The LOX will go down as one of the greatest what could’ve been stories in hip-hop. The fact that they never really blew up or even put out music on a consistent basis is a tragedy. Whether it was due to label issues, apathy, or a combination of both they were never really able to get it together despite their immense lyrical ability. So it was a surprise to me to see that finally after 17 years they released a new album in Filthy America… It’s Beautiful.
The LOX came up in a very specific era of hip-hop. They arrived at a time when gritty, east coast, street music ruled the airwaves and it was a sound they inherited in their DNA. However, the times and the soundscape has changed significantly since then and as solo artists they’ve had a really hard time adjusting and it’s a problem that only gets further compounded as they’ve returned as a group. Filthy America is firmly stuck in the past; the production all sounds like something I would have heard from them in the early 2000’s and while it’s when they’re at their best, it also sounds woefully outdated. The few times they do try to update their sound, turn out disastrous; “The Agreement” and “Secure the Bag” are horrible. I’m all for street music, but the production here isn’t even good for the times it’s still stuck in.
“These niggas all allegedly nice
It’s a conspiracy ’cause some of them allegedly write
It ain’t on ’till it’s blood on the edge of your knife
It’s a fact that Montega taking money is better than white
I sold work, new niggas think it’s better to swipe”
Lyrically Sheek, Kiss, and Styles haven’t lost a step and they still have an absurd amount of bars to deliver; Kiss and Styles still being the best. Content wise they’re still doing what they’ve always been known for, and that’s rap about the streets. They still do it well, but honestly it’s started to lose it’s appeal and after all these years of turmoil you’d think they could dig a little deeper and come up with more interesting tales to spin. Ultimately my excitement at seeing a new LOX album quickly faded into disappointment. Not because Filthy America sounded outdated (it does), but because this wouldn’t have even been a good album back in their prime. This one won’t make it into my collection, I’m better off still thinking about what could’ve been.
Have you heard Filthy America? What’d you think about it? Did you find it as outdated as I did? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your rating for the album.
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