Discography Check: DMX

By @TrueGodImmortal 

There are some artists that capture the audience and never lose them. There are some artists who have a short reign on top, but it's monstrous and changes the game forever. DMX is one of those artists who changed the game forever and through his consistent flow of material in the late 90s, he earned his standing as a legend. As the 2000s continued, X took a small fall, but he managed to maintain until his demons caught up to him and he would end up serving a lot of time in prison off and on, slowing down any momentum he could have regained. Regardless, X is remembered as one of the best of the 90s, but how does his entire catalog hold up? Let's take a look at DMX and his discography, shall we?

*It's Dark and Hell Is Hot (1998)

-Of course, this is where we have to start. The album that set it all off is still his best overall album. X was on another level here as his horrorcore yet hood centered rhymes captivated audiences and the darker street theme that he provided was a departure from the shiny upbeat sounds that were dominating hip hop at the time. It's amazing to revisit this album because production wise, it doesn't hold up as strongly, but the intensity from X is still unmatched. Songs like "Ruff Ryders Anthem", "Get At Me Dog", "Damien", and "Stop Being Greedy" showed why X is the energy god of hip hop and he even smoothed it out on tracks like "How's It Goin Down", which is the smoothest track we had heard in his catalog. This album is a hip hop classic and definitely X's best moment.

*Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood (1998)

-Another album that followed only a few months after his debut, "Flesh Of My Flesh...." is not that far below his first album in terms of quality. There's a debate that it could possibly be better, but I'm still partial to the debut. However, this album saw X go darker and darker lyrically and subject matter wise, and it just happened to work well. Some of his most infamous yet dastardly lines are on this album, and songs like "No Love 4 Me", "Slippin", "We Don't Give A Fuck", and "Blackout" showcase that X was most definitely in a dark place at the time that he made this album. X has always showcased his pain in his music and we've benefited from that as listeners and this album might be the best example of it, as it seems and feels a bit more personal than his debut. While I wouldn't exactly call this album a classic, it is very close to being one and the 2nd best album in X's catalog.

*And Then There Was X (1999)

-The third album from X is an interesting project. When I first heard the album, I was a bit surprised. It seemed more like an album of soul searching rather than the dark aggressive albums we were used to. Sure, the album had the dark elements, but X seemed like a man on a mission to find a form of salvation. From opening songs like "One More Road To Cross" to a track like "Fame", X was noticeably a bit more aware in his lyrics about his journey and path, making this album enjoyable. I didn't appreciate the album as much when I was younger, but on the revisit of the album, I noticed that this is likely the most cohesive effort from X minus a few lackluster moments and songs. While I wasn't the biggest fan of "Party Up" then and I'm still not, it's such a monumental song in X's career that you have to respect. "What's My Name" is your standard X single, but the energy is out of this world. No surprise, my favorite song is the Sisqo assisted hit "What These Bitches Want", as it is the most easy to listen to, but very relatable to most men in general. X made an anthem for men at this point, but the song was so infectious that even women love it. Overall, this album is probably his 3rd best, but if you said it was his second best, I couldn't fault you either.

*The Great Depression (2001)

-I wanted to love this album when it first dropped, but something seemed off to me about it when I first heard it. Outside of being in the neighborhood when X filmed one of his videos for this album, I don't have fond memories of this era of X. He was moving into the film industry with roles in Romeo Must Die and Exit Wounds, and maybe that affected the music. Still, not all hope was lost as he managed to make some solid tracks like "We Right Here", the anthem "Who We Be", and the Just Blaze produced "I'ma Bang". However, there's something missing from this album and it might be in the production, because X doesn't lack lyrically in the least bit, and the songs just tend to fall flat when the production isn't strong. Overall, not a bad album, but just lacking something extra to take it over the hump.

*Cradle 2 The Grave Soundtrack (2003)

-I decided to include this soundtrack because it's really driven by X. Unlike the Exit Wounds soundtrack, which seemed to be a bit more "various artists" driven, this one had X on it multiple times. The single "X Gon Give It To Ya" originated here, and who could forget the solid collab between X, Eminem, and Obie Trice titled "Go To Sleep". Outside of those X songs, the soundtrack had a solid G-Unit track ("Follow Me Gangster"), the Clipse provided us with something dope ("I'm Serious"), and even Drag-On got some love on this project ("Fireman"). Though this isn't an official DMX album, the soundtrack itself feels like a compilation spearheaded by X, earning its spot on the discography.

*Grand Champ (2003)

-I remember thinking this album was great when it first dropped, and I still hold it in slightly high regard now. It was X and his comeback album, but was also seen as his retirement album, which we know never happens. However, I really enjoyed this particular album, and would consider it the 4th best project in X's catalog, as the production here is mostly top notch. The only issue is that the album is way too long, and would benefit from some of the songs being cut. 23 to 24 songs for a X album is far too long, and if he trimmed this down to around 13 or 14 songs, it might be higher on the list of his albums. Still, songs like "My Life", "Dogs Out", "Shot Down" with 50 Cent and Styles P, the single "Get It On The Floor", and Cam'ron assisted "We Go Hard" helped to round out the album, making it one of the more well rounded efforts from X and probably his most versatile album, though that versatility is still a bit limited due to X being X. Regardless, Grand Champ is a solid project that just needed to be trimmed down some.

*Year Of The Dog.... Again (2006)

-I was disappointed by this album. I remember thinking this album wouldn't live up to any hype and it didn't. Blame it on X not having Def Jam anymore to really back him, or maybe X just got to a place where he really became complacent, but regardless, this album just wasn't it. The single "We In Here" was meant to remind you of the X who could make anthems at will, but I just wasn't impressed. The soul searching "Lord Give Me A Sign" wasn't terrible, but the generic Scott Storch production hurts the song in a major way. The few songs that I enjoy here are "Life Be My Song", "It's Personal", and "Baby Motha", but otherwise this album is just a case of complacency and missing the mark.

*The Weigh In (2012)

-I didn't really get the chance to listen to this when it first dropped and I see why now. His previous album was lackluster, but this project is absolutely terrible. Perhaps the demons he faced overtook him and caused him to make an album like this, but whatever the case may be, this project is just all around bad. X is lyrically sloppy, the beats here are beyond generic, and the only songs I can tolerate are the hilarious Tyrese and Snoop Dogg assisted tracks "That's My Baby" and "Shit Don't Change", respectively. The rest of this project just misses on a huge level and makes you wish X just stayed away from music. This is easily the worst release he has in his catalog.

*Undisputed (2012)

-I can't lie. After The Weigh In, I was certain that X couldn't do it again and couldn't create a decent project. I was slightly wrong. Undisputed isn't as good as his first three albums, but it certainly wasn't as bad as his two prior projects and that's something to celebrate. X is someone who works tirelessly on music and he made some good choices here musically with the tracks he placed on this album. There's tracks like "Have You Eva", "I Got Your Back", "Y'all Don't Really Know", and "Cold World" that remind you of the old X and that's what you want at this point. This album serves as a good mix between nostalgic X and the X of today, where there's not much of a difference, but there is some. X manages to make a pretty decent album here and if that was his final effort, he went out on a good note versus what he put out prior.

DMX isn't a legend based on his overall discography, because the catalog itself is middle of the road. X is a legend because of what he did and what he accomplished in this industry and game, and for being one of the most genuine rappers to ever enter the genre. For that, we'll always love X.



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