The LOX Were Courted By Suge & Death Row. They Explain Why They Passed (Video)
This month, The LOX shocked Heads with the announcement of a partnership with Jay Z and Roc Nation. That news broke December 1, with an album coming just over two weeks later. The D-Block/Roc-backed Filthy America…It’s Beautiful marked the Yonkers, New York trio’s first full-length album in more than 16 years. Moreover, Sheek Louch, Jadakiss, and Styles P enlisted production from DJ Premier and Pete Rock, as well as guest appearances from Mobb Deep on the effort.
In an interview with Vlad TV at the Roc Nation offices, The LOX spoke on labels trying to court them over the last 20 years. Following 1998’s Money, Power & Respect debut on Bad Boy Records, the trio left Puffy’s label. In early 2000, they would stay the course with Ruff Ryders, their backer since the mid-1990s, after DMX brought his homies to the attention of Dee, Waah, and Chivon Dean. For sophomore LP We Are The Streets, Ruff Ryders would partner with Interscope Records as a distributor.
Following their sophomore album, one of the more controversial moves made by The LOX was working on Death Row Records compilation, Too Gangsta For Radio. The song “In Too Deep” appeared on the diss-driven Top 200 release from 2001 that also featured Scarface, Kxng Crooked, Treach, and Ja Rule. Around this time, Death Row had approached The LOX about signing the act.
“I think it was ruled out automatically,” Styles admits around the 5:20 mark. “I think we ruled it out ’cause we were such [loyal] New Yorkers.” Death Row had famously feuded with Bad Boy, especially its founder Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs and superstar MC The Notorious B.I.G., who helped groom The LOX.
“I think they might have paid that shit too,” Sheek says, of the strong draw the trio was seeking following their string of ’90s and early 2000s hits. “But would they have paid it ’cause of our talent, or so Diddy don’t fuckin’ get us. Now we sittin’ there looking [controversial].”
Styles compares the move to being a New York born basketball phenom, and having an option to sign with the New York Knicks or Los Angeles Lakers. He claims one must go to their hometown. Furthermore, The LOX showed respect to one of their mentors. “[The Notorious] B.I.G. had an impact, our love for New York, our mixtape flow, we can’t have that presence out there. We probably could have gained it. Back then, mixtapes was albums. They was like Bibles back then.”
In the mid-2000s, Jadakiss and Styles would famously have an on-air argument with Puff Daddy during a HOT 97 appearance, prompting many to think they would speak out further towards their onetime label. In 2016, despite their working outside of Bad Boy, the trio toured with Puff on the Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour. Ruff Ryders’ DMX would later join that tour as well.
During the Suge Knight tenure, Death Row would reportedly make plays at other artists Puffy had previously signed, including Devante Swing of Jodeci, and Craig Mack.