Tastemaker Live, 1015 Folsom & Sean Healy Presents
The LOX (Jadakiss, Styles P & Sheek Louch)
Shark Sinatra, Jon Nash, Fe tha Don
1015 Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA, 94103
Doors 8:30 PM / Show 9:30 PM
This event is 21 and over
Watch & Listen
In the summer of 1999, the celebrated Yonkers Rap trio the LOX found themselves in a fight for freedom. Disappointed with the direction of their career on Bad Boy, the group wanted to be released from their contract in order to join the newly formed Ruff Ryders/ Interscope label. The Ruff Ryders had always served as the Lox's managers and the group felt like the new Double R label could better represent the hard-core sensibilities which they expressed in their rhymes. Bad Boy was known for its radio friendly dance hits and high priced videos, while the LOX were quickly establishing themselves as Hip-Hop's rawest group. The identities clashed, the LOX just didn't feel comfortable in the shiny suits. "We just needed to be with a rougher label" says Sheek. "A harder label that fit our image."
The LOX tried all of the legal maneuvering available to be released from their contract with Bad Boy. However, when the lawyers and conference calls didn't work, the group did what they do best. They took their story to the streets. At a New York rap concert, the defiant group sported "Let the Lox Go" T-shirts and sparked a grass roots movement to "Free the Lox." To a Hip-Hop public tired of all the flossing and commercialism which was dominating the art form, the struggle to release rap's most important trio symbolized an effort to purify the music. To return Hip-Hop back to its essence as an important form of urban expression. The streets spoke up loud and clear and the Lox were finally released to a heroes welcome. "We really changed the game by doing that.," says Styles concerning the contractual drama. "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."
"You are always better off with your people no matter what." says Jadakiss about the group's excitement about joining their Ruff Ryder family which includes Eve, Drag-ON, DMX and red hot producer Swizz Beats. "Even if we would have gone over to Bad Boy and everything was sweet and alright, you are always better off with your people and your family because they love you and you love them. That's gonna beat anything in the world."
Jayson "Jadakiss" Phillips, David Styles, and Sean "Sheek" Jacobs, began their journey as artists back in their hometown of Yonkers New York. As high school students they started a group called the Bomb Squad and began doing shows and putting out their own demos. While the local rap scene was being dominated by talented artist like Raw Rome, Lord Devon and a young DMX, the squad began to gain attention because of their fierce lyrical style and their ability to present stirring tales of urban life with pin point accuracy. The group eventually changed their name to the Warlocks and continued developing a devoted fan base by being omnipresent on underground mix tapes. One of their faithful admirers was the Queen of Hip-Hop soul and fellow Yonkers native Mary J. Blige. Mary saw something special in the group and passed their tape on to Bad Boy CEO Sean "Puffy" Combs who signed them to a deal.
The LOX gained national exposure in 1997 with their powerful multi-platinum tribute to the Notorious BIG, "We'll Always love Big Poppa". The song which celebrated the life of the slain superstar, captured Biggie's essence and thrust the LOX into the media spotlight as a group to watch out for. The trio later appeared on a multitude of hits, including Puffy's Benjamins, which the LOX wrote, Mase's 24 Hours to Live, and Mariah Carey's Honey. The group's debut album Money Power & Respect went platinum and helped establish the LOX as an important voice in Hip-Hop music.
While lauded for the commercial success of their first album, Jadakiss, Sheek and Styles were not satisfied with the project's outcome. On underground mix tapes, the LOX had developed a reputation for spitting legendary freestyles of sex, murder and mayhem However, singles from MP&R like "If You Think I'm Jiggie", didn't fully utilize the group's talents. The Lox were not the pretty boys who were being shown in the videos, they were street soldiers who preferred rhyming about real life on the block, instead of fantasy worlds of Bentley Coupes and Grammy awards. As their new album suggest, the Lox are the streets, and having joined the Ruff Ryders' lethal squadron, they finally have the chance to just be themselves.
So who are the Real LOX? The Real Lox are authentic ghetto story-tellers, whose rhymes are derived from the pain, anger, lust and love which exist in the hearts of men. The Real LOX are the embodiment of Hip-Hop's origin as the voice of a disparate people. Their current singles Wild Out and Fuck you are certified street anthems and the impending release of their sophomore album has the hip-hop world holding their collective breathe in anticipation.
Swizz Beats has saved some of his best production for the LOX's sophomore project. The producer who blazed tracks for platinum artists DMX, Jay-Z and EVE blesses the LOX with cuts like Y'all fucked Up Now, and IF U Know, which features Drag-On and Eve, that pack pure street drama. The LOX devour his frenetic beats and spit complex rhymes over his moving rhythms creating an energy which is unmatched in any genre of music today. Styles, Jadakiss, and Sheek also flex their muscles as solo performers on the album as well, proving that they are more than just a talented group, but they also possess superior skills as individual performers. Producers Premiere, Timbaland and P. Killer also contribute cuts to We Are the Streets adding their own unique flavors to the diverse mix.
We are the Streets stands to be one of the most important albums of the millenium because it was born out of a movement. A call was put out to the streets, to help give the LOX back their voice and save Hip-Hop from its downward spiral of self indulgence. The streets responded ferociously and the LOX are finally free. This album is a testament to the power of the Hip-Hop fans who supported the group through their difficult times. They are the reason that the Real LOX have returned. Music will never be the same.
Born on May 27, 1975, Jadakiss was raised in Yonkers, New York in a household where he was well-fed and taken care of. As a result, his friends often made fun of him by calling him Big Mack, as a reference to his favorite hamburger. He was interested in rap at a very early age when his parents asked him to earn his own money and so he stepped into drug-dealing business on the Big Apple street, where he met people doing freestyle for money.
When he was just twelve, Jadakiss joined a freestyle competition and was noticed for his rapping ability by management company Ruff Ryders. He then formed a rap group with two friends Sheek Louch and Styles P. under the name of The Warlock. Signed to Bad Boy Entertainment, he was suggested to change his group's name to The LOX, which stands for Living Off X-perience. He gained his first project as a featured guest with his band, later known as D-Block, in Main Source's single "Set It Off" from 1994 "Fuck What You Think" LP.
After releasing an album called "Money, Power & Respect" with D-Block, Jadakiss recorded new materials for his solo debut album. He ...
dropped "Kiss tha Game Goodbye" in August 2001. Working with Snoop Dogg and Swizz Beatz, he was criticized as throwing a repetitive and uninspired LP. He responded to the critics, citing that the record was indeed done less out of inspiration and more out of contract obligations to Bad Boy. Despite the harsh critics, he was certified gold by RIAA for the LP in September 2001 due to its impressive selling point.
Longing to prove that he indeed had a talent, Jadakiss hit studio once again for second studio album. This time collaborating with Anthony Hamilton, Mariah Carey, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West and Eminem among others, he released the sophomore set in June 2004 under the title of "Kiss of Death". Finally his hard work was paid off when the album claimed the number one spot on both Billboard Hot 200 and Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums.
Aside from getting heavy airplay over songs from his second LP, Jadakiss was also confronted with controversy. One of his singles titled "Why" featured lyrics that were believed to imply a link between George W. Bush and September 11, 2001 attacks. The song got banned on some radios and played with the lyrics
in question censored. It peaked at number 11 on Billboard Hot 100 singles chart though.
As a follow up to "Kiss of Death", Jadakiss entered recording booth, crafting new materials for his third effort. Teaming up with Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, Ne-Yo and Faith Evans, he eyes to drop the album on March 10, 2009. while working on his own album, he also takes part in the soundtrack album for biopic movie "Notorious", singing a single "Letter to B.I.G."
Known for witty wordplay and street life induced lyrics, Styles Peniro (David Styles) is far from your average ring tone driven rapper. "I always looked at myself as the hardest MC in the game". The streets concurred, after dropping the 2008 CD/DVD combo pack Phantom Gangster Chronicles Vol.1 and three critically acclaimed solo albums: 2007's Supa Gangsta (Extraordinary Gentlemen), Time is Money, and A Gangster & A Gentleman in 2005 and 2002 respectively. (With more then 700,000 copies sold), he is more than confident in his ability to fortify his reputation as one of the rap game's most talented lyricists.
Styles P, a member of The LOX, grew up on the streets of Yonkers, NY rapping alongside Jadakiss (Jayson Phillips) and Sheek Louch In their late teens the trio met Mary J. Blige who was so impressed with their tough street east coast lyrics, she gave them a big break by putting their demo in the hands of Sean "Diddy" Combs. Diddy immediately hired the trio to write for Bad Boy Records. With the label, The LOX quickly started collaborating on hits with Diddy, the Notorious BIG, Mary J Blige, and Mariah Carey which gave them instant notoriety and status within the hip-hop and mainstream charts.
In 1996 and 1997, the group wrote and performed on a number of Diddy hits, including "It's All About the Benjamins" and "I Got the Power," Mase's "24 Hrs. to Live," Mariah Carey's "Honey," the Notorious B.I.G.'s "Last Day," and Mary J. Blige's "Can't Get You Off My Mind." In 1997 The LOX received international acclaim when their tribute to the late Biggie Smalls, "We'll Always Love Big Poppa," was picked as the B side track off of Diddy's album (3x Platinum) with the number one hit, "I'll Be Missing You." This single was the most played hit in 1997, which opened the door for The LOX first solo album debut in January 1998 entitled Money, Power & Respect (Certified Gold). Though the album was a chart toping success, The LOX felt the glossy sheen of Bad Boy Records conflicted with their grimier rap aesthetic and therefore cut their ties and moved on to Ruff Ryder Records. After another LOX album, We Are The Streets (2002), Jadakiss was the first to release a solo in 2001 Kiss The Game Goodbye and Styles followed with his own in 2002 A Gangster & A Gentleman.
The D-Block Records Co-CEO also recently signed a book deal with Random House. The fiction novel is entitled "Invincible" and is available now in bookstores everywhere. The sound track to the book is also available exclusively at stylesp.net.
With a new LOX album in the works Styles P is sure to continuously add heat to one of the year's most anticipated urban releases. "I'm proud to be operating as an independent where I have total control of my project".
Whether a part of the triple threat The LOX, or as a solo artist, Styles' razor sharp slick talk has created a cult-like following by his countless fans within the hip-hop and "gangsta" rap community.
Very few rappers embody the true essence of hardcore hip-hop the way Sheek Louch does so effortlessly. "I'm in the best shape of my life," he says confidently. "Stronger, faster, like, 'Bionic Man'!" Having earned his stripes as 1/3 of the LOX, as well as a proven solo artist, the Yonkers-native is respected as one of the best to ever do it when it comes to consistently making quality, street-approved music. Whether spitting alongside the Notorious B.I.G. on classics like "The Benjamins," ripping infinite mixtape instrumentals with Kiss and Styles, or breaking into radio with hit records like "Good Love," Sheek always sounds as confident as a veteran, and as hungry as the underdog.
Growing up an only child in Yonkers, NY, a young Sheek learned to grind watching his mother work hard to earn a masters degree, while still making time to help him with his math homework. He was inspired to rhyme around the age of 12, by his man Jada. "Me and Kiss used to always stay at our grandmothers' houses in Yonkers, and Kiss was always rappin, and I just tried it and we became like a group. Then Styles came… and that's how it started." Thanks to a powerful plug from up-n-coming queen of R&B soul Mary J. Blige, the trio would soon find themselves a part of a then burgeoning Bad Boy Records. The group became instant hood favorites with the release of the album Money, Power, Respect.
After that, they parted ways [less than amicably] with Puff, and joined fellow Y-O family member DMX with the Ruff Ryders camp. Causing a frenzy with their next album, We Are the Streets, the group solidified their hardcore image and both Jada and Styles broke out as critically-respected soloists. Meanwhile, Sheek, an aspiring entrepreneur, began working on their D-Block brand, building a studio, and looking for fresh, hungry young talent. "I've always been had artist slash entrepeneur role," he explains proudly. "I built a studio. I done opened a D-Block car wash, a D-Block Fitteds…all in Yonkers."
All that hard work eventually paid off, and Sheek finally released his own solo debut Walk Witt Me independently through their newly founded D-Block Records. Showing off a good head for business, and an even better ear for beats, Sheek surprised fans and critics alike with his solid effort. The dedicated lyricist would continue to go hard on mixtapes, on the internet, and even the radio, slowly and steadily building his up his brand.
Then, while rumors of the Lox resigning with Diddy circulated the internet, Sheek announced via Twitter, that he would be ending his impressive indie run and signing with Def Jam. Now that he's got the hip-hop powerhouse label behind him, the D-Block representer is excited as a kid at Christmas, to see what he can do with a little push for his as of yet untitled new album. "I'm like a new artist right now," he says proudly. "I'm still an indie type grind nigga. I just knew it could be bigger if I just had the tools and the machine to take it there."
Set for a late November release, Sheek's new album promises fans more of the gritty music they've come to expect from him, just on a higher level. The buzz is already heating up thanks to a mixtape with Green Lantern, "Donny Def Jam - Gorilla Warfare Vol. 1", led by records like the Jungle Brother's inspired "Gorilla Music" and the Green-produced "Cocaine Trafficking." "From back then, all you heard was Styles and Kiss," Sheek explains. "And now its like, 'That dude Sheek, Donny G… Who the fuck?! What the fuck?!' So, I feel great! Def Jam really feeling the energy, so I'm ecstatic, man, I'm excited! Everything I got out on the radio they goin' crazy off of... And that's strictly off of mixtape shit! They aint even hear the stuff I got for the album…the big, BIG records!"
Shark, born and raised in the bay area, has always had music in his blood.. growing up with his moms record player left on, it was only natural that by the time he was in middle school he played percussion and saxophone and in both jazz and woodwind bands.. a huge fan of hip hop and r n' b, Sinatra looks back to when he wrote out all the lyrics to his favorite songs, from Mase to Dangelo.. the musician proved his love of music never stopped evolving into a recording artist of his own 2010 and has not let off the petal since.. after ups and downs in his own life.. the music has become actual true accounts though the eyes of this, 26 year old, artist.. it must be "shark week.. every week"
Jon Nash is a whirlwind of song writing activity currently. He is happy, alive and in love. Good music is not always born out of sorrow; joy makes some solid sounds, too. Mr. Nash now enjoys a wealth of both and is taking some time to remember how to breathe.
$29 - $100
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