In the first episode, viewers were taken back on Wednesday night (Aug.12) to the time before the Ruff Ryders became the force in the Hip-Hop game we know them as now. We are introduced to South Bronx natives Joaquin “Waah” Dean and Darin “Dee” Dean and Chivon Dean. The episode details their young upbringing as the children of a devout Muslim father and mother.
Before their mother and father eventually split, Waah details how his dad instilled the entrepreneurial spirit in him. Wah’s dad had his own businesses, and to give him a taste of what it’s like to make some money told him to sell some fish and shrimp from his store. The Dean children would eventually be split up due to their parents divorcing following their father’s businesses burning down. The oldest of the six children staying together and bouncing around first staying in Philly with their grandmother until she died and eventually ending up back in Harlem.
Dee and Wah, despite a strict upbringing due to their father’s involvement with the Nation of Islam, would eventually resort to hustling selling drugs. Push drugs eventually led to both of them due time in juvenile correctional facilities. Wah even details an attempt on his life that he survived that also served as a wake-up call. Wah also claims to still have the bullet lodged inside of him. Wanting to get off the streets, Wah turned to music after he saw local cats he knew Heavy D and Puff Daddy climbing through the ranks of the music game and sporting riding around in Bentleys. A chance encounter with the late Heavy D led to Wah getting the ambition he needed, and he would learn about a hungry young DMX.
This is pretty much a full-circle moment for the Wah and Dean, who both have roots in the Hip-Hop game because they lived directly above DJ Kool Herc, who is credited with creating the genre of music. The two young brothers at the time would help carry crates to Herc’s car so he could perform his sets in the park.
When Wah for meets X, the rapper born Earl Simmons was skeptical about the ambitious Wah’s intentions and to see if he was legit tells, Wah, to come back at a later time and knock on his window. Wah followed his instructions, and X was down with him ever since.
Now with DMX on-board, we learn that the Hip-Hop game wasn’t an instant success for the rapper. We also learn about his abusive relationship with his mother and how he got into the music game after she dumped him at a boy’s home, where he developed his love for Hip-Hop. X details his “accidental” introduction to crack cocaine at the age of 14 by another rapper named Ready Ron that led to his battles with the substance. Ready Ron denies X’s story still to this day, but X does credit him for pushing him to keep rapping, and the rest is history.
From there, it was an uphill climb for the rapper who was also good at robbing people. His first single,” Born Loser,” bombed, it was so bad, in fact, they enlisted a young Irv Gotti at the time to help him out. Irv and X crafted a song titled “Make A Move,” which would later live on his And There Was X album. It also flopped hard, unfortunately. The episode closes with a chance encounter with Wendy Williams, who we learn chucked DMX’s tape of out her car window after it was handed to her. But we know that won’t stop X, or the Ruff Ryders, it only made them hungrier.
Viewers had plenty of reactions to the revelations they were learning about the Ruff Ryders’ founders and DMX. You can peep them all in the gallery below.
Photo: Matthew Eisman / Getty