Sheek Louch Interview
|Next Project:||Silverback Gorilla|
|Twitter:||Sheek Louch on Twitter|
|Website:||Sheek Louch's Website|
Times have certainly changed for Sheek Louch. The man who was once merely known as “that guy in the Lox” is now gearing up for the release of his third solo project, Silverback Gorilla, in late March.
Following the independently successful release of “After Taxes” (Koch), Louch and his D-Block brethren (Jadakiss and Styles P) have kept the streets fiending for more of their jagged lyrical edge and raw gangsta appeal.
In an exclusive interview with DJBooth’s DJ “Z,” Sheek steps inside the booth to discuss the importance of using hip-hop to encourage voter registration, how he feels about his four-year-old son listening to his music and the status of the highly-anticipated new album from The Lox.
Listen to the Interview
Sheek Louch Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on ya’ll? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is one third of The Lox. Excitedly awaiting the release of his new studio album “Silverback Gorilla,” please welcome my man, Sheek Louch – how you doin’?
Sheek Louch: I feel great, man. I’m doin’ good. I’m excited, gettin’ ready for this new album, “Silverback Gorilla,” like you said – it’s fire! If you loved the last two, this one is even crazier.
DJ Booth: I have no doubt that that is the truth. We last spoke November of ‘05, right after you dropped your last album, “After Taxes,” so, what is the most exciting thing that has happened in your life, either personally or professionally, since the eighth of November, 2005?
Sheek Louch: The most exciting thing – wow. Keepin’ my family around, seein’ my son get older every year – he’s almost four now – that bugs me out. And musically, not to sound generic, just havin’ the fans with me and lovin’ my growth, and lovin’ that I’m a monster right now in the game.
DJ Booth: You mentioned fatherhood – what do you think is more challenging: going into the studio to create a hot, new album, or just the daily life of being a father and raising a son?
Sheek Louch: Definitely bein’ a father and raising a son. Your album, you put it out there for the people, to give ‘em insight into your life. But your son is your life; your family is your life, on my behalf anyway. And just moldin’ him, and showin’ him what’s wrong and right, and this is why it’s wrong or right, its a challenge. And lettin’ a boy be a boy, you know what I mean?
DJ Booth: Do you let your son listen to your music?
Sheek Louch: Yeah, for the most part. Until he tells me, “Daddy, that’s a bad word,” you know what I mean?
DJ Booth: Yeah. [laughter]
Sheek Louch: Like, “Now you can’t listen to that.”
DJ Booth: When you divulged the details of the original deal that you signed with Koch a couple years ago, you explained that D-Block was gettin’ eight dollars per record sold. A lot has changed, Sheek, in the music industry over the past two years. So, is the record deal still as favorable this time around, or was it renegotiated?
Sheek Louch: Yeah, yeah, definitely. We kept the same core format and all that. Because, Koch respected our growth, Koch respects our grind, and it’s still all structured the same, but we just don’t deal with J-Hood anymore. We got so many new projects and so many new artists that they’re like, “Wow, we gotta keep everything the same. And not to mention, you guys are on fire right now,” know what I mean?
DJ Booth: Mm-hm – I know you are.
Sheek Louch: And to elaborate on that, the industry, you ain’t lyin’ about that, man. F*ck, sales, everything is down at least forty-five to sixty percent.
DJ Booth: Sheek, a lot of artists, all they’re doing is really complaining about how the sales are down, but what can artists do themselves, separate from whatever a label can do for them, to turn this all around?
Sheek Louch: Yo, Z, you know what? I got some money for you if you know that answer. I wish I knew the answer. Downloadin’ is definitely at an all-time high, with all the sites where you can go and get your music that way. Bootlegging is at an all-time high; that’s been goin’ on since the Temptations, you know what I mean? You can say, “Keep your music, and hold it till the last minute, till you gotta turn it in,” but if everybody has their hustles and their schemes. It could be the engineer, where you recorded your album at, it could be whoever, who’s turning your album in and putting it online. You don’t know who – I wish I knew that secret! I’m sorry about that one, Z; I don’t know.
DJ Booth: Well, I think one of the solutions – and you tell me if you think I’m correct here – would be just to focus on making better music. A lot of artists in the industry, they put out mediocre music.
Sheek Louch: You’re a hundred percent right with that. And I blame a lot of labels also, because right now these labels got these young boys comin’ in the game to make one ring tone. They don’t care about the rest of the album, all they want is one ring tone hit, and that’s it. The rest of the album sounds garbage! Real people such as yourself and me that’s listening, is like, “What is this?! Who said this is hot?!” Yeah, that one song is, but other than that, the rest of the record is trash! We gotta knock that off and get back to makin’ that fire, like “Silverback Gorilla.”
DJ Booth: Isn’t that the truth. I couldn’t agree more. In a press release, Sheek, for your new album, Alan Grunblatt, the GM and executive VP over at Koch, is quoted as saying, “Sheek Louch is a successful, core Koch artist, and he defines gangsta rap in New York.” So, if you were asked for a quote on how the industry perceives your significance in the game, how would you explain Sheek Louch?
Sheek Louch: Yeah, yeah, shout out to Alan. I didn’t know he said all that – good lookin’, brother! My growth is ridiculous. I’m definitely one third of The Lox, but at first I was like, “That’s the dude from The Lox.” Now, I’m Sheek Louch. I’m that dude. Like, they love my music, I’m standin’ on my own. My swagger is all the way up, and it reflects in my new album comin’ on out. It’s no longer like, “Yo, your joint got hot!” I’m on fire right now, and I feel that way. I think people see me definitely as a “gangsta” rapper, and what people love about me is when they meet me and they meet me again later, I’m the same dude they spoke to and ain’t nothing changed.
DJ Booth: You gotta stay humble in this industry, ‘cause one day you’re on top, the next day you’re on the bottom.
Sheek Louch: That’s right! It’s called longevity, man. And workin’, and studyin’, and knowin’ what’s goin’ on out there.
DJ Booth: “Silverback Gorilla,” as we’ve mentioned, is the name of your new album. After doing some extensive research, I discovered that when a threatened male Silverback shows his dominance to a younger or outsider male, he screams, beats his chest, breaks branches, bares his teeth, and charges forward. When your dominance is challenged in this industry, how do you best respond?
Sheek Louch: A hundred percent! And I watch the Discovery Channel too, baby, I know what you’re talkin’ about. You see the Silverback, got his kids, ain’t botherin’ nobody, but when it’s time, it’s on. When people’s like, “Let me see what he got,” I came forth and I brought it and I beat on my chest that way. Whether it was Jay-Z at the time or when we was beefin’ with 50, if you wanna call it beef. I’m doin’ what I gotta do.
DJ Booth: Shouts out to yourself for admitted you watch Discovery Channel; I know a lot of people probably wouldn’t want to. I have no problem with saying it to the world: I watch that channel.
Sheek Louch: There’s so much stuff on there, man! Sheek watch the Discovery Channel, Nature Channel, and all that. It’s an interesting fam!
DJ Booth: One of the new songs off the album is the single, produced by Red Spyda, “Good Love.” In it, you talk about potentially finding some good love while out on tour. So, in all the years of performing, have you ever found anything close?
Sheek Louch: I got a wife and all that right now. [laughter] Yeah, yeah, of course I had my share on the road, runnin’ around, before I settled down. But for the most part that song is just speakin’ to the ladies. I think a lot of ladies, regardless of my status as far as gangsta and all that, they’re attracted to me. A lot of people’s like, “Man, Sheek, you gotta do more sh*t for the ladies, ‘cause they on you!” And that’s why I give ‘em that music. And it ain’t just for the ladies, it’s a hot party record. Also, that sample, my mom used to love that record, that “Good Love,” by Betty Wright. So, yeah, shout-out to Red Spyda.
DJ Booth: The album’s gonna feature guest appearances by your D-Block brethren Jadakiss and Styles P, and, of course, Jim Jones, Bun B, Game and Fat Joe. Was there anybody that you wanted to scoop up for sixteen bars that didn’t make themselves available?
Sheek Louch: I had Avant on this joint – it’s a funny story. I had a song called, “I’m So Hood.” Same kind of concept as Khaled – shout-out to Khaled – but he came out with it first, and then he remixed it, and it was just a big, big record. So I’m not even tryin’ to compete with it. But shout-out to Avant, man; he killed the hook for me.
DJ Booth: Let’s go back to our earlier interview that we conducted a few years ago. You promised me, and the world, that we would all get a new Lox album. Then, this past year, I spoke with Styles a few times, and we discussed the album as well. A lot of talk’s goin’ on and no new album. So the world still awaits – what’s the latest?
Sheek Louch: Oh, I know. You know what, Z? I apologize, it’s been too long for this Lox album. And I definitely thought it was comin’ at the time. We just ripped down a big, big show in New York at BB King’s. The reviews were ridiculous. They called it the best show of ‘08. Kiss just made his move over there to Def Jam with Jay-Z, so at the time, when we was ready to drop that Lox album, when I promised it at the time, 50 [Cent] was – you know, if you wanna call it beef or whatever – was talkin’ about how we was gonna push Styles’ album back. When we wanted to drop that, we was like, “Man, if he can really do that, he’s gonna tamper with this Lox album as well.” The fans don’t deserve that, for anybody to put their hands on it. That’s why we didn’t move on that. But now Jimmy Iovine is sayin’ that stuff is goin’ down with Def Jam, and he wants the album to come out on Interscope. So we’re gonna move forward on that.
DJ Booth: I can only imagine, with four to five years’ worth of recorded material, you guys are gonna have a hell of a hard time deciding what the best twelve to sixteen tracks are.
Sheek Louch: Yo, Z, if I get you in the studio, you’ll lost your mind! You’d be like, “Yo, this gotta come out today!” I’ll let you hear some of that Lox stuff and you’ll bug out. It’s crazy.
DJ Booth: If you let me listen, I’m going to select too much music for eighty-minute CD. Sheek, with 2008 an election year, and Democratic candidate Barack Obama running for office, do you feel the need to use your status as a popular figure in hip hop-
Sheek Louch: Yes! I feel the need to use my status and anybody else. It’s not a race card, but in a way it is, because, I could be a part of history right now. If we [elect] a black president right now, regardless of what, that is history. I didn’t think that’d ever, ever take place. It’d be a great thing, man. Even Hillary, I didn’t ever think there’d be a woman either.
DJ Booth: It’s certainly shaping up to be a crazy election. Let’s put it this way: if you could get one promise from whomever our next president’s going to be, that would be one hundred percent guaranteed, what would you ask for?
Sheek Louch: I would wanna get rid of the downloading of our music. I would want to get rid of the piracy. I’d wanna get rid of all that, man.
DJ Booth: Okay, so stop everybody from putting your hard-earned work online and allowing the world to take it for nothing.
Sheek Louch: A hundred percent. And I may need two. I want these video shows to give us more music, more videos, and less reality.
DJ Booth: Well, the concept behind MTV was to play videos, and a long time ago something changed. So, we definitely need to do something about that, I agree completely.
Sheek Louch: That’s what I challenge the president to do: give us more videos and music on these video shows and less reality, man.
DJ Booth: Well, if I talk to Barack, I’m gonna tell him those are on your wish list. Hopefully he’ll make it happen.
Sheek Louch: [laughter] That’s right.
DJ Booth: Sheek, give everybody a website or a Myspace page so they can find out more about the upcoming album.
Sheek Louch: My Myspace is myspace.com/gorillalouch.
DJ Booth: I wish you nothing but the best of luck. Thank you for joining me inside the DJ Booth, and do it big in March or April, whenever the album drops.
Sheek Louch: Z, this was a great interview; I liked those questions. Good-lookin’ on everything. “Silverback Gorilla,” go get that, y’all, when it come out in late March. Hold me down, y’all, D-Block.