How Classic Is The Lox's Money, Power & Respect? | Album Review



Money, Power & Respect is the Lox's first record and was released January 13, 1998, on Bad Boy Records. The Lox formed in 1994 in Yonkers, New York, as high school students and were called ''The Bomb Squad» initially, but eventually changed their name to The Warlocks. They were building a reputation by performing local shows and producing homemade demos. This led to a guest spot on Main Source's '94 album Fuck What You Think on a track called ''Set It Off''. Main Source famously introduced Nas to the public three years prior on the Breaking Atoms album from '91 with the track ''Live at the Barbeque''. 

The next step in The Lox's career was when fellow Yonker native Mary J. Blige passed their demo on to Bad Boy CEO Sean ''Puffy'' Combs who then signed them to Bad Boy Records. Puffy then requested that they change their name to The Lox which became an acronym for Living Off eXperience. Subsequently, they appeared on DJ Clue's Show Me the Money before gaining some massive exposure on Puff Daddy's 1997 album No Way Out



The buzz around The Lox was definitely big and their mic skills (especially Jadakiss') were tight, but did the album live up to expectations? One could say both yes and no. Other than the title track ''Money, Power & Respect'' the album is sorely lacking in quality choruses (and songs). And it's Lil' Kim who provides the chorus to this track and DMX stops by to lend his vocals also. Some of the tracks have an underground/mixtape simplicity to them which is unfitting on a major release by the biggest hip-hop record company at the time. 

And on the tracks where they do try to make a commercially viable song with a good hook, the results are fair but any truly memorable tracks are missing. The best track in this style is ''Let's Start Rap Over'' featuring Carl Thomas, although it's nothing too special. 

The back cover of The Lox's  Money, Power & Respect  showing the track list

The back cover of The Lox's Money, Power & Respect showing the track list

All-in-all it seems that Bad Boy Records had lost much of their luster after the murder of The Notorious B.I.G. and No Way Out was their last great record (it was recorded before Biggie died). Understandably the mood at Bad Boy, especially Puffy and Lil' Kim's emotional state must have been one of mourning, leaving the Lox to create an exciting vibe on their own. A good album, but not a Bad Boy classic.

Alexander Ramalho