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Jadakiss, Styles P, & Sheek Louch. Back in 1994, these three high school kids from Yonkers, NY came together to form the trio now known as The LOX. Since then, they’ve consistently dropped a variety of projects from compilations to full length studio albums, been featured on a flurry of tracks from Jennifer Lopez’s Jenny From The Block (2002) to Kanye West’s 11 minute long Jesus Lord Part 2 (2021), and have all launched solo careers that are arguably bigger than The LOX itself. When I saw that the hardcore rap group turned super group decided to bless the west coast with a show at The Novo DTLA, I knew it wasn’t one to miss. 

The LOX held nothing back. Coming off their Verzuz’s battle against Dipset, they rocked this show in similar form. Hit after hit after hit after hit. Since all three of them have individual solo careers, they had a ton of content to perform with no filler. They hit the stage with high energy, flashy gold chains, and took us back to the heyday of raw hip hop in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Before the era of melodies, autotune, and over-the-top instrumentals, it was all about the lyricism – lyricism that took you on a journey of struggle, ambition, and success. For example – they didn’t rap about doing drugs. They rapped about selling them and hustling so they could make it out of the hood. It was a different mindset back then and The LOX has stayed true to that lane over the years.

My favorite stretch of the night was when they played their 1998 smash hit, “Money, Power, Respect” featuring their longtime friend DMX. Following DMX’s untimely and unexpected passing earlier this year in April 2021, I was expecting to see some ode to their Ruff Ryders comrade. We got exactly that. Following “Money Power Respect”, The LOX did covers of a slew of DMX’s singles – “Ruff Ryder’s Anthem”, “Get At Me Dog”, and “N**** Done Started Something”, just to name a few. In tradition, they followed up that portion of the set with a lighters/cells-in-the-air moment which brought a sense of calm/mourning over the crowd who had been pretty crowdy for most of the night. Some other great points throughout the night were when Jadakiss performed his rendition of Biggie’s “Who Shot Ya,” and when Styles P dropped his verses off of both Rick Ross’s “BMF” and Akon’s “Locked Up”.

All in all, 20+ years and The LOX hasn’t lost their touch. If anything, they’ve refined it. The amount of content they have amassed from the years of group efforts, solo careers, and features gives them so much ammo to put together a great show. I personally wasn’t too familiar with their music they released under The Lox moniker but found myself singing along with a large amount of their set. Go check them out when they’re in a city near you. Yonkers!

Kris Kuganathan

Photojournalist - Orange County

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