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1 January, 2000@12:00 am

 The Lox  can best be described as a timebomb waiting to explode. When listening to these baby-faced junior thugs, it’s evident that they have talent, and are some of the cleverest lyricists on the east-coast thug scene. The crew first got their chance shine on Bad Boy two years ago, but unlike every other project coming out of the label at the time, they didn’t blow up. Following this, the crew did their best to make it publicly known that they wanted out of their contract with Bad Boy, and with the Puffster’s image at stake, they were quickly released. Enter 2000, The Lox being the first major release of the year, hoping that the timebomb’s final seconds are approaching.

Unfortunately, the explosion isn’t coming any time soon for The Lox. We Are The Streets is a decent album, and does carve the group’s niche better than their debut Money Power Respect, but like there debut, it isn’t good, and it isn’t bad - it just kind of is. Handling the majority of the production on the album is their affiliated producer, Swizz Beatz, who starts things off nicely with “Fuck You”. Unfortunately, while recently Swizz has cranked out some incredible beats for the Ruff Ryders and Jay-Z, his beats fall into a state of monotony with The Lox’s release. “Wild Out” for instance is a cheap reworking of “Jigga My Nigga”, while many of the others are indistinguishable. Also contributing to the soundtrack are DJ Premier (“Recognize”) and Timbaland (“Ryde Or Die, Bitch”), yet these two also hand the crew some half-assed beats - as if they were some half-assed rappers.

But they aren’t at all. Jadakiss, in particular, is perhaps one of the nicest thug emcees of the moment, and steals the show from the other members every time. His witty lyrics make the life of a gangster worth listening to again, while Sheek & Styles come with a few amusing lines as well, (that is, when not trying to take this thug shit TOO seriously.)

All in all, The Lox have broken free from their previous prison, but have unfortunately landed themselves into another - that of monotonous production. Comparable to artists like Ras Kass, Canibus, and countless other dope emcees, The Lox are wonderful lyricists - they just need to find the right beats if they are ever going be as large as their mentors, Biggie & DMX  - which seems to be their goal.

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