Sheek Louch, “The LOX Aren’t Beefin’ w/Ruff Ryders or Interscope.”
As one of the hood’s favorite sons and one-third of the LOX, Sheek Louch is ready to strike back hard with his latest release, Donnie G. Following a tour of duty on the independent grind, the Yonkers, NY native signed to the historic label that Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons built. With his fifth solo project dropping in the always hectic fourth quarter, Sheek is hoping the backing of Def Jam will help propel his brand further, making his latest body of work his most successful to date. XXLMag.com recently had the opportunity to chop it up with the veteran to see how he’s living off the experience.
XXLMag.com: How excited are you to be releasing your latest album via such a storied label as Def Jam Recordings?
Sheek Louch: I mean, extremely [excited], man! …Being an artist on Def Jam is hard body. C’mon, now, from Run-DMC and all of them other guys like the Beastie Boys—classic! Not to mention some of my big guys like Redman, whose music I still love. So I’m excited, man. I can’t wait to do this album. We’re about to launch the first single called “Quarter After 2” with my man Lloyd on that. I’m ready. I recently hit the streets with a mixtape that’s off the hook called Guerilla Warfare with DJ Green Lantern. It’s been getting great reviews. We caught a five-star rating on that so cop it (laughs).
What’s your favorite track on the album?
Damn. What would be my favorite joint? The one I’m going to go with will be the one I recorded with my camp. I always love when we all deliver. People have been waiting for a LOX album for so long. The track is actually called “D-Block” and it was produced by my man Red Spyda. The D-Block track has a big chant that I feel will be a major anthem record in the clubs, you know what I mean? So I believe that’s the one.
What is it about that track?
Why is it my favorite? You know, just giving the people what they want would be the reason. They’ve been waiting for it, so we’re teasing the people a little here and there. But the single “Quarter After 2” is dope as well. I also got a banger with Ryan Leslie. I don’t know, man, the album is strong (laughs).
How often do you get asked when is the LOX album coming out?
I get that question every day, man. In every supermarket, every mall, every interview, you know what I mean? And the answer to that question is it’s really not on me, Kiss and Styles. We’re ready to put that pen to work to get it popping and do what we do. People that made offers to the group such as Diddy agreed to our terms. Diddy was like, “Yeah, we can do that dollar amount.” It’s just that Ruff Ryders and Interscope, who we’re currently signed to have things at a standstill on the business side. Neither side is willing to budge on their respective percentages, so the lawyers have to deal with that in order for things to happen. Please make no mistake, the LOX are not beefing with Ruff Ryders or Interscope Records whatsoever. However, we are ready to move on and do this project. The people want it and I feel it’s important for the LOX to come out right now.
Are you concerned at all with the hype behind first week sales?
I would love to sell six zillion records in the first week, you know what I mean. But the way the industry is designed now, people are not really doing those big numbers today. I have a core audience out here that want to hear Sheek Louch deliver that good music. I’m not hearing a lot of that lately. That’s why when I dropped the mixtape with DJ Green Lantern, the fans appreciated it. They were like, “Yo, we needed that.” And that’s how they’re going to feel about my album. Hopefully, the Def Jam machine will allow me to get this out to the masses where Koch Records couldn’t to get more sales and more exposure to do interviews like this to reach the people worldwide.
Although the Internet is a major outlet for new and established artists to get their music heard, how import is the DJ?
The DJ is very important, man. I’m currently rocking with my man DJ Technician, who runs with Kid Capri’s camp. He’s dope. As far as putting your record out and spinning it, they’re incredible on stage, hyping the crowd to lessen your job up there, backing up the MC is great. Not to mention the disc jockeys that break new music, not being afraid to take that chance. Some artists complain that their music doesn’t get played, but you have to give the DJs great music that will make them want to support your music and give it spins. At the same time, the DJ can’t be afraid to break new material fresh out the box either.
Do you feel like to you have to spoon feed the listener, because substance in music has taken somewhat of a backseat?
I will never, ever, ever spoon feed the listeners. Speaking for me and my team, we’ve never had to bend over or change up for anyone throughout our entire career. The LOX have always been rebels. You’ve witnessed us as fans get out of contracts with major figures in the industry. I hear and see what’s going on in the game now, but we don’t fall into any of that. We don’t become anyone else. The LOX stay true to themselves. That’s why people in the jails, group homes and the streets love what we do. Lyrically, I will continue to keep doing what I’ve been doing and hope the masses love it. —Derryck “Nes” Johnson