Wednesday, September 12, 2012

DMX


"Ruff Ryders!!!!!" "Where my dogs at??!!!" Those are two familiar quotes from one Mr. Earl Simmons, better known to the world as DMX. This man took the hip hop world by storm in 1998, bringing a "hard edge" back to the game that had been sorely missing for quite some time at that point (and it's missing today too). Aggressive yet firm. Honest and introspective (when he wants to be). Charismatic and rugged. He had his traits, and those traits (even the ones I didn't mention) have always been reflected in his music.




A hell of a debut right here, one of the best albums of 1998. The intro on this album is one of the best ever, and it completely sets the tone for the rest of the album. X essentially had something for everyone on this album, whether it was hard, slamming tracks to make you rowdy ("Get At Me Dog" & "Stop Being Greedy"), the joint for the ladies ("How's It Goin Down"), storytelling (the apply titled "Crime Story"),  introspective ("The Convo"). You got it all with this album. This album also has the strongest nostalgic vibe with me as far as his albums go.

Rating- 5 stars

5 favorite songs- Get At Me Dog, Stop Being Greedy, N***** Done Started Something, Look Thru My Eyes, & Let Me Fly



X became the second artist in hip hop history (after 2Pac) to successfully release two albums in the same year. This was clearly no sophomore jinx, as X continued to grow as an artist with this release. It's not on the level of his debut, but it's still excellent, and it's also his most underrated album. It's forgotten a little because it was released the same year as his debut.

Rating- 4.5 stars

5 favorite songs- No Love For Me, Heat, Ready To Meet Him, Blackout, & Bring Your Whole Crew



I remember buying this album the week after it came out, and although I liked it a lot at the time, time has not been kind to this album (and this is his most successful album from a sales standpoint), and "Party Up", one of his most successful singles, has not aged well in my opinion. He changed things up a little on this album, and while it was commercially successful, critically not so much so. Decent, but nothing special.

Rating- probably 3.5 stars, which may be generous

5 favorite songs- What's My Name, One More Road To Cross, Angel, The Professional, & D-X-L (Hard White)



I copped this one when it was first released, and this one is 3rd place when it comes to strong nostalgic vibes (behind the first and second albums of course). I remember when he was on Rap City promoting this album. Big Tigger asked him which of his previous albums does "Great Depression" remind him of, and X pointed to his debut, and I kind of shook my head and laughed at that assertion, because it's NOWHERE NEAR anything like "It's Dark And Hell Is Hot", and X should've known that (lol). Whenever this album was mentioned at the time, I always heard "you damn right it's depressing". While I personally wouldn't go that far, it's a decent album and I like it a little more than "And Then There Was X", as X was more introspective this time around. It was also clear his career was on a downswing beginning with this album.

Rating- 3-3.5 stars

5 favorite songs- A Minute For Your Son, Who We Be, We Right Here, When I'm Nothing, & School Street



Hip hop had drastically changed between this release and his previous one. It also took me a minute before it grew on me, because when I first listened to it I was not impressed. I liked it more on the second listen. It was a small return to form, but his glory days were long behind him at this point.

Rating- 4 stars

5 favorite songs- Where The Hood At, Shot Down, Dogs Out, X Gon Give It To Ya, & Thank You



Well, this may very well be X's worst album, although it does have a few bangers. I haven't played it in quite some time and it *may be* due for a revisit, but not any time soon, lol.

Rating- 2.5-3 stars

Favorite songs- Lord Give Me A Sign, We In Here, and I Run S***




And with the inclusion of this cover of his new album, which was released yesterday. I feel it's going to be more of the same, and looking at how hip hop is now, I don't think many people are even checking for this, and that includes fans of his previous works. You definitely can't deny the impact he had on hip hop during his time on top. Some of his songs still receive radio play today, which is a good thing. He brought a certain energy to hip hop in 1998 that we'll probably never see again, and with that being said, "where my dogs AT??!!!"



UPDATE (as of 9/11/12):

Just got finished listening to DMX's new album "Undisputed" via Spotify. Wow, smh+lol. First things first, I'm not going to be buying this one (CD, MP3, etc). I didn't have high expectations going into the album, but listening to it, there's not one song on the album that I can say "warrants a repeat". It got off to a good start with the first song, then it was downhill from there. There's A LOT of R&B influence (mostly the hooks) on this album, which is sort of rare for an X album, the production is largely forgettable, he has 3-4 tracks for the females, and X on the mic didn't impress me at all. Basically all of the things that made DMX enjoyable in the first place are largely absent from this album. So, imo, slight recommendation to avoid this album and it's clearly the worst in his discography, and yep, that means worst than "Year of the Dog Again". I'll be buying something better instead (#MastaAce).

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