Full disclosure, I’m from Jamaica, Queens, so I might be biased in my appreciation of Lost Boyz…the actual group, not the street crew, although it’s all the same. In case you don’t know, the rap group itself consisted of Mr. Cheeks, Freaky Tah, DJ Spigg Nice and Pretty Lou, but many of you probably couldn’t point the latter two out in a lineup. Whether you thought they were a glorified street gang or not, Mr. Cheeks and company managed to make gritty anthems that appealed to the corner boys, the cool kids and even honor students like myself. There was a time when you couldn’t escape that “chick named Renee” on the radio. Plus, Freaky Tah, if he were still around, could teach DJ Khaled a thing or too about the art of adlibbing.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but Mr. Cheeks was the only one who spit, and he wasn’t crazy nice so I won’t make any claims about him lyrically, but he did have a knack for storytelling. Suffice to say, having their 1996 debut Legal Drug Money in your CD stash was imperative. Being confined to my Queens habitat, though, I was never exactly sure how big the Lost Boyz were outside of New York, or even Guy R. Brewer Blvd for that matter. I just checked and Legal Drug Money is only certified gold, having sold about 832,000 copies. But back when I was in junior high and high school, joints like “Lifestyles of the Rich & Shameless,” “Jeeps, Lex, Coups, Bimas & Benz” ( I had no idea what a Bima was before that song came out) and “Music Makes Me High” were crucial to many a basement party. Just try and stop a Queens heads from doing that damn hand dance dressed in Timbs and a bubble coat and see what happened.
After Tah was murdered in 1999, the remaining Lost Boyz split and Cheeks attempted what I guess you can call a solo career (“Lights, Camera, Action” anyone?) Then in 2004, Spigg Nice was sentenced to 37 years in prison for bank robbery, which is news to me. And the rest is history. Lost Boyz might not have been huge, but for a short time in the ’90s they were big on my block. —clovito