Artist: Sheek LouchTitle: Walk Witt MeRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Toshi Kondo
Very few groups have a strong enough fan base or the longevity for each member to release a solo effort. However, since their days of rebelling against Puffys platinum dreams, the LOX have built a reputation for delivering high-quality gun talk that has endeared them to the streets. With relatively successful solo efforts from Jadakiss and Styles P, its only appropriate that Sheek bless fans with his first solo release Walk Witt Me. Unlike his partners-in-rhyme though, Sheeks mixtape rhymes dont translate as smoothly to a full song and album format.
In contrast to many other groups, each of the LOX members have very distinctive styles. Jadakiss has a raspy voice and cocky demeanor. While Styles P sounds very nonchalant and has an effortless flow. Lastly, Sheek has an aggressive, but simple and straightforward delivery.
This delivery works best on tracks where he opens up and speaks to listeners about his life and experiences. I Aint Forget is a chronicle of his time as a Bad Boy in the industry and the reason behind the Lox jailbreak from the label, spitting: I knew it on when I got with Sean/ But I was caught up in the mix of some glittery s###/ 18, him and Mase making mils with it / Had to get up off that, jewelry and Cristal, couldnt talk that. He even acknowledges that the streets felt Jadas solo effort was moist and accuses Interscope of providing weak promotion for Styles album.
The title track picks up where Styles Listen left off, envisioning a utopia without the numerous problems that Earths inhabitants confront on a daily basis. With soft humming and a slow, plodding piano, the track has a very ethereal feel. With the aforementioned tracks, Sheeks flow is beneficial. On the other hand, when it comes to matching his LOX partners rhyme-for-rhyme, it becomes an impediment. In/Out with Styles P, allows the listener to hear the two switch off every two bars and is damming evidence for why a Sheek solo had less anticipation than the other members of the LOX.
The synthesized production on many tracks such as How Many Guns and the extremely disappointing Turn It Up, are reminiscent of how early Ruff Ryder releases sounded when produced solely by Swizz Beats. On the latter, Alchemist contributes a throwaway beat whose blandness is matched by Sheeks lazy bars. Although the whole album does not sound like this, these tracks give it a slightly amateurish undertone.
Given the previous material that Sheek has put on wax through mixtapes and LOX projects, this album doesnt depart far from the expected street aesthetic. Some of his more personal and insightful songs showcase his versatility and ability to carry a project for dolo. But as unfair as it may be, when comparing Walk Witt Me to the high standards set by other LOX affiliated projects, one cant help but feel as if something is missing.