The Lox (stylized The LOX or The L.O.X.) is an American hip hop group formed in 1994, from Yonkers, New York. The group is 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 1998, and have since launched their own label, D-Block Records.
Formation and career beginnings (1994–96)
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 mixtapes. 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 later changed their name to "The L.O.X" which stands for Living Off eXperience. After signing with Bad Boy, The Lox started gaining a bigger buzz off the strength of their first single "Well, Well, Well" featuring Kasino, which appeared on DJ Clue's 1996 mixtape Show Me the Money.
Mainstream success (1997–2000)
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 Ruff Ryders Entertainment. 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."
Hiatus and resurgence (2001–present)
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 a collaborative album between members Sheek Louch and The Wu-Tang Clan's Ghostface Killah. In June 2013, Jadakiss told XXL magazine that several labels, including Bad Boy and Maybach Music Group, made offers to release the next LOX album.
On December 18, 2013, the group released a surprise extended play (EP) titled The Trinity, on iTunes. The EP debuted at number 141 on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 8,400 copies in its first week. On February 24, 2014, The LOX announced a worldwide concert tour, named after their EP The Trinity.
On March 1, 2014, The LOX continued their release of new music with a song titled "New York", which was premiered by Funkmaster Flex. "New York" saw the three Yonkers emcees rap over a beat reminiscent of which samples the Pudgee, Biggie-assisted "Think Big" featuring Lord Tariq, backed by the "Ashley's Roachclip" drum break. On March 16, 2014 The LOX released the music video for "Faded", from their Trinity EP. On March 24, 2014 the music video for "New York", was released.
Filthy America... It's Beautiful was their third studio album, and their first in 16 years. The album was released on December 16, 2016, by D-Block Records and Roc Nation.