Menacing, muscular and magnetic, DMX has been hard-core rap’s unrivaled top dog. After the deaths of icons 2Pac and Biggie, when rap was threatening to go soft–DMX’s uncompromising intensity and street cred kept hard core hard. With the expected 2010 release of two new albums, The Best Of DMX (Island Def Jam/UMe), released January 26, 2010, collects 19 of his best tracks from 1998 to 2003, including all 11 of his Top 25 Rap hits while on Def Jam.
DMX is the only artist in history to have five consecutive albums debut No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. That they were the first albums of his career makes his success even more astonishing. In 1998, “Get At Me Dog” (featuring Sheek of the Lox) not only cracked the R&B/Hip-hop Top 20, Rap Top 10 and Pop Top 40 but went gold, appearing on the quadruple platinum It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot, which also included the Top 10 Rap “Stop Being Greedy,” Top 40 R&B “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” (he was a founding member of that group), Top 20 R&B “How’s It Goin’ Down” and “Damien.”
The release of Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood later that year marked DMX as only the second rapper to have two albums debut at No. 1 in one year; the first being 2Pac. The triple-platinum disc boasted “It’s All Good” and “Slippin’.” Also in 1998 he debuted on film in Belly, whose “Grand Finale” (DMX, Method Man, Nas and Ja Rule) went Top 20 Rap from the soundtrack.
.And Then There Was X appeared in 1999, again debuting at No. 1. The club banger “What’s My Name?” (Top 15 Rap), party anthem “Party Up (Up In Here)” (Top 10 Rap), “What These Bitches Want” (featuring Sisqo) (Top 25 Rap), “One More Road To Cross” and “Here We Go Again” propelled the album to five times platinum. 2001’s platinum The Great Depression spun off a pair of spirited Top 10 Rap anthems–“Who We Be” and “We Right Here.”
In 2003, the soundtrack album to his next film, Cradle 2 The Grave, contributed “X Gon’ Give It To Ya” (Top 20 Rap). He also unleashed the platinum Grand Champ. His fifth straight to debut at the top spot, the album included a Swizz Beatz classic in “Get It On The Floor,” “Where The Hood At?” (Top 15 Rap) and “The Rain.” After signing to another label, his next album debuted at N0. 2 in 2006, breaking his string of chart toppers. In 2007, his first Def Jam greatest hits album, The Definition Of X: The Pick Of The Litter, went Top 30.
Though DMX has made headlines for his volatile run-ins with the judicial system, penned an autobiography, starred in his own reality series, and built a movie career, it is rap that has defined him. As heard on The Best Of DMX, he has truly represented the hard core on record.
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