No Security
(D-Block/E1 Music)

The Lox have always rolled deep. First sporting Bad Boy’s shiny suits, then repping the rowdier Ruff Ryders ranks, the lyrical trinity now pledges allegiance to its own D-Block brigade. Losing a troop along the way (chain-dragging defector J-Hood), the Yonkers set continues hustling with a plethora of existing members on their No Security compilation.

Sheek Louch sets the tone early atop escalating violins and crashing snares on “So Much Trouble,” rhyming, “I don’t Auto-Tune or skinny-ass jeans/I cook the coke up and serve them fiends.” The murder music continues with “From the Block,” where Styles P boosts the body count over kooky synths, while Scram Jones’s eerie vocal sample evokes crime-scene imagery on “Hello.” Don’t get it twisted, though: The gang’s unknowns are no studio slouches. AP, Straw and Snyp Life hold their weight when tacking verses onto the boom-bap-fueled “Like That Ya’ll (Remix),” originally starring just The Lox. And Large Amount’s wordplay gleams on the shadowy, Styles-hosted posse cut “That’s D-Block” (“Niggas move weight like they bodybuilding/And every day they find a body in somebody’s building”), as the rookie shows true promise.

Unfortunately, the wheels fall off when the neophytes go joyriding unsupervised. Take the tour-bus jingle “Round and Round,” a groupie ode that draws inspiration from a kindergarten ditty, or the up-tempo “Get Ya Bounce On,” a well-intentioned yet unfitting ashy-to-classy recollection that’s nearly as corny as its title. And while the OJ Da Juiceman, Ty and Don D collaboration “Show Em” is Southern baked with a brooding and bouncy beat, the bars lack true flavor.What ultimately hinders the album is the limited number of verses from the crew’s founding members (Jada appears on only three of 12 cuts) and its disappointing beats. However, fully loaded with trigger talk, No Security does provide relief from today’s singing rappers and silly dances. For whatever it’s worth, if nothing else, the album proves that, while suckers still need bodyguards, D-Block is able to roam the streets freely. –John Kennedy