Retrospective: DMX's It's Dark and Hell Is Hot & Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood

*It's Dark and Hell Is Hot 

1. Intro
2. Ruff Ryders Anthem
3. Fuckin' With D
4. The Storm(Skit)
5. Look In My Eyes
6. Get At Me Dog
7. Let Me Fly
8. X-Is Coming
9. Damien
10. How's It Goin Down
11. Mickey(Skit)
12. Crime Story
13. Stop Being Greedy
14. ATF
15. For My Dogs
16. I Can Feel It
17. Prayer
18. The Convo(Skit)
19. Niggas Done Started Something



Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood

1. My Niggas
2. Bring Your Whole Crew
3. Pac Man
4. Ain't No Way
5. We Don't Give A Fuck
6. Keep Your Shit The Hardest
7. Coming From
8. It's All Good
9. The Omen(Damien II)
10. Slippin
11. No Love 4 Me
12. Dogs 4 Life
13. Blackout
14. Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood
15. Heat
16. Ready To Meet Him

In 1998, there was one man who was seemingly on top of the game and changing the industry. That man was DMX. The Yonkers MC came into the game with a vengeance and took it over along with his Ruff Ryders collective. His first two albums were both released in 1998 and hit no. 1, selling a combined 10.5 million copies overall. We take time today to reflect on these albums and the impact they had and most importantly, the music.

It's Dark & Hell Is Hot, and Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood. Two great albums by DMX. They were both great commercially, selling a combined estimated 10 million copies. Both albums displayed a hungry DMX with dark storytelling, good production, and of course, outstanding rhyming. Tracks like "Stop Being Greedy", "Ruff Ryders Anthem", "Fuckin' Wit' D", & "Damien" are all outstanding songs on It's Dark & Hell Is Hot. On Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, "Slippin" was the best song. Yes, DMX's second album was a little bit rushed, and lacked good production like his 1st album, but it was still a hungry DMX. DMX's 1st album is arguably top 15 of all time. There is no doubt these 2 albums are some of the best in the 90's. It was added to the great line of rap albums in 1998, along with Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are BlackStar, Aquemini, Vol. 2: Hard Knock Life, and Capital Punishment.

The first two DMX albums are two of the greatest late-90s rap albums. It's like he was on this impeccable streak. And everything just...meshed. There's nothing else I can really say, other than both albums had quite an impact on who I am as an artist. I mean, he was angry and vicious but still spiritual. He was lyrical and a teacher without being preachy about his lyricism or his teachings. He harmonized and had a bit of a gangsta gospel appeal to his singing. He was practically the perfection of hip-hop in a lot of ways. And that's something I've tried to pay homage to in my music. Granted, I don't have the growl--no one does, let's be for real--but DMX's influence can be felt through an entire generation of artists...even if they don't flat out know the lyrics to "Ruff Ryders Anthem" (even though they should).

The importance of DMX's first two albums in hip hop cannot go ignored. At a time when there were shiny suits, pop song samples, and a very jiggy era, DMX represented the streets and the hardcore rhymers in a manner that hadn't been appreciated since the arrival of Wu Tang and Onyx. X represented the gritty side of the street, not the shiny, Mafia style rap that had begun to take over the NY rap scene. He represented the core of the streets, the darker side of the world where robbery was a must, wearing the same clothes for days was normal and life wasn't all champagne and fresh linen. With his first album, X told a story in many ways. The music eerily captivated the listeners' ears as he displayed his aggressive rhyme ability, as well as knack for storytelling. Songs like "Damien", "How's It Going Down", "Crime Story", and "ATF" engaged the listener to bring you right there to the scene as it occurred. One of the things that people forget about X is that he truly was a storyteller in his music. That along with one of the dopest posse tracks "Niggaz Done Started Something", leaves no doubt that X's first album is a certified classic.

His second album wasn't necessarily appreciated as much as the first, but it's almost better in some ways than his first. On Flesh of My Flesh, X gave us even more anthems, much more aggression, and experimented a bit musically in his own way(Marilyn Manson making an appearance???). He brought us another dope posse track in "Blackout" with Jigga and The Lox, as well as a song that embodies the struggle in "Slippin". X's second album dragged more demons out of his soul and while there wasn't much storytelling in this one, it was certainly everything you would want from a DMX album: aggression, pain, anthems, honesty, desperation and struggle. The year 1998 was a great one in hip hop, one of the best ever. The man who ran that year? None other than DMX.

What do you guys think about X's first two albums? Post your opinions below in the comments.



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