Happy 20th Anniversary to the Lox and their album “We Are the Streets,” their second album but the first one after leaving Bad Boys Records and signing with Ruff Ryders Entertainment. The album was highly anticipated after their public fallout with Puff Daddy and Bad BoyRecords. While performing in 99 the trio sported “Let The LOX Go” T-shirts and sparked the “Free The Lox. Movement ” Pressure building from the campaign ultimately caused Puff Daddy to release the trio from their contract at Bad Boys Records and “We Are the Streets” was the long-awaited outcome.
“We Are the Streets” featured production from Timbaland with the single “Ryde or Die, Bitch” but Swizz Beatz, the in house producer for Ruff Ryders at the time, was the main producer of the album. The first single “Wild Out” produced by Swizz was like the introduction of Lox the Ruff Ryders line up. It was the official return of the group from Yonkers to the streets. The album went on to sell over 500,000 copies and being certified gold by the RIAA.
The Lox, a group formed in 1994, from Yonkers, New York. The group is composed of Sheek Louch, Styles P, and Jadakiss. They started their musical careers as high school students and formed a group called the Bomb Squad. They began performing at local shows and eventually started producing their own demos. In 1994, they appeared on Main Source’s “Set It Off” from the album Fuck What You Think. The group would go on to change the name of the group to the Warlocks and began appearing on underground mixtapes where they caught the ear of Mary J. Blige. At this time the “Queen of hip hop soul,” passed their demo tape on to Puff Daddy who signed them to a deal. Combs made a suggestion and the Warlocks later changed their name to the L.O.X. As soon as they signed to Bad Boy, the Lox released their first single “Well, Well, Well” featuring Kasino, which appeared on DJ Clue’s 1996 mixtape Show Me the Money. Almost instantly the L.O.X. began to take off.
1997 they would appear on Sean “Puffy” Combs’ single “It’s All About the Benjamins”, and made a splash with their multi-platinum tribute to The Notorious B.I.G. “We’ll Always Love Big Poppa”.The LOX would go on to appear on hits such as 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 by the RIAA. The Lox felt that Bad Boy, who was known for its more commercial sound, radio-friendly dance hits, and high priced videos, didn’t fit their identity.
It was while the Lox were quickly establishing themselves as hardcore street artists that their identities clashed, The Lox’s managers and the group felt like the new Ruff Ryders label could better represent the hard-core street raps which they expressed in their rhymes. Even though their first album was certified platinum by the RIAA, the group was disappointed with the direction of Bad Boy and they wanted out.
“We just needed to be with a rougher label,”. “A harder label that fits our image.”
The Lox tried all of the legal maneuvering available to be released from their contract with Bad Boy. Negotiations and conference calls just stopped. The LOX decided they would take it to the streets, literally and went everywhere they could be heard and screamed “Free The Lox.” Every radio interview, every show and even wearing the “Free The Lox” T-shirts. In an interview Styles-P would go in to say, “We really changed the game by doing that, 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.” After putting pressure on Puff, they finally came to an agreement and The LOX was now apart of the Ruff Ryder Family.
“We Are the Streets” would go on to embody the feeling of the group at the moment. The title song “We Are the Streets” they let go of their frustration with subliminal jabs at their former boss. One of my favorite songs off the album is “Breath Easy” produced by Swizz Beatz. Another hidden jewel on the album would be “Recognize” produced by DJ Premier. This album was a far different sound compared to the first album and the sound was welcomed with open arms. The LOX would go on to start their own label, D-Block records and are now signed and doing joint ventures with Roc Nation.
Salute to the 20th anniversary of “We Are a The Streets” and continued success.