Interview: Sheek Louch Talks ‘Silverback Gorilla 2′ Album and The Secret Behind L.O.X.’s Success

Sheek a.k.a Sean Jacobs doesn’t need over announce his lyrical prowess to remind the masses that he hasn’t fallen off. While his counterparts Jadakiss and Styles P were working on their own solo projects, the Brooklyn-born member of the LOX was also crafting his own LP, Silverback Gorilla 2.

Over time, Sheek recruited talent like Fabolous, Swizz Beatz, Raheem DeVaughn, Pusha T, Billy Danze, Trae Tha Truth, Joell Ortiz and more. Now, even after he dropped the warm-up mixtape Gorillaween, Louch feels like his sixth studio album will prove how much he’s grown musically since the first installment dropped in 2008.

“They [The fans] are loving it so it feels good, especially after being in this game for so long,” Sheek says about his new album. I’m an OG in this, [the L.O.X.] seen em come and go. Motherf**kers who thought they was hot ain’t here, and I’ve seen it.”

While most groups tend to fall off or break up in their prime, Sheek says there’s a reason why the LOX has lasted this long in the game without comprising their integrity.

Before his album hits retailers and iTunes on Dec. 4, read Sheek’s convo with VIBE.com about his upcoming album, getting back in the studio with Swizz Beatz, and the concept behind sequel to Silverback Gorilla. Sheek also lets us in on the real reason why his group’s place in hip-hop history is permanent.

VIBE: You’ve been on a role with your own music as of late. Was the Gorillaween mixtape your way of venting before the new album dropped?
Sheek: Definitely. That’s kinda the traditional formula to drop a mixtape before the album drops. But actually I ain’t going to lie, I got to give credit to my man Cash because I had no plans on that. He was like ‘Yo Sheek, all the Soundcloud stuff you put out, drop like 10-15 more songs with it and let’s put something out and leave the fans wanting more.’ Now we’re at an age where we want to give them more than just the album.

As far as the album goes, why did you feel the timing was right to work on Silverback Gorilla 2?
I wanted to bring that grittiness back to the streets for one. I wanted to show my growth as far as all my lyrical skills and concepts and bring that back to the game. It’s been awhile since my last one. I mean I dropped all kinds of music in the streets and I did Wu-Block projects, but I just wanted to get back into it. I’ve been touring a lot me with Ghostface, and we’ve been everywhere. I had all of these songs with me and Fab, A.S.A.P., and all these joints just sitting and ready to go.

It seems like you just selected songs you recorded over time and put them all together. Did you have an original direction for the sequel?
Basically [to go] on beast mode, man. I know had a formula as far as my gritty records and my club bangers. On the album, I even got some chick joints because I do make those kinds of records like “Good Love” and records for the girls. So I had some kind of direction.

You recently dropped your collaboration with Swizz Beats. Did that studio session bring back the LOX’s Ruff Ryder days?
Yea, definitely. When you walk in there with Swizz — his energy is on 5000 — like at all times. There’s never any cool out. While Swizzy is making a new track, he’ll be like ‘Listen to this beat. Listen to this.’ He’ll record like ‘12 beats done tonight, 15 hooks done tonight.’ He’s really jotting that shit down and saying it into a little recorder, and does a thousand hooks for different songs and all that. His energy is at an all time high. Then, I come with the lyrics. I remember we did the hook. Then he hit me the next day like ‘Yo I wrote a verse to it. If you don’t want it, you don’t got to keep it but I laid it down.’ I was like ‘Hell yea I’m keeping that shit.’ [laughs]

Of the rest of the tracks on Silverback Gorilla 2, which song hits home as the most personal to you?
It would have to be that “No Loses” with me and Fab. Yea, or even “Trap Stories.” I also got the “Bang Bang” joint with me and Pusha-T — where I talk that street shit. That’s where we come from, the LOX, from that gritty talk.

Speaking of he LOX, Jadakiss’ album Top 5: Dead Or Alive has already dropped and Styles P continues to push out songsevery week. Do you feel like you guys are the hardest working (and consistent) trio in the game right now?
Definitely 100%. All the O.G.s, they salute us. They’re like ‘Yo man, y’all are still together. We’ve never heard any bullshit about y’all three. Never beefing with each other.’ You get what I’m saying? Some other groups come in, argue, break up and everything. It was never that sh*t with us.

Our loyalty is beyond some other shit. I’m going to tell you the reason why it’s like that. It’s strictly because I respect them, and they respect me. Our families loves each other. And not to sound corny but, these other motherf*ckers was put together by management or later in life. Nut my mom is cool with their mom sand our kids are cool, so it’s real family.

Then musically, we were just ahead of our time when Puff grabbed us after Mary brought us over there. Our level of lyrics has been up there.

As far as your album goes, you’ve got new faces like Dyce Payne. What other new artists have inspired you lately? Who are you bumping to right now?
As far as the new artists, I mean first off thank you to everyone who got on my project, especially Fab, Trae Tha Truth, M.O.P., and Joell Ortiz. He’s crazy talented that brother right there. As far as those who inspire me, I’d have to say J. Cole, Big Sean, and of course Kendrick Lamar. I also rep for New York’s young guys like Dave East, Joey Badass, and all them.

Along with the album’s release, what else do you have planned to close out the 4th quarter?
I know it’s a crazy time with Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I know a lot of people try to shut down and spend time with family. But I’ve got a couple of shows I’m going to do in Europe and all over the place. I’m also going to shoot a bunch of videos while everyone is vacationing and chilling, so that I can come back strong at the top of next year.