For several years Hip-Hop fans have been hearing rumblings and anticipating a Lox reunion album, and while Jada, Styles and Sheek have always retained the outward appearance of a single cohesive unit, solo albums and mixtapes have dominated the group’s collective output. Lurking in the mainstream while maintaining their cult underground status, The Lox have always occupied a unique niche in Hip-Hop. One thing is for certain, for over a decade the group has retained the loyalty of their fans and in 2008 those same fans may be rewarded as a brand new Lox album promises to turn from wishful thinking into reality. On December 27th, 2007 anticipation reached a fever pitch as BB King’s Blues Club in Manhattan filled beyond capacity for what would be Jada, Styles and Sheek’s first New York show together in over fivel years. While the legendary DJ Mister Cee warmed up the crowd with a nostalgic blend of classic Hip-Hop, we caught up with Styles P backstage to get his take on what would turn out to be a historic night.
RIOTSOUND.COM: The Lox have a decade-long legacy in Hip-Hop and New York from the beginning has been at the epicenter of that legacy. How does it feel to be reuniting on stage right here in the heart of Manhattan? I know the fans have been waiting a long time for this.
STYLES P: It feels great. It feels great just to give it to the fans and go out and do what we do. They always used to seeing one of us or maybe two of us together but it’s rare that they see all three of us at the same time in NYC on stage. So, I’m just looking forward to going out there and doing what we do.
RIOTSOUND.COM: A lot of times we see people come into the music industry as friends but over time those friendships rarely last due to industry politics or a number of other factors. How have you, Jadakiss and Sheek managed to remain so close for all these years while going through different label and industry situations and also having solo careers?
STYLES P: I just think that [it’s] where we’re from and how we were raised, you know, and how we came in the game. We stand for each other and once you stand for each other – I mean, we men and we go through shit but we handle it like men. I think that we handle situations [between us] in a way where if you have a problem you address it. I mean, your own family members might not even get along sometimes, you gotta be able to be willing to bring it to the table. You might not get along with your wife all the time, you know what I’m saying. There’s discussions, and I think we acquired [that aspect] at an early age and stuck with it and I guess that’s what kept us here to this day.
RIOTSOUND.COM: You’ve been around the world and all over the United States and you’ve seen fans from different places as well as from different walks of life. What’s special about the Hip-Hop fans in New York and what, to you, is special about the city itself?
STYLES P: New York is the roughest place in the world so it goes with the saying “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere”. New York is a special place and when you earn a certain amount of respect in New York and New York has a certain amount of love for you [that’s a great thing]. No matter what it is you’re doing, whether it’s rap, basketball, baseball, football, acting or whatever; you could be a streetballer, a boxer, whatever it is, if you’re representing New York and you hold it [down] and they love you, it’s a great place to be because it’s hard to make it here. It’s a fast city, it’s The Rotten Apple, its lights, action, constantly moving. So to be loved and respected in a place like here is always beautiful.
RIOTSOUND.COM: Musically speaking, how would you say that the chemistry between The Lox has evolved from the time you first came in the game until the present day?
STYLES P: I would say it’s just tighter. Because it’s just incredible for us to do what we do, to be able to go solo [as individual members] and do other things but still be able to have such amazing chemistry with each other. It’s natural, you know what I’m saying; some things are natural, some things you can’t buy, make, work on, or try to do. With some things it just is the way it is and [with us] that’s how it is. It’s natural.
RIOTSOUND.COM: The Lox have been on the global Hip-Hop stage for over a decade now. Did you ever think as an up and coming MC in Yonkers during the ‘90’s that you would ever attain this level of success? How do you put things in perspective? Is this something that you were always striving for or do you count your blessings, so to speak?
STYLES P: I count my blessings and I work hard every day. When you work hard every day, the days just go by. When you do what you’re doing you give it your all, you give it 110%. This is an art, you know what I’m saying, even if I didn’t make it to the world stage I still woulda been someone nasty or maybe just a hood legend. Wherever I would have been I would’ve been a legend and a lot of that is because of the love of the art. It’s all about what you put into your art and how much you love it. And we love what we do, we’ve been doing mixtapes for free since we’ve been in the game all the way to nowadays. And that just comes from loving what you’re doing.
RIOTSOUND.COM: For any fans that might be reading this that may want to check out a Lox show in the future, what would you tell them to expect if they come out to see The Lox perform live?
STYLES P: I would describe it as electricity, pure, raw Hip-Hop. It’s fuckin’ incredible man, to put it point-blank, we get it in. There’s no security [laughs], there’s no shit, it’s just three dudes who can fuckin’ rhyme hard and who can perform. You get people who can rhyme but who can’t perform and then you got people who can perform but can’t rhyme. We’ve been here for all these years and fortunately we’ve been able to do both and I think that’s what makes us who we are.