The doors was closed, I felt like Bad Boy’s street team // I couldn’t work The LOX (locks) – Kanye West on “Touch The Sky”
It took a lot of fighting – both figuratively and legally – to get The LOX to be released from their Bad Boy contract back in the late 90s. Those who were around during those times may clearly remember the ordeal and the subsequent “Let the LOX Go” campaign that was launched shortly after an outdoor concert at Hot 97 – going as far as airing out the dirty laundry during the show, even with Diddy in attendance.
Eventually, Jadakiss, Styles P & Sheek Louch shook off the reigns that bounded them with Bad Boy, including the “shiny suit” era stench that somehow continued to follow them. On January 25th, 2000 – the rebranded trio released their sophomore LP, We Are The Streets – an album which represented a complete reversal from the commercial sounds of their debut Money, Power, Respect.
The new album featured a refinded hardcore sound reminiscent of any M.O.P. recordings. However, despite the lackadaisical sounds of their debut, The LOX were not new to the rough, rugged and coarse sounds that enveloped ….Streets. In 1994, under the guise of The Bomb Squad, Pinero, Sheek & Kiss appeared on Main Source’s “Set It Off” – a sound that would follow suit six years later.
When you see me, don’t ask me nothin’ about us // And don’t definitely ask me nothin’ about… // Fuck it, you owe me one, I owe you two
We Are The Streets is considered a classic/street classic by many, with a-Swizz-Beatz-at-his-peak handling the bulk of the production. Personally, the album got tons of burn on CD and it was one of those rare, post-2000 LPs that could be listened to front-to-back without dare touching that forward button.
Fiery cuts like the mosh-pit inducing lead single “Wild Out,” “Breathe Easy,” “Can I Live” and “F*ck You” summarized their former label woes and sent a collective “F*ck You” to the industry. The album even produced the hilarious-but-true Top 10 skit “Rape’n U Records.”
Fifteen years later and The LOX and their most personal record has stood the test of time. And while we await the arrival of the sequel to their sophomore LP, the D-Block boys have unloaded lots of quality material to hold us over.
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