DMX's debut album It's Dark And Hell Is Hot is a haunting and brutally honest deconstruction of one of rap's most fascinating writers. Not only does it feature some of his most compelling material from a thematic standpoint, but it also happens to feature the highest-charting song of his entire career in "Ruff Ryders Anthem."
Released twenty-three years ago on May 5th, 1998, the Swizz Beatz-produced classic was actually a major stylistic departure for the Yonkers lyricist. Fueled by Swizzy's Atlanta influences, which stemmed from his time spent in the thriving hip-hop hub, the instrumental was not exactly well-received by X -- at least, not at first. Hard to believe, given how many people have come to appreciate the timeless banger as one of his definitive tracks. At once intimidating and infectious, X's militant delivery showcased a superstar's versatility -- not to mention the eternally important ability to navigate the mainstream without sacrificing his artistic identity.
It's safe to say that there will never be another artist like DMX. Rest in peace to one of the greatest to ever do it, and be sure to give "Ruff Ryders' Anthem" a spin in his honor.
Is y'all ni**as crazy? I'll bust you and be Swayze
Stop actin' like a baby, mind your business, lady
Nosy people get it too, when you see me spit at you
You know I'm tryin' to get rid of you, yeah I know, it's pitiful
That's how ni**as get down, watch my ni**as spit rounds
Make y'all ni**as kiss ground just for talkin' shit, clown
Oh, you think it's funny? Then you don't know me, money