DMX is arguably one of the greatest rappers ever and is on my personal list of Top 5 Greatest rappers. His ability to allow listeners into his darkest moments, while showcasing the gritty failures and missteps that may have occurred along the path of his life makes him one of the most open Rap artist ever in terms of granting listeners the ability to gain access into their darkest and most personal moments(2Pac, Drake, Eminem and Biggie). Throughout his releases, he has somehow been able to balance his “gangster” persona while exploring his spirituality and his relationship with God. His ability to show his duality as an artist and transition from lyrics like “Don’t come at me with no bullshit, use caution/ Cause when I wet shit, I dead shit, like abortions/ For bigger portions of extortion and racketeering/ Got Niggas fearing, fuck what you heard, it’s what you hearing/ How much darker must is get? How much harder must it hit?/ See if your hardest niggas flip, when I start a bunch of shit/” to “I come to you hungry and tired, you give me food and let me sleep/ I come to you tired, you give me strength and that’s deep/ You call me a sheep and lead me to green pastures, only asking that I keep focus in between the chapters/ You give me the word and only ask that I interpret, and give me the eyes that I may recognize the serpent/” on the same album has always both shocked and impressed me. It’s very seldom that we are introduced to an artist, regardless of genre, that allows that much of their personal challenges into their music. Although sometimes similar in content, his albums always allowed listeners to go through the chambers of his mind and explore the things that were important to him, but more importantly, the things that made him the person he is & the rapper that would go on to influence Hip-Hop and the culture surrounding it.
Arguably one of the greatest debut album of a Rap artist EVER,It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot showcases the street life that was a crucial part of X and his persona, mixed with the spirituality of him embarking on his religious journey. After short dialogue and the start of the beat, the listener is quickly able to hear the extent of his lyrical ability and the different makings of his personality. A gritty song over a hard knocking beat, Introfeatures X screaming, shouting & even incorporating the famous barking that he’s known for while detailing the things he’ll do if provoked.
From crafting one of the toughest and most talented Hip-Hop collectives in the Rough Ryders, to giving us countless anthems (Ruff Ryders’ Anthem, Party Up, Money, Power, Respect, X Gon’ Give It To Ya, etc.), DMX is and should always be referred to as one of the greatest and most influential Hip-Hop artist to ever ascend.