The LOX is arguably one of the best Hip-Hop trios of all-time. Hailing from Yonkers, New York, the group is comprised of Jadakiss, Styles P and Sheek Louch. Initially signed to Bad Boy Records and subsequently Ruff Ryders Entertainment, the group now runs their own label, D-Block Records. With three studio albums as The LOX and a plethora of solo albums and mixtapes, the sheer quality of LOX discography sets a very high bar within the realm of Hip-Hop as a whole. Their debut album, “Money, Power, Respect” peaked at #3 on US charts and is certified Platinum, and “We Are The Streets” peaked at #5 and is certified Gold. All of Jadakiss’ studio albums have reached at least #5 on US charts, with “Kiss of Death” going Platinum. Styles P’s “A Gangster and a Gentleman” reached #6 on the charts and is certified Gold. While none of Sheek Louch’s albums reached the same level of commercial success as Jadakiss or Styles P, he boasts comprehensive skills as a lyricist, while acclimating a very diverse library over the years. With six studio albums, a collaborative album with Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan, and various guest appearances, Sheek Louch has quietly established himself as an MC that should be viewed equally to Jadakiss and Styles P.
Sheek Louch was born in Brooklyn, New York, but grew up in Yonkers. He sites his main influences growing up as Rakim, EPMD, Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane and Run-DMC. At age 12, he met Jadakiss and Styles P who were his neighbors on D-Block. Sheek met Jadakiss while living in the same apartment building, then later met Styles P who lived in a building a few blocks away. The group started rapping in high school under the name “Bomb Squad”, later changing it to “The Warlocks”. The group would soon be noticed by fellow Yonkers artist, also known as the “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul” Mary J. Blige, who gave their demo to Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs at Bad Boy Records. The group would finally be renamed “The LOX”, an acronym for “Living Off eXperience.” While they would achieve mainstream success as a group with “Money, Power, Respect” as well as being featured on Biggie’s “It’s All About The Benjamins”, Jadakiss and Styles P would go on to work on studio albums while Sheek Louch decided to stake a step back from pursuing a solo career. In 2015, Sheek said to HipHopDX,
“Sometimes, and I blame that all on myself as far as like, when they decided to do solo projects, I was the only one with no interest in it. So we came out as The LOX, and then I fell back, like, “Nah, I’m good with The LOX.” I was running around still young, doing whatever, but I’m just good doing that. So when it was time for me to come and do a solo project, it was kind of like catching up, ‘cause out of sight out of mind, that’s how it goes in this industry.”
Sheek would not release his debut album “Walk Witt Me” until 2003, a time when Jadakiss and Styles P already had an album each under their belt, both of which achieved much success.
Although Sheek lagged behind as a solo artist, he took his position with stride. “Walk Witt Me” peaked at #9 on the Billboard 200 in 2003, with features from fellow LOX members and production from The Alchemist, DJ Green Lantern, Supa Mario, Vinny Idol and Mr. Divine. The first single, “Mighty D-Block (2 Gunz Up)” featuring Jadakiss, Styles P and J-Hood achieved major mainstream success; this track can be viewed as a LOX equivalent to a song like “Dipset Anthem” or “Ruff Ryders Anthem”. More than anything, this debut album exhibits Sheek as a blooming solo artist that showcased technical, hard lyrics while simultaneously adding tracks that exhibited Sheek’s more vibrant and up-beat side.
“After Texas” (2005) and “Silverback Gorilla” (2008) proceeded “Walk Witt Me” with flying colors. “After Texas” exhibited more LOX features, coinciding with Ghostface Killah, Redman, Fabolous, Beanie Siegel and T.I. Some of Sheek’s most popular songs are on this album, including “Kiss Your Ass Goodbye”, the “Kiss Your Ass Goodbye” remix, “One Name”, “Maybe If I Sing” and “Get Money”. For many that don’t know, “Maybe If I Sing” was a 50 Cent/G-Unit diss track, contributing to the profuse amount of beefs that 50 Cent has been involved with over the years. “Silverback Gorilla” features what is arguably Sheek’s most popular song, and “Good Love” was one of the most popular Hip-Hop songs of 2008. This album also showcased a collaborative track with Dipset called “D-Block/Dipset”, with Jadakiss, Styles P, Hell Rell and Jim Jones. “Think We Got A Problem”, another deep cut from this album, features Bun B and The Game, with a hard-knocking instrumental that is familiar to the ears of many Hip-Hop heads. Sheek has continued to release music, with “Life On D-Block” (2009), “Donnie G: Don Gorilla” (2010) and “Silverback Gorilla 2” (2015) all successful albums that prove that Sheek has maintained his underdog mystique and dexterity.
One of Sheek Louch’s most successful parts of his career was his feature on the DMX song “Get At Me Dog”, off of DMX’s Platinum-selling album “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot”. While Sheek does not have an actual verse on this track, he abundantly assists DMX on the catchy chorus. In a recent interview with VladTV, Vlad addressed The LOX’s friendship with DMX; DMX is also from Yonkers and was making music under Ruff Ryders Entertainment at the same time as The LOX.
As well as DMX, Sheek has worked with Biggie, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Prodigy, Fat Joe, Talib Kweli, Havoc, Swizz Beats, and many others. In 2012, Sheek and Ghostface Killah released a collaborative album entitled “Wu-Block”, a 15-track album featuring all LOX members, Erykah Badu, Raekwon, Method Man, GZA, Inspectah Deck, Masta Killa and Cappadonna.
As a solo artist, Sheek has been able to gain popularity while creating financial opportunity by doing a lot of shows and being involved in a lot of touring. In the past few years, Sheek, as a solo artist and with The LOX has performed in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Baltimore, San Francisco, Philidelphia, Chicago, Austin and Toronto. While being interviewed on Sway in the Morning in 2015, Sheek was asked what he thought were the wildest and toughest cities to perform in. He replied,
“The wildest, I ain’t gunna lie, London be amped when we out there… I love NewYork, let’s be clear, sometimes the crowd will just sit there… it’s a tough crowd even though we kill it, but out of town, when you get to certain places, you know, Hawaii, Budapest, wherever you’re at, right? They give it up crazy. They can’t wait, because they don’t see you every day.”
In 2014, Sheek went on a European tour with Ghostface Killah, performing in cities like Dublin, Liverpool, Glasgow, Haarlem, Vienna, London and Paris. The LOX’s performance this year will be the first show that they have done in Brooklyn since February 12, 2016 at Barclays Center, alongside Jodeci, Faith Evans and Black Rob.
Although Sheek may get overshadowed by Jadakiss and Styles P, his credentials definitely prove otherwise. Regarding being underrated in an interview with DoggieDiamondsTV, he addresses the topic in stride, claiming,
“It’s a gift and a curse.. you gotta kind of keep proving yourself as you go, but at the same time, you’re kind of like a new artist…. No matter how old you are… The gift and the curse is like, you heard this mother f*cker a thousand times, and you might be growing tired of him. I could surprise you every f*cking time and body that shit with whoever I’m on a song with…”
Sheek is in a unique position; while many Hip-Hop heads tend to be more familiar with Jadakiss and Styles P, he is in no way considered the “third member” or the “lost member.” Many people recognize Sheek’s versatility, and even say that he bodied Jadakiss and Styles P on some LOX tracks. While being in a group may hinder one’s shine, Sheek has clearly stayed loyal to his LOX family and fan base in a very unselfish manner. He acknowledges being underrated, but uses it to his advantage by constantly being able to reinvent himself. Sheek currently still makes music with The LOX and as a solo artist, helps run the D-Block label, and co-owns the D-Block car wash. Come out to Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival to see him perform classic LOX songs on July 15th, 2017!