Sunday, December 6, 2015

All-Time Rap Artists #20: DMX


The Yonkers, New York rapper comes in at the #20 spot with his gruff style of rap.  DMX, when he first established himself on the national scene, took everyone by storm.  Whether it was rhyming his responses during interviews, growling and barking like a dog on tracks (which became a trademark), or getting the party going, DMX was the talk of the town in the late 90s.

DMX had been making music since the early 1990s, but was having a problem gaining traction and exposure.  Eventually, he landed on a few noticeable tracks with the likes of Jay-Z, Mic Geronimo, and Ja Rule, and the L.L. Cool J smash hit, 4, 3, 2, 1, before his debut album was released.  These features built his reputation and anticipation for his debut.

Once signed to Def Jam Records 1998, DMX released the lead single, Get At Me Dog, for his debut album, It's Dark and Hell Is Hot.  It immediately became a smash hit, and the album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart, eventually selling over 5 million copies.  Other notable singles include, Ruff Ryders Anthem, How It's Going Down, and Stop Being Greedy.  Later that same year, DMX released Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, again debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200, and selling over 4 million copies.  Notable singles include, Slippin', Keep Your Shit The Hardest, and Ready to Meet Him.

DMX's ruff lyrical delivery set him apart from the rest of the industry.  His in your face, buss your head style was very much sought after for guest features and motivational purposes.  Party Up and Who We Be are Grammy, MTV, and AMA nominated songs that are prime examples of X getting the listeners hype.  His ability to deep deep into his soul and pour out his spiritual side is another aspect of his persona that separates him from other artists.  His alter ego, Damien, is another character his personality was allowed to be put on wax so we all could hear him battle and suppress the evil within himself.  With him constantly battling his personal demons, X always finds time to pray on his albums, not just for himself, but for everyone who's dealing with personal issues.

Over the years, DMX release 5 consecutive #1 albums, making history for an artist to release that many consecutive albums in a row.  He maintained an underground position, while eating from the success of gaining mainstream acceptance.  He's even appeared as one of the leads in the hip-hop/gangster film classic, Belly; and other notable films such as Never Die Alone with David Arquette, Cradle 2 The Grave with Jet Li, and Romeo Must Die with Jet Li and the late R&B songstress, Aaliyah.

With DMX's party songs being his bread and butter; most of his single releases where anthems and club songs that maintained heavy radio rotation.  But his personal issues continued to hold him back and his projects began to slack.  He continues to do stints in and out of jail which prevent him from releasing solid projects.

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