Block, bringing together two historic groups on an album. The end result was billed as collaborative album between members Sheek Louch and The Wu-Tang Clan's Ghostface Killah. In June 2013 Jadakiss told XXL Magazine that many labels including Bad Boy and Maybach Music Group were making offers to release the next LOX album. On December 18, 2013, the group released a surprise EP titled The Trinity on iTunes. The EP would debut at number 141 on the Billboard 200, selling 8,400 copies in its first week.
- Money, Power & Respect (1998)
- We Are the Streets (2000)
- We Are the Streets 2 (2014)
- on Myspace