DMX – The Grand Champ

DMX - The Grand ChampDMX returns with his fifth and possibly final album. After three stellar albums, X left much to be desired with his fourth, the Great Depression. With his fifth, he proclaims to be the five time champ of the rap game. Can he go out the way he came in?

 

1. Dog Intro – Production: Darryl Trotter 

Starts with a Samuel L Jackson clip from the movie “The Negotiator” proclaiming again his love for the canine breed. Over a piano beat, X spits slowly and laid back, decent track showing the darker side of DMX.

2. My Life ft. Chingy – Production: Dart La

Production in this track is much harder but still deep. The track is a look into the life of Earl Simmons. The idea is good but the chorus is too much coming in after every single line DMX spits out. But his words are there and you can feel his pain.

3. Where Da Hood At? – Production: Tuneheadz 

A classic DMX anthem track for the streets and the first single off the album. This track should be banging millions of speakers around the globe. X proclaims his love for the streets again, “I am the streets”. Everything you could expect from a classic DMX track. Some subliminal disses towards Ja Rule. One of the album’s best, one of DMX’s best tracks ever.

4. Dogs Out – Production: Kayne West 

Another track reminiscent of the DMX of 1999. The production is again some good shit laid out by Kayne West and fits DMX’s style well. The chorus is annoying but at the same time catchy with the classic X barking.

5. Get It On The Floor ft. Swizz Beats – Production: Swizz Beats 

The old duo of X and Swizz reunite which should be a good sign, but the feel of the track is very Southern and doesn’t suit DMX very well during the chorus, but the verses deliver. Decent track.

6. Come Prepared (Skit) 

A skit of someone getting their ass kicked and shot.

7. Shot Down ft. 50 Cent, Styles P – Production: Salaam Wreck

Fred Wreck’s brother lays down a nice laid back beat and it suits the purpose of the track. 50 Cent appears with the first verse and a catchy as hell chorus. DMX gives some disses to Ja Rule. It’s a good combo of DMX and G Unit. X’s verse is mad tight but is outshined by the last verse by Lox member Styles P. Possibly the best track on the album.

8. Bring the Noize – Production: Tuneheadz 

A better uptempo track that we’re used to from DMX. More silent disses towards Ja Rule. The chorus is another anthem type feel to it. The track is better than most so far on the album, a very NY influenced track for X which is what he needs to focus on doing.

9. Untouchable ft. Sheek, Syleena Johnson, Infa-Red – Production: Tony Pizarro 

Very under rated producer Tony Pizarro makes his contribution to this album and doesn’t disappoint. It’s a laid back track again. A good R&B chorus that suits the feel of the track well. Sheek makes an appearance and is mad tight with his flow on this.

10. ***** Yall – Producer: Ron Brownz 

The production on this suits DMX’s hardcore style. It’s a slower verse sections but they elevate into a hard “***** Yall” and is another anthem. It’s not as good as most X anthems but it’s still somewhat catchy. The song is very good.

11. Ruff Radio (Skit) 

Just a DJ making his shoutouts before getting taped up and taken over by the Ruff Ryderz.

12. We’re Back ft. Eve, Jadakiss – Production: Tuneheadz 

A reunion of all the Ruff Ryder superstars in X, Eve and Jada. The production is very good. DMX does his old style flow a little bit mixing it up with a little singing. Eve delivers like only the queen on hardcore rap can. Jadakiss is a lyrical force like always. The track is a must hear.

13. Ruff Radio 2 (Skit) 

a continuation of the first one.

14. Rob All Night – Production: Rockwilder 

Rockwilder delivers an electronic mess in the production. Minus the Nintendo shorting out sounds, the production isn’t bad. X is trying to return to “It’s All Good” but it doesn’t slip people’s minds considering this one is nothing near the original. Messy track.

15. We Go Hard ft. Cam’Ron – Production: No I.D. 

This track is more reminiscent of what to expect from X. His flow is good and his voice is on point, lyrics are hardcore. The production is bouncing hard. The chorus is repetitive but it’s far overshadowed by the verses by X and Cam’Ron.

16. We Bout To Blow ft. Big Stan – Production: Dame Grease

Another old X producer returns to deliver a beat more expected for X. Grease knows how to fit DMX’s style and it shows. DMX tries a little too hard to give another anthem chorus but it doesn’t work on this track, but the verses are ill. The track doesn’t disappoint.

17. The Rain – Production: DJ Scratch 

Two things DMX is great at are anthem tracks and deeply painful emotional tracks. He gives the latter on this track, making you feel his pain. It’s dark and inspiring at the same time. Unfortunetely like “My Life” he gives the chorus after each line which takes away from the lyrics a lot.

18. Gotta Go (skit) 

A phone call about some guy defending himself for cheating.

19. Don’t Gotta Go Home ft. Monica – Production: BAM and Ryan 

A cliché track in rap these days to have a relationship song between a hard rapper and the innocent R&B singer. Cliché but it’s still good on this track. The beats are average at best, Monica shines with the chorus and DMX flows well with her.

20. A’Yo Kato ft. Magic and Val – Production: Swizz Beatz 

A tribute track for DMX’s fallen friend Kato. Meaningful tribute with a great chorus by DMX. Talks about his life with Kato and how he’ll miss him. Nice tribute track, one of the album’s better moments. 21. Thank You ft. Patti LaBelle – Production: DMX, Ron H. – The production is surprisingly ill coming from DMX. It’s a little too much to have X and Patti Labelle singing at the same time, but when apart they deliver a hiphop version of gospel music.

22. The Prayer V – Production: DMX 

Another installment of X’s prayer, but this time with the production all uptempo, is it a song or a prayer? It’s nothing like the original four’s deepness in words and lyrics.

23. On Top ft. Big Stan – Production: Mac G 

Bonus track that maybe should’ve been left off. It’s just another average DMX song that doesn’t contribute much to the album. The lyrics and flow by X are good but the chorus is annoying.

While this album doesn’t have many failures, it’s still not the DMX of old. It’s an improvement overall over the “Great Depression” but minus a couple great tracks in “Where Da Hood At” and “Shot Down”, most of the album is very average from DMX. Five Time Grand Champ? No. Three time champ. If this is his finale album, it’s hard to make of how he went out. Maybe he is tired of the game and doesn’t have that fire he used to. He attempted to give us some old DMX, but after a 4 year career in the limelight, it sounds a little like he lost the motivation he used to have.

The album is grimier than his past appearances, but maybe they should have included some unreleased tracks that would have boosted the feel of the album such as “Do You” and “They Want War”. Not a bad album, it’s a must for any DMX fan, but it’s not the greatness overall expected of DMX.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

 

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