The L.O.X. “Money, Power, & Respect” Album Review: Jadakiss, Sheek Louch and Styles P all grew up and went to school together in Yonkers, New York. They formed a group together and called themselves “The Bomb Squad”. In 1994 they made a huge appearance when they were featured on Main Source’s track “Set It Off” from the album “Fuck What You Think”. They continued to work hard gaining steam in the underground world and soon changed their name to “The Warlocks”. They got their foot in the door when fellow Yonkers native Mary J. Blidge endorsed the group and passed their demo tape to the CEO of Bad Boy Puffy. It should have been a red flag when Puff’s first order of business was to change the group already by demanding them to change their name to The L.O.X. or Living Off eXperience.
The LOX began to colab with fellow label artists on Bad Boy and was even featured on “Last Day” which was slated for the highly anticipated sophomore double album by The Notorious B.I.G. “Life After Death”. Before his album could be released Biggie was gunned down by a 9MM blue-steel pistol fired in a drive by shooting on Wilshire Blvd & South Fairfax Ave in Los Angeles, CA. He passed away that same day on March 9th 1997. “Life After Death” was released just 16 days after his death on March 25th 1997 and featured “Last Day” with the LOX. Puffy’s debut album “No Way Out” was next on the Bad Boy timeline with a date of July 1st 1997. Prior to the album drop Puffy released 3 singles to pump up the anticipation, the third single was “It’s All About the Benjamins” which featured Lil’ Kim the L.O.X. & Notorious B.I.G. and was released on June 30th 1997. They even made an appearance on “Honey” in August 1997 which was off Mariah Carey’s “Butterfly” album. The LOX patiently waited for their time and probably assumed their album would be the next release, but Puffy had other plans. Puffy choose his golden boy Ma$e to go next with his debut album “Harlem World” which they released on October 28th 1997. The album featured “24 Hrs to live” which featured The L.O.X., Black Rob, & DMX. The songs popularity led to it being released as a single in February 1998 and a video directed by Nick Quested which premiered on BET in May 1998 both coming after their debut album release.
The LOX debut album was finally next in line and the anticipation for the album was very high with having them appear on 3 big hit singles by huge Bad Boy artists. “Money, Power, Respect” was released on January 13th 1998. Produced by Sean Combs (executive), The LOX, The Hitmen, Dame Grease (Who recently announced his intent to produce the most Guinness world record Hip Hop songs in 2016), Swizz Beatz, Richard Frierson, P.K., Jay Garfield, and Rob Carter. The 2 singles were “If You Think I’m Jiggy” & “Money, Power, Respect” featuring DMX & Lil’ Kim. The album also featured guest appearance from Kelly Price on “I Wanna Thank You” & “So Right”, Puffy on “Get This $” & “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop”, Carl Thomas on “Let’s Start Rap Over”. Each artist had 1 solo song on the album with Sheek Louch throwing down song #10 “Goin’ Be Some Shit”, #12 “Not to be Fucked” was the solo effort from Styles P & #16 was Jadakiss’s gem “All for the Love”. The album did extremely well and peaked at #3 on US Billboard 200 & #1 on Top R&B/ Hip-Hop Albums.
Summer of 1999 had the LOX in a compromising position, they were unhappy with where they fit in with Bad Boy who was now known for their commercial dance hits and overpriced videos that clashed with what The LOX stood for. They now wanted a label that better represents them. They were under contract with bad Boy and would need to be released by Puffy in order to sign anywhere else. The group had always been involved with Ruff Ryders since they had been the group’s managers from day 1 and felt that the newly established Ruff Ryders / interscope label better represented them as hardcore rap artists. After trying conference calls and hiring lawyers to assist in getting them released from Bad Boy the crew turned to the people who supported them the most… the streets. They started their campaign to be released that even had t-shirts saying “Free the Lox” and “Let the LOX Go”. The pressure from the streets led to their release from Bad Boy and signing with Ruff Ryders Ent in 1999 and the release of their sophomore album “We Are the Streets” in January 2000. After this they started D-Block Records in 2003 and everything they do together or individually nowadays go thru D-Block.
1. “Yonkers Tale (Intro)”- The Intro Mimics the opening of the movie “A Bronx Tale”
2. “Livin’ the Life” – The hook says it all “Livin’ the life, either you ride or fall, it’s a two-way street be large or small, Livin’ the life, either you die or ball, It’s a two-way street be rich or poor” they all rap about lavish items they would buy like a black 9-11, Benz Trucks, lambo’s, land rovers w double sun roofs, Persian Rugs & German Guns.
3. “If You Think I’m Jiggy” produced by Dame Grease and the 1st single to be released. It peaked at #30 on Billboard Hot 100, #21 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, & #9 Hot Rap Singles. The single swipes Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”. Back in the day when LOX first came out I never thought Sheek was as good as Styles, nevermind Jada, but after going over this album 16 years later I have come to appreciate the intricate lines that Sheek drops. Favorite line from the song, by Sheek in the first verse” You didn’t love me when my name was Sean, Now you should see how bitches act when the Benjamins come on”.
4. “The Interview, Pt 1” is all about respect, even if it’s in kindergarten the LOX want respect. This quick skit gets us primed up for “Money, Power & Respect”
5. “Money, Power & Respect” is the second single off the album and was produced by Hitmen members, D-Dot & Amen-Ra. DMX throws down the last verse while Lil’ Kim handles the hook. The song sampled Dexter Wansel’s “New Beginning” from 1979. It peaked at #18 on hot 100 and #1 on Hot Rap Singles Chart. This is to date the most successful single by the group and was certified gold by the RIAA w sales over 500K , Jadakiss has some unforgettable lines when he spits “If I don’t respect you I’mma check you, And if I don’t kiss you I’mma peck you, Right before I wet you, I sneeze on tracks an’ bless you” .
6. “Get this $” featuring Puffy sums it up with this line alone“Why they always talking about money? Cause we like money bitch”
7. “Let’s Start Rap over” featuring Carl Thomas once again the song starts with Puffy talking like almost every other track on the album. Best line quoted by by Styles P “Was usually a fighter Rollin’ E-Z Widers, Sending people to the store for a soda and a lighter, A real cool cat that would let you keep a dollar”
8. Mad Rapper Interlude – Has a couple old hating rappers who have been trying to get on the hip hop scene, but never made it and bitching about how they have 5 boroughs yet they sign 3 guys from Yonkers!
9. “I Wanna Thank You” featuring Kelly Price – You would think this is a single or would make a push for a commercial drop, but it never made it there. Jada fires off my favorite lines when he, says “Brains, is the key to the game, If you ain’t got none, what good is a shotgun?, If you ain’t, got guns, then you better cop some, Cause the New World Order’s around the block, dun, Streets be where Lox get their props from, Check us on the Internet, L-O-X dot com (lox.com)”.
10. “Goin’ Be Some Shit” is the Sheek Louch solo and he drops some funny lines in hindsight considering how their contract with Puffy played out – “I hear fuck Sheek, fuck the Lox, Styles, and Jay, so what they signed to Bad Boy, Puff jerkin them anyway, but the difference is if I’m gettin jerked I’m still, Seein noise, Push the big boy toys that fly by like zooms”.
11. “ The Heist, Pt 1” – just has Jada & Styles on the track and is a hot song. Jada has my favorite line swith- “Nuff clips to shoot four duffels full of loot, 22 Dilinger a piece for the boot, Couple of bombs, Remote for the alarms, Outside still runnin’ two big black 1500s”
12. “Not to Be Fucked With” with a Styles P solo song “can flirt around with drugs, but don’t hit the pipe, You can mess around with guns but death ain’t right, Hold your breath, next step, cause life ain’t right, If you with the wrong cats then your cyph ain’t tight, Styles hit the darkside, show them the light”
13. “The Set-up” is just a quick interlude to next track and one of my personal favorites.
14. “Bitches from Eastwick” – Lox are known for their storytelling skills and this song paints the best visuals. It was way too hard to choose only one of their lines so I grabbed my favorite for eacg. Jada dropped the unforgettable lines “I ain’t really think she was a freak, But she did ask a lotta questions bout Stylez and Sheik, She called me and said she was in town for a week, The Westside, Manhattan, the Suite and the Marquise, How I felt about gettin up for old times sake, I’ma bring Stylez and Sheik with me thata be great, Jus have two friends we gon bring the truck and the new Benz, Desert in the stashin the Sony cam zoom lens, All have ourselves one big hell of a weekend”. Sheek went next with “I smelt breakfast in the kitchen but where was the bitch, I walked in there it was cheese eggs and grits on the table, With beef sausages and orange juice next to the cable, With a note sayin sorry I had to rob you baby but, I need cash like you I ain’t, your ordinary slut, Or dick teaser please I need food in my freezer, And by the time you read this, note I done been spent yo Visa”. And last was P “Then I seen Cindy, The bitch tried to end me, Running out the living room, Bustin off the semi, The bitch couldn’t aim, So I blew her out the frame”.
15. “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” features Puff again and was produced by The Mad Rapper, Puffy & Stevie J. Anyone who watches Love and Hip Hop hears Stevie j talk about his songs with Diddy, well here is one that he worked on. Best line was by Kiss “If we talk about dollars, only thing I turn down is my collar, Pull out turn them around, if he reach make him holler, Who runnin the town? The Goodfellas, Puff is the godfather, dog, so why bother?”
16. “All for the Love” is Jada’s turn for his solo song and one of the top songs on the album. His lines show the fire that he can possess. “Jason, do you have any idea who you facing? Just something about my shit, you’ll never figure out, It’s hot it’s burning my mouth, that’s why I spit it out, It must be, real hard for ya’ll to listen, And it’s sad, niggas is to broke to pay attention”
17. “So Right” is the second song on the album to feature Kelly Price. Jada hurls some crazy lines with “I hang my plaques in the bathroom, Cuz I’m sill thinking bout making a hit, While I’m taking a shit”
18. “The Snitch Interlude” shows us that even if you do give up the info, you ares till going to get smacked around!
19. “Everybody Wanna Rat” tells about how everyone nowadays is looking to talk, Kiss once again provides the best lines with “There’s 3 sides to a story, mines yours and the truth, What you talk for? They ain’t even had no proof, But you play this street business, all in the street, To visit him now, you gotta drive for a week”.
20. “The Interview, Pt. 2” quick interlude to explain what The LOX is, its Living Off Experience.
21. “We’ll Always Love Big Poppa” prod Dame Grease this Biggie tribute really hits home with the loss of Christopher Wallace. Every member of the group throws down some heartfelt lines which made it very difficult to choose one, so here are the best lines from each member. Styles P started with the first verse and the memorable lines “Ask anybody, who could flow Big, All the cats shined, but you would glow Big, Frank White lyrically, moved niggas spiritually, Made you wanna get a cup, fill it up with Hennessee, Front in the club and light a dutch where the women be, If you seen the show then I know you felt the energy”. Next Jada “I need answers, and they better be the truth, Hurts like a bad tooth, we losin mad youth, Lyrically there’ll never be no one above you, And no matter how they judge you we always gonna love you”. Last to add to the tribute was Sheek with his lines “Right now, you and Pac in harmony, probably huggin, While everybody from Brooklyn to West coast is buggin”