Earl Simmons, aka Dark Man X, has been one of those dudes that you hear on the radio and he just sticks with you. Gruff voice, the growling, the infectious hooks, the powerful aggressive cold asphalt persona and the beats that just never leave your head. X was that dude in the late 90s as a lot of us came into our teenage years and he embodied the angst, the hurt, the energy and anger that a lot of us had, but his reasons and background were directly correlated to this string of legal issues that he had. One thing was common throughout his catalog of music – raw, unbridled, strong bites that were equally as loud and vicious as his trademark barking. He was the personification of the pitbull on records. Shit was amazing.
1998: DMX – “ Ruff Ryders Anthem “/ Guest spot – LL Cool J “4,3,2,1” ft. Method Man, Redman, and DMX
Everyone remembers this shit, especially the hook, the energy, the bark. When X came out back in the late 90s, the rough, rugged, aggressiveness of his music was unrivaled. He was so street, so angry, so…blessed and grateful to come thru the shit he went thru and pour every emotion plus tears into this. Dope. First time I heard it was on a promo mixtape from Def Jam, along with Ja Rule, Richie Rich, and Jayo Felony. Later that year- X, Ja, and Jay-Z formed the short-lived Murder Inc. His guest spots stole the spotlight a lotta the time tho.
2000: DMX – “What’s My Name”
More of the rawness, the yelling, the go for the throat type of music that DMX was made for. But there’s more than enough angst and struggle in every track he really ever did.
2003: DMX – “Where the Hood At? /Ayo Kato”
What’s more infectious -the hooks or the energy? I don’t advocate driving recklessly, speeding, or general aggressive shit like punching strangers…but this shit useta really make me wanna lose control every time I heard it. The B-Side of the video (dope) is another heartfelt dedication from one of X’s closest. The parity in the animal instinct that he lets out in his wildest music and the emotion showed in grieving over tracks that he has on each of his albums show the range of complex ways that he deal with loss and his own deteriorating personal life.
2006 – DMX – “I Run Shit”
More of the aggression, but more filler. By this time, X was tiring out and it’s just repetitive. This track has zero real replay value, off Year of the Dog…Again, which sold 125k copies and debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 and hit Gold. But really, did anyone of you actually buy this album?
2011 – DMX – Freestyle
The newest music that X has thrown out to the public. Dude’s been thru Hell and came back. He hasn’t been in the spotlight for anything related to music lately and it’s for the reason that this is so big. From smoking weed, to crack, to coke, to making a comeback, he’s releasing Undisputed this year and honestly, if he’s back rhyming like this and it’s HEAVY like good X was…I’m listening.