The LOX’s Sheek Louch Has Don Ambitions for Def Jam Debut
Sheek Louch is used to playing the underdog role. As a member of the legendary veteran hip-hop trio The LOX, the Yonkers, N.Y. rapper has at times taken a backseat to his brothers-in-rhyme Jadakiss and Styles P. But in recent years, Sheek has made an impressive impact leading the charge of the LOX offshoot crew D-Block, as well as their successful independent label venture D Block Records. Now after four solo sets, Sheek Louch is gearing up for his Def Jam debut ‘Donnie G,’ which will hit stores on Dec. 7.
For the enterprising spitter, the significance of moving to arguably hip-hop’s most revered record label is not lost on the MC. “It feels great man,” says Sheek of recording on the same iconic imprint that has featured LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Slick Rick and Jay-Z. “To even be picked back up on a major label like Def Jam for the ‘Donnie G’ album shows that people respect my music … they respect the movement. I had a couple of label offers, but when my team Mike Caruso and Allen Brooks brought me over there, Def Jam was talking the right thing. I met with [Def Jam label head] L.A. [Reid] and he was excited about the songs that he heard. I felt the energy; it was a different energy. I’m ready, man.”
Sheek says that fans can expect the same aggressive edge on ‘Donnie G.’ “It’s the concept of the whole silver back gorilla thing on my last project,” explains the rapper who recently dropped his new single ‘Quarter After 2.'” “I always say that it’s a jungle out here and I’m fiercely in it. The don part of ‘Donnie G’ is short of me being the don of this game. I feel like I’m the boss of all these little monkey dudes who are claiming that they are gorillas. You know, the MC’s that come and go with just one hit song.”
Indeed, Sheek can testify to his hip-hop longevity. He made his debut with the LOX on the Notorious B.I.G.‘s 1996 landmark album ‘Life After Death,’ repping Diddy‘s — known then as Puff Daddy — Bad Boy crew. “I came out in the late ’90s, man,” says Sheek who has shared the mic with everyone from the aforementioned Biggie and Jay-Z to DMX during the LOX’s star-making run as members of the Ruff Ryders. “And I’m still relevant, man. And I’m still on all these mixtapes along with the new rappers that’s doing it today. I feel great. I’m in the best shape of my life physically. Mentally, I think my flow has gotten better and better as I’ve gone on.”
Sheek continues: “When I hear past songs like ‘All About the Benjamins,’ I think about Bad Boy days wearing those baseball uniforms. I think about the Biggie era. That was a great time for hip-hop. The money was right [laughs]. During my stage show I go from ‘Benjamins’ to the LOX’s ‘Money, Power & Respect’ to ‘Reservoir Dogs’ and tell the stories behind those records, such as rhyming with Jay-Z. The Lox are still very competitive. When I hear Kiss or Styles rap a verse, I’m saying to myself, ‘F— that, I have to kill this song!’ When we rhyme together it’s as if we are going against the world.”
As for a LOX reunion, Sheek says the release of ‘Donnie G’ won’t slow down the group’s return. “We are still doing it,” Sheek says. “We are just waiting for some label things to work out. But the Lox will happen.”