Sadly, there is a generation of Hip-Hop fans that only know DMX for dissing Drake in an interview, and then Drake sampling “What’s Goin Down” for “U Wit Me?”
Believe it or not, DMX was once the biggest star in Hip-Hop. That popularity is credited largely to his debut 1998 album It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot. Yes. DMX was bigger than Jay Z who hadn’t released his Hard Knock Life album yet. He was bigger than Snoop Dogg in that he was still reeling from Death Row’s dismantling and trying to find himself again on Master P‘s No Limit Records. His rough baldhead exterior and ability to apply emotion in his raps reminded people of 2 Pac who passed away two years prior. His ability to make commerical hits but still keep the streets satisfied was a talent that hadn’t been seen since The Notorious B.I.G. who was killed a year prior. With Hip-Hop still licking it’s wounds from losing two of it’s biggest stars Dark Man X emerged as an artist that people from all coasts could love and celebrate.
DMX [and Def Jam] would capitalize on this popularity and strike lightning twice in one year when they released X’s sophomore album Blood Of My Blood, Flesh Of My Flesh. The album would make history giving DMX two #1 Billboard albums in one year. That feat wouldn’t be accomplished in Hip-Hop again until when Future did it when he released DS2 and EVOL within 12 months of each other.
While the singles from It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot still pop up on Pandora and Classic Hip-Hop radio, there are some gems on the album that may get forgotten if not looked for, here are some of the highlights.