Swizz Beatz Reveals DMX Did Not Want To Do “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” (Video)
“Stop. Drop. Shut ’em down, open up shop.” As Heads know, those words open “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” one of the biggest Hip-Hop anthems of all-time. However, the song almost didn’t happen. As part of the new BET series Inside The Label, Swizz Beatz detailed the making of the song for DMX, one that remains a classic to this day.
In speaking about the song that would become his first ever for the Ruff Ryders crew, Swizz talked about the competitive spirit that existed among the stable of producers responsible for the RR sound “When you walked into Powerhouse Studio in Yonkers, you better have your A-game, or you’re getting sent up out of there. It was always competitive over there. Who’s better than who? That’s probably the reason why me and [producer Dame] Grease never got along.”
Although Swizz was the nephew of Ruff Ryders founder Joaquin “Waah” Dean, it was no walk in the park for the 19-year old producer when he first joined the camp. Waah said of his nephew, “His beats used to come. We used to turn ’em down. ‘Nah. We didn’t like those, man. You gotta do better.’ We was giving him tough love.” Part of Swizz’s challenge was that he did not want to use samples, going against the grain of the dominant sound in Hip-Hop at the time. “Swizz was just feeling some kind of way about the sampling thing. ‘I’m not gonna do samples no more. I’m gonna create my music from scratch.’ And, he started doing everything live,” Waah said of his nephew.
In one of the most surprising revelations in the clip, Swizz discusses the resistance he got from DMX about “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem.” “The anthem was one of the songs DMX didn’t want,” Swizz said of X. “He was like ‘this is a Rock & Roll song. What is this?’ He didn’t really understand the sonics of that song.” Swizz goes on to reveal that the only reason DMX made the song was because of a lost bet.