DMX’s New Album Is Coming This Summer & It’s Filled With Superstars
Last Friday (April 9), family, friends, and millions of Hip-Hop fans mourned the loss of DMX. The 50-year-old rapper born Earl Simmons passed away at age 50. For the previous week, X had been on life support in White Plains, New York hospital, following a cardiac arrest.
Decades into a music career, DMX was a Hip-Hop superstar. His first five albums all topped the charts. The Yonkers, New Yorker created lanes and opportunities for Swizz Beatz, The LOX, Eve, and other Ruff Ryders Entertainment family members. Moreover, X helped resurrect Def Jam Records to a powerhouse in music amid the late 1990s; his 1998 included two #1 albums approximately seven months apart. Dark Man X worked hard, and he stayed humble—immersing himself with people who struggled as he had and maintaining grim surroundings in the name of staying raw and making authentic art.
Swizz Beatz Premieres A Song Featuring DMX, JAY-Z, Nas & Jadakiss (Video)
On this week’s episode of What’s The Headline, Ambrosia For Heads has a 90-minute tribute to Earl Simmons. We detail his life, including elements that are not often discussed, including his early freestyle appearances on Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito’s radio show, his coming of age, and some of the songs that defined his career. The conversation (embedded as video and audio below, with time-stamps) draws from hours of research covering an artist that meant so much to Hip-Hop, especially among AFH‘s readers.
Like fellow fallen Hip-Hop legends Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, there will be DMX music releasing following his death. Tragically, X was amid a return to the spotlight that included a 2020 Verzuz battle with Snoop Dogg and a recent reunion with Def Jam Records. During X’s appearance on People’s Party With Talib Kweli, he laid out some details. “This [next album], I have more features. [There are] more artists than I’ve ever had on any of my albums. I gotta say: Swizz did his thing; I love him to death, man. I appreciate the confidence that he had in [and] with me and the dedication that he’s given to this project. It’s a blessing to have people that love you and f*ck with you, for real.”
The LOX Flaunt Their Experience On A New Album Featuring DMX & Griselda
X elaborated that he worked in Snoop Dogg’s Greater Los Angeles recording compound, where they had done Verzuz in 2020. “I think [Dr.] Dre’s supposed to do a couple joints,” he said at a time when the mogul’s health was compromised. “We had Snoop [appear on] a joint, we got Usher on a joint,” he began, before adding that The LOX, Nas, Scarface, U2’s Bono, Alicia Keys, Lil Wayne were in the guest cast. “This album is a different joint, man. I’m super excited. I’m just glad that I was given the opportunity.” X added, “I went to Nashville first, to start the album,” reportedly refusing Def Jam’s suggestion to record in Los Angeles. “I decided to humble myself. I’m gonna act like I’m a new artist and accept the advice, ’cause you know what? I already got a few songs done; it can’t hurt.” In sunny California, X found more guests. “You can’t take three or four steps without tripping over talent. [Laughs] There were so many opportunities, so many people there to make it easy.” In a second Drink Champs guest appearance earlier this year, X added Griselda and slain Brooklyn rapper Pop Smoke to the list. Of Pop, X said that the two did not meet before the younger MC’s 2020 passing. Swizz has long spoken of a collaboration he debuted in early 2017, featuring DMX, JAY-Z, Nas, and Jadakiss. Previously, Swizz said X had reunited with Kanye West for beats.
Following April 9, DMX’s longtime mentor, Darrin “Dee” Dean, and Craig Brodhead of his management team echoed the sentiments. “The album is classic,” Brodhead told FOX 5’s Lisa Evers. He added that DMX and Dee took an RV from New York to Nashville, Tennessee, to work at the onset of COVID-19 and its impending lock-down. The unit remained in the Music City for months. “We did all the albums [together], but this [next] album is special,” said Dean, one of the Ruff Ryders founders who had been X’s backer since the early 1990s. “You’ve probably never heard [anything like this from DMX]. This is probably one of his great albums—one of the best; it’s a classic for sure.” AllHipHop reports that the X album is completed and will be arriving this summer. They added that DMX was planning a fatherhood-based reality series, where he was reconnecting with his kids and introducing children to each other. An HBO documentary was reportedly also filmed before X’s passing.
DMX Toasts To His Comeback Campaign In A Video With Rick Ross & Swizz Beatz
Here Is A Rundown of the Discussion:
1:02 The times we met DMX and stood in his presence
14:30 Why DMX wanted to be a fireman when he was growing up
16:05 The life lessons DMX learned from dogs
21:15 DMX’s start in Hip-Hop was as a beatboxer, not a rapper
22:35 DMX toiled for nearly 10 years before he got his big break
30:45 DMX’s jaw was wired shut when he auditioned for Def Jam
32:06 Puff Daddy passed on signing DMX to Bad Boy Records
33:35 Irv Gotti’s impact on DMX’s career
36:46 DMX makes history with his first 2 albums
38:35 DMX made Flesh of my Flesh, Blood of My Blood in 30 days for a million dollar bet
41:05 Why DMX punched Def Jam’s Chris Lighty in the face
43:07 DMX solidified Def Jam’s place in music before its sale
45:55 DMX did not want to do “Ruff Ryders Anthem”
49:33 Why DMX, JAY-Z and Ja Rule’s Murder Inc. album did not happen
58:20 The brotherhood between Swizz Beatz and DMX
1:03:05 Standout songs from DMX
1:08:25 DMX’s sonic connection to EPMD
1:13:20 DMX the movie star
1:15:51 The cypher between DMX, Big Pun, Canibus, John Forté, Mic Geronimo and Mos Def
1:17:49 DMX tore down the stage at Woodstock ’99
1:20:19 DMX gives a fan the experience of a lifetime for her first concert
1:21:58 DMX Verzuz Snoop gave X his flowers when he was still with us
1:24:55 DMX’s heart stopped for 4 minutes in 2016
1:25:25 Spiritual quotes from DMX
1:27:03 The list of artists DMX says will be on his upcoming album
Ambrosia For Heads readers can catch regular discussions about the culture on our What’s The Headline podcast. Additionally, What’s The Headline has recent interviews with Pharoahe Monch, Prince Paul & Don Newkirk, Statik Selektah, Lyric Jones, The LOX, MC Eiht, Mobb Deep’s Havoc, Duckwrth, photographer T. Eric Monroe, and Lord Finesse. All episodes of the show are available wherever you stream your pods.
#BonusBeat: Ambrosia For Heads’ official playlist, featuring a collaboration between The LOX and DMX as well as new music from Vic Mensa, Alchemist & Armand Hammer, Pink Siifu & Fly Anakin, Phife Dawg, Redman, JAY-Z, Nipsey Hussle, Spillage Village, Dom Kennedy, Statik Selektah, Smino, Saba, AZ, Masego, J.I.D., Rapsody, Tobe Nwigwe, Royce 5’9, Black Thought, Busta Rhymes, Hit-Boy, Nana, Lyric Jones, Nas, Oddisee, Benny The Butcher, 2 Chainz, REASON, Jack Harlow, and others.