If it wasn’t from the help of their fellow Yonkers native, the hip hop world may never have had a chance to hear The LOX on Bad Boy Records. Is this a good thing or bad thing? I’ll let you decide.
Back when they were still high school students, Jason “Jadakiss” Phillips, David “Styles P” Styles, and Sean “Sheek Louch” Jacobs linked up to form a group called the Bomb Squad, and began their grind to get into the music business – performing at local live shows and producing their own demos.
They actually made their recording debut on the Main Source album, Fuck What You Think, released in 1994. Appearing on the track, “Set It Off”, the trio were credited as The Dog Pack, although only Jadakiss and Sheek Louch were rapping, with Styles missing from the song.
As they continued building up their name (as the Warlox) on underground mixtapes, they connected with Jaz-O (best known as Jay-Z’s early rap mentor), who helped them produce a demo. The tape made its way to Yonkers-native Mary J. Blige, who, by this time, was one of the biggest stars in the music industry thanks to her two albums – What’s the 411? and My Life (both were executive produced by Puffy).
“Her first cousin Jamarco, he’s one of our initial members of The Bomb Squad,” Jadakiss recalled in an interview with Complex. “Once we got serious, enough that these songs were right right here, we gave it to [him] and he gave it to Mary. Which eventually she gave it to Puff [Daddy] when they was on the Jodeci tour.”
After signing with Bad Boy Records and changing their name to The LOX at Puffy’s behest, the trio spent the next few years making highlight appearances on major guest spots, including Puffy’s “It’s All About the Benjamins (Remix)” (where Jadakiss wrote Puffy’s verse), The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Last Day”, Mariah Carey’s “Honey (Bad Boy Remix)”, Mase’s “24 Hrs. to Live” and Jay-Z’s “Reservoir Dogs.”
The LOX’s debut album, Money, Power & Respect, dropped January 13, 1998, was a huge commercial success, peaking at number three on the US Billboard 200 and number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, thanks to their two big singles “Money, Power & Respect” and “If You Think I’m Jiggy.”
Despite the success, The LOX felt that Puffy’s shiny suit aesthetic clashes their hardcore, street image, and, combined with publishing split issues, they made moves to get released from their Bad Boy contract. After contentious legal manoeuvring and a grassroots “Free The LOX” campaign, the trio moved over to Ruff Ryders, home to their fellow Yonkers rapper, DMX.
Jadakiss: We didn’t really understand that. I don’t regret the whole “Let The LOX Go” campaign because it worked sufficiently for what we needed it to do but, looking back, that was all on us. We signed those contracts. Whoever was with us is partly responsible. If I go outside and try to sell you an orange and tell you it’s an apple and you accept it as an apple that’s your fault. You might be mad and want to fight after that but at the end of the day. So, it was just being mad at our bigger brother. Then being able to work it out now through music and MMM and No Way Out 2 and the Bad Boy reunion tour and getting money with him again it’s a beautiful thing. We might have some of the craziest interviews and radio disses out there but it ain’t and never was that serious.Jadakiss Tells You How To Make It In The New Music Business & Explains The LOX Reconciling With Puff Daddy | HipHopDX