You're probably going to see a bunch of fans picking the mothballs off their "Let the LOX go!" T-shirts and pulling them out of the closet. The Yonkers, New York, rappers are so fed up with record-label politics that we may never hear an official group album from them again.
To make matters worse, the group's Styles P. and Jadakiss say that they will no longer put out solo LPs.
"We've been on a promo tour for Sheek Louch's album, and on the bus we just been talking about this sh--," Styles said. "They doing so much bullsh-- to us, and it's like you can't do nothing. It's like you work at a real job like at Key Food and you notice the conditions ain't suitable for you and you ain't really getting nowhere."
So what exactly does this all mean? It means that you'll still hear the LOX on the mixtape circuit, but both Kiss and Styles refuse to record any more solo albums for Interscope Records; and Kiss, Styles and Sheek Louch won't be doing another LOX group album for Interscope either. While they're still down to do guest appearances with other artists, they doubt that their label will clear the cameos. All three LOX members will be focusing more on their D-Block label and grooming new talent, like J-Hood.
"I don't see it as quitting, 'cause we're not quitters," clarified Sheek, whose second solo LP, After Taxes, is due on Tuesday "But we keep going back and forth and it's not getting nobody nowhere. We basically saying, 'Holla at us when you get it right.' It's ridiculous. Now Jada and Styles are going to switch to CEO mode."
One of the main catalysts for their indefinite hiatus, of course, is the LOX's feud with 50 Cent, who is also on Interscope. The group is upset that Ruff Ryders Records CEOs Dee and Waah Dean — whom they've known since their childhood — have been meeting and negotiating on their behalf with 50 without their knowledge and without being asked to do so. The LOX are also frustrated that they have not been able to have a sit-down with the head of Interscope, Jimmy Iovine. They say they've been trying to arrange a meeting for the past five months.
During that time, Jadakiss has been working on an LP he says would be titled Kiss My Ass. Interscope released a Styles single featuring Akon called "Can You Believe It," which is actually one of the hottest records in New York right now. However, Styles' LP Time Is Money still has no release date. The album has been finished for two years and has been pushed back incessantly. Styles said that Interscope recently told him it wanted to finally put the album out this month, but a number of factors caused him to dissuade the company to do so. He explains that the record would have come out without the proper setup, and would have hit shelves around the same time as Sheek's After Taxes, which has been long advertised as dropping November 8.
"They put our backs against the walls," Jada vented on Monday (November 7). "Sh-- ain't right. It ain't panning out."
Styles put part of the blame for his record's delay on 50 Cent's influence at Interscope. 50 has nicknamed himself "Curtis 'Interscope' Jackson" and on records he's warned Jadakiss that he would indeed push Styles' album back. Recently on New York radio, 50 initially denied having anything to do with Styles' LP delay, then hinted that he may indeed have had a hand in its scheduling.
"On the radio he said the building leans when he leans," Styles detailed. "What is that telling me? I don't wanna go to jail. And I don't wanna step on none of these rich people's toes. I don't wanna argue with none of these people and I don't wanna continue to frustrate myself wondering when my album is gonna come out. I'm at a point in my life when I can't be waiting two years for them to drop my album. Why be a slave?"
In the past couple of weeks, 50 has divulged a plan to put aside his feud with the LOX and help Jada make his next album (see "50 Cent Open To Doing Business With Jadakiss, Urges Calm Over 'Murda' Mase"). Needless to say, Kiss said he would never work with 50 Cent.
"It'll be over for hip-hop," Styles said of what would happen if Jada worked with G-Unit. Styles also elaborated that he heard the Ruff Ryders were trying to iron out a deal to put the next Kiss album out with G-Unit, much like how G-Unit and Aftermath released the Game's The Documentary earlier this year.
"The sh--'s crazy. It makes you go, 'This sh-- is crazy,' " Styles said about learning of Dee and Waah's talks with 50. "I don't understand what the f--- is going on. We keep speaking and speaking [to Ruff Ryders] and it seems like nothing is getting nowhere. The sh-- is worse now. They trying to get Jada on G-Unit."
The final factor causing Styles and Kiss to step away from the mic is the fact that Diddy still owns a significant amount of their music publishing and they've been unable to sit down and renegotiate with him. In the late '90s, the LOX were displeased with how Bad Boy was treating them and staged the famous "Let the LOX go!" campaign in which they publicly lobbied for release from their contract. They were allowed to sign with Interscope, but not without consequences (they say it cost them millions, including some publishing rights). Since then, however, the old wounds appeared to be healed. Diddy and the LOX even performed together recently at the Jay-Z and Friends shows in New York and Philly.
"I don't have no beef with him, but I'm not feeling him," Styles said of Diddy. "He don't want to come off none of that publishing. That's securing your future. That's what's gonna come in later down the line. The direction things are going now, it's going downhill. It's like we almost blackballed and we been fighting through the blackball. He has all this money, he has Justin's [restaurant], Sean John, he throws million-dollar parties but we can't get a piece of our publishing back?"
For LOX fans, there are a couple of bright spots in this whole mess. For one, no rapper retires forever — we've seen that time and time again. And the LOX could always end up at another label home. They've all confirmed that Jay-Z was interested in bringing them to Def Jam, but Styles says Interscope hasn't really entertained the offer as of yet.
Last week, Ruff Ryders refused to comment on its dealings with Jadakiss and Interscope. On Monday, a rep for Interscope had no comment at press time.
For Jadakiss' take on 50 Cent, check out the feature "Jadakiss & Fat Joe Sound Off" .