“Filthy America . . . It’s Beautiful”
THE GRADE A-
BOTTOM LINE A hard-hitting hip-hop comeback 16 years in the making
It’s not like rappers Jadakiss, Styles P and Sheek Louch have been hiding out since 2000, when they released their last album as a group.
But something special happens when the Yonkers trio gets together as The Lox. They feed off each other’s energy throughout the much-anticipated new album “Filthy America . . . It’s Beautiful” (D-Block/Roc Nation/Def Jam) and these songs seem to have more of a spark than even their best solo work.
Even their point of view has shifted. While The Lox made their name with gritty tales of the drug trade and life on the streets on their debut album, “Money, Power & Respect,” they are no longer those guys.
“Now I sell juice, but I used to sell blow,” Styles P rhymes in “What Else You Need to Know?” referring to the chain of local juice bars, Juices for Life, that he now runs with Jadakiss. In “The Family,” Jadakiss declares, “Used to move powder in the streets, now I move powder in the juicer.”
They hammer the point home in the skit “Stupid Questions,” where they spar with pretend journalists who pepper them with questions about hip-hop beefs long squashed.
“Don’t You Cry” shows why The Lox are so eager to move forward, a mix of old-school East Coast rap with a bit of island influence. “Secure the Bag” offers a bit of DJ Khaled-style money advice, with some help from Gucci Mane. And when The Lox team up with Mobb Deep on the synth groove-driven “Hard Life,” they show they can easily hang with any of the current crop of rappers on pop radio with dance-oriented hits, just like they did when it was all about the Benjamins, baby.
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