Sheek Louch As one of the members of the platinum group The Lox, Sheek Louch has always been in the for front of rap. Sheek drops some real knowledge in the exclusive WHO?MAG interview about his new album, the Lox new album, the beef with J Hood and with Bad Boy, and working with Notorious B.I.G.
By William Hernandez
WHO?MAG: Talk to me about the new album “Silverback Gorilla”? SHEEK LOUCH: It’s my third masterpiece. I call it “Silverback Gorilla” strictly in the sense because it’s a concrete jungle out here and I’m one of the fiercest muthaf*ckas in this jungle. When you look in National Geographic, they’re not messing with the Silverback Gorilla. He got his kids around him and all that and doesn’t bother anybody. When it’s on, it’s on with him. That’s how I feel according to this rap game.
At the same time, I’m working on this Lox album. I’m sorry we had to make the fans wait so long. It was just at a time when Jadakiss made his move to Def Jam, since it’s been a long time since his last project. Jay Z wanted The Lox and Jadakiss, so what happened was Jimmy Iovine was like “this new album is going to be big!” He runs Interscope over there. I needed to stay over at Interscope. During the time back then, 50 [Cent] was talking about pushing Styles [P] album back and doing this and that. I’m like “if this man has the power to do all that and touch our albums, I’m not even going to put out this Lox album because he’s going to leak songs and mess with it and the fans don’t deserve that. The people want this Lox album. That’s why we feel back. Now it’s clearer there ain’t no beef and I ain’t got no problems with homie and it is what it is.
WHO?MAG: As far as producers and cameo appearances. Who do you have on the album? SHEEK LOUCH: I got my man Buckwild doing production. I got Soul G, Dame Grease, AD, Vinny Idol, Red Spyda. Shot out to Red Spyda. He did the single that’s picking up like crazy called “Good Love” with a Betty Wright sample. As far as features, I got my brothers Jadakiss and Styles P. We did a crazy Lox record called “Get it Stronger”. I got Dipset. Bun B, The Game, DJ Unk from Atlanta, and Bully who’s an up and coming artist on D Block.
WHO?MAG: How did you hook up with Buckwild? SHEEK LOUCH: Buckwild is family. He had the intro to my last album. He’s just a homie. Even when we’re not talking about music, he’ll call me and say “what’s good?” It’s on that level.
WHO?MAG: I’m glad you mentioned The Lox situation. When is the album coming out? SHEEK LOUCH: It’s going to come out through Interscope. We’re shooting for back to school, but before that, we got my album and a D Block compilation.
WHO?MAG: How did you get your distribution deal with Koch? SHEEK LOUCH: We took some meetings after our Universal deal. We didn’t want to get caught up into that whole major label system. We met with Koch and TVT, but Koch was talking our language financially. The vision of us boys over here and I got nothing but love and respect for everybody over here.
WHO?MAG: What was the situation that you had with your protégée J-Hood? SHEEK LOUCH: As an artist, he was just upset about the direction and how long he was taking for his album to come. He didn’t know that there’s a lot of other artists that ain’t out yet either like Papoose and other people that are on a bigger grind than him. There were a lot of songs that we wanted to put out. We thought they were hot to death, but a lot of people didn’t. The DJ’s and other people were like “you got to keep going until you get that one that pops”. I guess he got people in is ear saying he should have sold 20 million records already. A lot of labels would say f*ck it just put it out. They don’t care. That’s more like my little brother. When I see him talking disrespectful and with guns, I’m like “wow! You don’t believe that yourself. I’m not even tight with you. Why are you acting like you’re ready to do anything? Saying all that in these little DVDs. So he has been with us, I was learning the business and I can get caught up making my own projects. Styles making his and we’re thinking about The Lox. We got an artist over there that we’re not really putting our all into. I definitely apologize for that, but as far as anything out his little faggot mouth, you’re not supposed to act like that like jumping out the window doing stuff like that and he knows that. That’s why he won’t show his face in Yonkers again. At the beginning it’s funny for me to even talk greasy about him. I’m talking about my little man that I raised. Somebody asked my “why don’t you guys get mad with the stuff he be talking?” I told him “say you got a little brother. If you know for a fact you ain’t going to do sh*t, all he’s going to do is run and tell mommy or I’ll take my belt off and hit you.” That’s how I look at it.
WHO?MAG: Do you think it’s that youngster mentality? SHEEK LOUCH: Yeah, and when youngsters got people in their ears telling them this and that. I guess he tried to take our formula of how we did with Bad Boy then with the “Let The Lox go” thing. At that time with us, we couldn’t get off. Puff had us legally so crazy. He’s a gangster as far as financially and through paperwork. When we didn’t have it at 17 running around doing court and all that with him legally, I guess he tried to do that route. J-Hood, we’ll gladly let you off. It was never ever a problem or any beef. We would have let him off immediately, until he jumped out the window. I guess when you end a relationship, you got to end it on a bad note. You know he could have said, “these are still my fam, but I’m doing my own thing. It wasn’t working out for me over there, but I have respect for them and they let me off. It is what it is.” That’s the best way to go about things. I just don’t mean that in my situation, but all around the board with anybody you’re dealing with. Once you burn that bridge, you don’t know what is going to happen.
WHO?MAG: How did the D Block label come about? SHEEK LOUCH: D Block stands for discipline, dedication, and determination. That’s how we say it, but really it’s a jail thing. It was a saying, “yo fam, I’m D Block. I’ll take this.” Anything gangster and gritty was D Block. I said “I think I’m going to run with that. I’m going to take some meetings with that name. That’s fire!” Let’s get an imprint thing going that we’re straight with. People don’t even call us The Lox anymore. Them niggas is D Block. We’re just reinventing ourselves, I guess.
WHO?MAG: How did you hook with in Main Source back in 1994 for the song “Set it Off”? SHEEK LOUCH: Oh man (laughs) Main Source! Wow! You remember that?
WHO?MAG: Yeah of course SHEEK LOUCH: It was these guys back then called the Mush Men that we were dealing with out of Mount Vernon and they connected us with them. At the time when we did the song with Main Source, it wasn’t with Large Professor. It was a new dude they had Mikey D. I don’t know exactly what happened after that, but that’s how that song went down.
WHO?MAG: How did you get guys get the deal with Bad Boy back in the mid 90’s? SHEEK LOUCH: It was in Yonkers, NY. Mary J Blige took our TDK demo tape and brought it to Puff. Puff was like “who are these dudes?” She explained and we went down to Diddy’s office and we spit for him right there. I think like a week later we had a deal. BIG heard us and we were all in the room. BIG used to bring everybody through to hear us rap. Rest in Peace. The shit just jumped off from there. We did freestyles with him and songs and hit the station with him. It was like the Chicago Bulls back then. We just didn’t have our business tight. If our business was tight, we would be billionaires.
WHO?MAG: What do you remember most about being with BIG and was it intimidating for you to rhyme in his presence? SHEEK LOUCH: Of course it was intimidating. At the time we were young boys and we don’t give a f*ck either. We going in. There were times that BIG used to bring Gutter, D Roc, and all of them into the room. We used to be in the midi room in Daddy’s House. We knew we were on fire. He used to say “I’m glad you’ll mess with me”, especially when we did “You’ll See.” BIG used to lay his verse way after ours. He’d bring it so we had to bring it too. It was definitely an honor getting on his album. Doing the song “The Last Days”, we’re just getting in the game we ain’t got no business on BIG’s album. He ain’t got to put none of us on there.
WHO?MAG: How is your writing process as an artist? SHEEK LOUCH: Say somebody sends me track via gmail or common player for me, I’d get it and I don’t do the joint right away. I’ll ride around with the joint for like a day or two to feel it out. I go about it that way. Get in there light up, take a drink, and do what I got to do.
WHO?MAG: How did you hook up with Alchemist? SHEEK LOUCH: That’s my man! I’ve worked with a lot of times. Shout to Havoc, Alchemist, all of them over there. He did the “We Going to Make it” record. From there, he’s been in the family, reaching out, letting me know “Sheek what do you think about this?” I like Al a lot because he’s a dude that he don’t care about the money right there. He wants to make the records point blank. Alchemist works the same way as Pete Rock. He probably lights up a whole pound. We doing it big. He gives you directions, “Sheek, we need to do this. What do you think about this? What do you think about getting this person on it?”
WHO?MAG: How did you hook up with Pete Rock for the “914” for his upcoming album “NY’s Finest”? SHEEK LOUCH: He needed Styles and me on this joint. Straight up, I don’t need any money or anything like that. Pete I got you. He’s down the block from us. Pete will still come in with beats on a TDK on a real cassette tape. He’ll play you half of the track and ask you what you think about this. The track won’t even be done yet. He just wants your input. He’s a dude that really wants you to be there while he’s making it. He’s a cool dude. He’s old school with it and he got that quality that a lot of these producers forgot about.
WHO?MAG: What are your thoughts on bootlegging and downloading? SHEEK LOUCH: It’s the worst right now. Bootlegging has been going on since The Temptations and everybody back then, but downloading is the new generation of how to get your music off of limewire. It’s hard because it’s hurting sales and retail. It’s stifling us like crazy. We have no choice but to hit the road. I don’t care who you are, sales are down point blank!
WHO?MAG: How did you hook up with DJ Premier for the song on the second Lox album? SHEEK LOUCH: Recognize! You need one of those kind of tracks. That’s how that is with Premier. We reached out and he’ll take his time and hit you with his joint. He filled us in. It came out hot. Premier will throw pieces of your voice in there and have Sheek saying this and that. He’s real humble. In the studio, he’s studying your lyrics and listening to everything you have to say.
WHO?MAG: How is your relationship with Swizz Beats? SHEEK LOUCH: That’s my man. I spoke to him actually last night. Trying to get some things going.
WHO?MAG: How is it working with Dame Grease after all these years of working together? SHEEK LOUCH: Ah man, he got history with us. He’s a true dude. He’ll call you with mad ideas. He’s the same as I met him, just now with more fire.
WHO?MAG: Who are some of your influences as an emcee? SHEEK LOUCH: Of course Run DMC, Kool G Rap, and Big Daddy Kane.
WHO?MAG: How did you get your name Sheek Louch and the name of The Lox? SHEEK LOUCH: I said it back then in one of my lines. Sheek Louchiano like on some mob sh*t. It just stuck with me. I just shortened it to Sheek Louch. It was the Warloxs back then, but Diddy cut the “War” off. These were his exact words: “The War is over, baby. You’re the Lox now”.
WHO?MAG: How did “All about the Benjamins” come about? SHEEK LOUCH: We were one day in the midi room in Daddy’s House. It was Puff and Missy before she even blew up. He was playing this track and he said “Yo Sheek and Kiss! I need ya’ll on this joint”. I started spitting that “strictly trying to cop those” and I didn’t know the Benjamins was going to be that big. At the time, I thought that beat was alright. That sh*t took off for summers and summers straight. When I said “strictly trying top cop those”, Missy was like “that’s the verse! Make sure that has to stay.” The video shoot was a long day. I still perform that song to this day. They even had a rock version of it.
WHO?MAG: Any last words? SHEEK LOUCH: To everybody, please support this new album. It’s amazing as far as lyrically and concepts. Hold me down Silverback Gorilla!