Following the release of Diddy’s “It’s All About The Benjamins” in the late 90s, fans of Yonkers-based trio The LOX were left wondering why the song lacked a verse from The LOX’s Styles P. The mystery surrounding that particular question about the record was revealed last week when Sheek Louch made an appearance during Take It Personal: The Hip Hop Improv Show.
During the Cipha Sounds-hosted improv show, Sheek shared some insight into the creation of “It’s All About The Benjamins” and revealed that Missy Elliott was the architect behind the song. According to Sheek, Missy wasn’t impressed with Styles P’s verse and felt it shouldn’t be included on the song.
“I remember we first got there with Puff. Me, Kiss, and Styles walked in the room and there was this girl in there and shit,” said Sheek. “And they was listening to that beat. At first I didn’t like it…She was talking to me like she knew me. ‘Yo, let me hear you rap to that.’ ‘First of all, who are you?’ She’s dancing and shit. She’s making beatboxing noises and shit while she like ‘Yo, let me hear you spit something to this.’ So, I said ‘alright’…So, I did my first verse—‘strictly tryna cop those’—it wasn’t even for that. I did it. Styles did something; she was like ‘meh.’ Jada did a verse to it. I swear to God, no diss to Styles. That’s my brother. Jada did his verse and shit she was like ‘Yo.’ He [Styles P] ain’t on the record and shit. And then she was like ‘You gon’ go here, you gon’ go here, y’all two, you and Kiss, gonna write Puff’s verse.’ Then she just walked off beatboxing. Later on that was Missy Elliott…But we didn’t know that was her. She put the whole ‘Benjamins’ together.”
Sheek said Styles was initially upset about not being included on the song and revealed that no one in the group had any idea how huge the record would later become.
“He was tight at first. We didn’t know that song was gonna take off like that. Before Big and Kim got on it…He don’t care. So, it is what it is,” he said.
Although Styles was not included on “It’s All About The Benjamins,” there are a handful of records Jadakiss and Styles P were featured on that Sheek didn’t have the opportunity to join in on. The LOX emcee credited that fact to Jada and Styles having “good luck” while he was out “trapping.”
“They had good luck with that shit. Catching it,” said Sheek. “Being in the studio when I wasn’t. Trapping, running around doing whatever, whatever. Wherever I was at. They was a little more focused than me at the time.”
Released in June 1997, the remixed version of “It’s All About The Benjamins” dropped several months after the death of Notorious B.I.G.
The original version of the record merely featured Diddy and The LOX (minus Styles P) while the remixed version included appearances from both Lil Kim and Notorious B.I.G. and would later be featured on Diddy’s No Way Out album.