The LOX recently dropped their latest mixtape Trinity: 3rd Sermon and many fans have bemoaned the fact that there doesn’t seem to be as many prominent practitioners of East Coast “street-hop” coming out of NYC in recent years. Despite the emergence of artists like Troy Ave and Bobby Shmurda, a lot of New York hip-hop “purists” lament the current state of the music coming out of the city. But Jadakiss, Styles P and Sheek Louch aren’t worried.
In fact, Styles P says that he sees a resurgence.
“Me, personally, I just think New York is the Mecca of hip-hop and on top of that, we’re the people to compete with,” said P. “This is the home of the lyricists. I think it’s coming back to being in the lyricist age again, but you still need that thug music. I think it’s in a good place.”
Sheek says that elders, both fans and artists, have to show a little more love to the youngsters.
“Embrace that s—, let them shine,” added Sheek Louch. “It may not be for you, it may be for the little dudes dancing and bugging out. Let ’em rock. Let ’em get that check, man.”
“They expect that much more from us,” said Jada. “[But] you don’t have to be on the radio now to have success and make money. That’s what’s good about the state of hip-hop right now. You don’t need a top 40 single. Social media —you do that good, you a’ight.”
Aside from the state of New York City hip-hop, the LOX has a wealth of wisdom for those considering ways to not fall victim to an industry notorious for exploitation. With almost 20 years in hip-hop, the trio from Yonkers has seen virtually every facet of the music industry, from the major label to the indie grind; and they have learned that knowledge of the business leads to an artist being aware of his or her options. And that’s what matters.
“Know your business — you have to know how you want to work your business,” P says. “We dropped Trinity… ourselves. We put it on iTunes ourselves. That’s not to say we won’t do a smart partnership that makes sense for our brand. Sometimes, if you don’t have the immediate knowledge — tell your lawyer to break that contract down for me on layman’s terms — say I want this and I don’t want that. If you have the power to do it, you have to exercise that power.
“I don’t have a problem with majors, I have a problem working for a major,” he adds. “I can work with you, but I won’t work for you.”