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Pretty Lou Drops Knowledge Ahead Of TV One’s Lost Boyz Unsung

The Lost Boyz, featuring Southside Queens natives, Mr. Cheeks, Freaky Tah, Pretty Lou and DJ Spiggs were part of the golden age of Hip-Hop that made an impact in the 1990s. 

The group is the subject of this evenings Unsung episode at 9:00 PM EST on TV One. 

Lost Boyz – Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz & Benz

Music video by Lost Boyz performing Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz & Benz. (C) 1995 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

They struck gold with hits like Lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless, Jeeps, Lex, Coups, Bimaz and Benz, Renee, Music Makes Me High, Get Up, and the song that eulogized Freaky Tah featuring Bob Marleys son, Stephen, Till We Meet Again. 

But then they disappeared from the scene. And not for reasons that plague most artists such as bad contracts, in-fighting, egos, and artists who yearn for solo success, but rather circumstances that were out of their control. 

In 1999, Freaky Tah was shot execution style in the back of the head at a party. It was a case of mistaken identity, said the shooter, Kelvin Jones, who was convicted of 2nd degree murder. He had mistaken Tah for someone that had killed his brother. 

The Lost Boyz went through a grieving period where everything they were doing stopped being fun. At the same time, they were suffering under bad management that wasnt booking shows like they were accustomed to. By the time DJ Spigg was locked up on a 37-year federal bid for bank robbery, the group had disbanded.  

We caught up with Pretty Lou in advance of tonights airing to give us an insiders view of The Lost Boyz, who they were and what they accomplished in such a short period of time.

Lost Boyz – Lifestyles Of The Rich And Shameless

Music video by Lost Boyz performing Lifestyles Of The Rich And Shameless. (C) 1996 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

***

The Shadow League: I didnt know that Gil Scott Heron was close to Mr. Cheeks family?

Pretty Lou: Gil Scott Heron was married to his aunt Pat. When we were teenagers, we would go see him perform at the Blue Note in NY. We used to go backstage. Me and Cheeks were friends since we were 10 years old

TSL: Were you all influenced by Gils storytelling style?

PL: Yeah, he was the bomb storyteller. And I met my share of famous people through my grandfather too. My grandfather was Thurman Roots, he was a gospel artist. He had a radio show in NY. He was the first person to do a gospel show at the Apollo that actually generated cash. 

Where my grandparents lived in Queens, there were famous people in Addisleigh Park, St. Albans. James Brown lived on Linden Boulevard. Artist Brook Benton, a soul singer, was my grandfather and grandmothers good friend. 

Lost Boyz – Music Makes Me High (1996)

Legal Drug Money is the debut album from Hip Hop group Lost Boyz, featuring members Mr. Cheeks, Freaky Tah, DJ Spigg Nice and Pretty Lou. The album featured 5 major hits “Renee”, “Music Makes Me High”, “Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz & Benz”, “Get Up” and “Lifestyles Of The Rich & Shameless”.

TSL: You said your aunt was one of your musical influences? Watching Soul Train with her and listening to music…

PL: Yeah, she would sing, play music. She would be like, Hey listen to this song, listen to the words. I love music because of her. Growing up in my mothers house and in my fathers house, it was music on both sides. Now, my son has a record deal. Lou Got Cash. He has a deal with Republic Records. 

TSL: All four of the Lost Boyz went to school together, right?

PL: Yeah, we went to John Adams High School. We went to high school with Onyx. We used to crack jokes and be rhyming with them. Ja Rule is a little younger than us, but he went to the same high school too. We knew Ja from the streets, Coliseum and all of that. Irv Gotti, we all used to hang out on Jamaica Ave in front of the Coliseum, before any of these cats got famous. We used to hang with Large Professor. Large Professor was our boy before music. People didnt realize how deep this whole circle that we got is. 

TSL: I remember when Renee came out. That was everybodys favorite.

PL: Everybodys favorite. For people that dont know that I was a member of the Lost Boyz, when I say Lost Boyz, they say, Oh you mean like Renee. 

lost boyz-renee

musoc video

TSL: I didnt realize the story was based on a real person.

PL: Yeah, the girls name is Ebony and it was Christmas of 1990. She lived in South Jamaica Houses, 40 projects. She was going to the pay phone to call a cab because they were going to the movies that night. Dudes came through shooting and shot her. Back then you thought there was like a mob feel in NY for dudes, you never considered your lady getting killed. Cheeks is an ill storyteller. Always been an ill storyteller, just a writer. I watched this cat write rhymes on a brown paper bag one time. He would find any kind of paper to write rhymes on. 

TSL: You guys also appeared in a DC Comics book.

PL: We were the Lost Boyz in the Static Shock comics. This was when they first brought Static out. Before the cartoon it was a comic book.

TSL: How did you guys get put on?

PL: We started making tapes in Spiggs house and it just went on from there. A couple of starts and stops. Cheeks moved to Atlanta and met the right people, and he met Puffy and Tim Dawg.

Tim and Puff were working for Uptown at the time and this is right before Puff had left to start Bad Boy. Biggie was gonna be the first thing on Uptown at first. Puff had left to start Bad Boy. Tim put us on. 

Lost Boyz – Get Up (1996)

Legal Drug Money is the debut album from Hip Hop group Lost Boyz, featuring members Mr. Cheeks, Freaky Tah, DJ Spigg Nice and Pretty Lou. The album featured 5 major hits “Renee”, “Music Makes Me High”, “Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz & Benz”, “Get Up” and “Lifestyles Of The Rich & Shameless”.

TSL: You guys really stayed grounded in the neighborhood. Took kids shopping if they had good report cards

PL: Yeah, we would pull the grill out right on the corner of Rockaway Boulevard, there were some people we knew owned this store. Wed be out there drinking Guinness and cooking up hot dogs and hamburgers. Any day you could see Freaky Tah riding down the street on a freaking pedal bike with a bunch of kids riding around with him. 

I guess thats what people loved about us the most, our accessibility. You didnt see a bunch of big dudes around us trying to keep people away. It wasnt none of that. We just are who we are. We were doing that and going home to the gold records. 

TSL: After Freaky Tah was killed, was that the beginning of the end?

PL: It was more like it stopped being fun, so it was like Im gonna go over here. I was traveling around and doing me. We were not doing shows because of bad management. It was a lot of things coming at us at one time. 

I wouldnt change the experience for anything because like I said, I got to live my dream with my best friend. I got to see the world with my best friend. We dreamt about it and we did it. 

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