The LOX — an acronym for Living Off Experience — are a Yonkers, NY-based rap trio who worked their way up through the Bad Boy training camp, writing and rapping on hits by the likes of Puff Daddy, the Notorious B.I.G., Mary J. Blige, and Mariah Carey before releasing their debut album in early 1998. Sheek (Shawn Jacobs), Jadakiss (Jayson Phillips), and Styles (David Styles) began rapping together in their childhood. By the time they reached their late teens, they had settled on the LOX name. Eventually, they met Mary J. Blige. Impressed by their demo tape, Blige forwarded the tape to Sean “Puffy” Combs, who hired the trio as writers.
Between 1996 and 1997, the group wrote and performed on a number of Combs’ productions, including his own “It’s All About the Benjamins” and “I Got the Power,” Mase’s “24 Hrs. to Live,” Mariah Carey’s “Honey,” the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Last Day,” Mary J. Blige’s “Can’t Get You Off My Mind,” and Zhané’s “Saturday Night.” The LOX received an unexpected boost in the summer of 1997, when their tribute to the late Biggie Smalls, “We’ll Always Love Big Poppa,” was picked as the B-side of Puff Daddy’s international number one hit, “I’ll Be Missing You.” The single was the biggest hit of 1997, setting the stage for the January 1998 release of the LOX’s debut, Money, Power & Respect, which went as high as number three on the pop album charts. After a switch to the Ruff Ryders label camp, We Are the Streets followed in early 2000.