It's been twenty-three years since DMX released his debut album It's Dark And Hell Is Hot, a project widely considered to be among hip-hop's greatest of all time. While there's certainly much to unpack on a lyrical and thematic level, it feels appropriate to pull back and simply marvel at how furiously X came out swinging on "Intro." In fact, it might even be fair to say that DMX raised the bar for intros across the board, culminating in one of the hardest songs of his catalog -- and that's saying something.
Over a menacing gothic banger from Irv Gotti and Lil Rob, DMX takes his time in getting started, relishing in the rising tension. "One two one two, come through, run through," he raps, one of many schemes lining his violent onslaught. "Gun who, oh you don't know what the gun do?" As the song progresses, X makes it abundantly clear that his aggression is unmatched, depicting himself as one to be feared. "You think a lot of 'em's tough? That's just a front," he taunts. "When I hit them ni*gas like, "What you want?" The battle turns into a hunt / With the dog right behind ni*gas chasing 'em down / We all knew that you was pussy but I'm tasting it now."
Normally, the anniversary of such an important album would merit a deep dive of some sort. Yet given that DMX's posthumous album Exodus is only a few weeks out, it only makes sense to take it back to the beginning. Rest in peace to DMX, and happy anniversary to It's Dark And Hell Is Hot.
You think a lot of 'em's tough? That's just a front
When I hit them ni**as like, "What you want?" The battle turns into a hunt
With the dog right behind ni*gas chasing 'em down
We all knew that you was pussy but I'm tasting it now
And never give a dog blood, 'cause raw blood will have a dog like what?
Biting whatever, all up in your gut