Living the Life: The Lox hit the stage at Encore in Edmonton [Review]
Edmonton, AB – On May 10, the good folks at Tuffhouse brought Yonkers legendary rap-trio, The Lox right here to Edmonton. The Lox had been making their way through Canada over the last week, so YEG was lucky enough to get a taste of Sheek Louch, Styles P, and Jadakiss at Encore in West Edmonton Mall.
It was a quiet start to the evening once the doors opened at 9 p.m. For about 45 minutes-to-an hour, there wasn’t a soul in sight besides myself and the night club staff as they prepped for the night. This is something I’ve become accustomed to over my years of attending rap shows. And for this one – especially – it was to be expected. The Lox have been in the game for over 15 years. They’re O.G., which means the majority of their demographic is, too. Let’s face it: 9 p.m. is early. And us “weathered” hip-hop heads don’t do early. Luckily the wait was easy to deal with. I was accompanied by both DJ Reno and Guess as they took turns spinning some of my favorite club hits from past and present. Eventually people started to trickle in, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to set a good vibe for the opening acts.
Rome Angel, Baby Beretta, C.E.O., Deuce Fantastik, Young Tox, Blackson Gutta, and Tuffhouse were among the local opening acts of the evening. Peter Jackson was set to be on the bill, but unfortunately due to an injury during the Lox’s stop in Montreal, he was unable to attend. But the show must go on, and the local acts did their best to entertain the tiny crowd in the room. Encore is massive, it’s the biggest club in the city to be in fact. So when you have about 30 people in the building, it made for a tough run for each opener. To make it worse, no one was really paying much attention as they ordered their drinks, chit-chatted, and got their tables situated for bottle service.
What was unfortunate was that in between sets, there was virtually no music being played. That would have been a perfect opportunity for DJ Reno to get on the tables to hype the crowd. I don’t want to be biased, but Reno is a beast. Anytime I see him on the bill for any show, I know it’s a guarantee that he’ll kill his set. So I was disappointed that he wasn’t more present during the pre-show.
At about 12:45 a.m. The Lox’s DJ, Technician the DJ, hit the stage and the energy in the room turned up several levels. It was perfect timing since by this time the audience was a decent enough size to make for a good show. Ten minutes into Technician’s set; Sheek, Jada and Styles sauntered on to the stage like the smooth cats that they are.
I couldn’t help but smile from ear-to-ear during their entire set. I grew up on the Lox, I was in high school when they were just coming up. Watching them perform classics such as “Living the Life”, “Money Power Respect”, and “Wild Out” took me to…just plain happiness. I know that sounds cheesy, but as I looked into the crowd I could see the same expression on everyone’s face. I can put money on it that 90 per cent of the people who attended Encore that night, grew up on the Lox just as I did.
There was one particular female in the front row of the audience that caught my attention throughout their performance. She knew every single lyric to every single song of their entire set, to the point where Sheek Louch crouched down to put the mic in front of her so she could just go at it…and she did. When you’ve been in the game for as long as the Lox has and your fans are still that passionate about you; you know you’ve done something right. The Lox are a staple in hip-hop and that’s just a fact.
And let me tell you about “All About the Benjamin’s.” When the intro music to the Bad Boy anthem blasted through the speakers, the crowd erupted with one big “Awwww Shiiiiiiit!” Everyone (including the bartenders) couldn’t help but start dancing and rapping along, “Whatcha wanna do? Wanna be ballers, shot callers…” Those are the moments you live for at a live show.
It didn’t stop there either – what I appreciated so much about the Lox is how supportive they are of each other’s solo career. Each MC took their turn to rap a couple of their own songs as the other two backed them up. Jadakiss with “Knock Yourself Out” and “We Gonna Make It”; Styles P did his verses from Akon’s “Locked Up” remix; and Sheek Louch took his turn with “How Many Guns.” They also paid homage to the likes of Nas, Drake, 2Pac, Biggie, Kanye, Rick Ross, Young Thug, and more.
Saturday night at Encore may have started out slow, but the end of it all was a night to celebrate hip-hop music. And it was the kind of hip-hop music that you just don’t hear anymore. Let alone experience it live. After all this time; I love that the Lox can still put out albums (The Trinity) and put on a great live show. I also love that Jadakiss still has that baby face.
Side note: Huge props to Tuffhouse for the hospitality and allowing me to do my review from onstage. A dream come true for this girl, so it couldn’t go unnoticed.
Photography by Rosa Jason
Review and photography by Rosa Jason for HipHopCanada