And There Was X

"One more road to cross, one more risk to take
Got to live my life like theirs one more move to make"

DMX a.k.a. Earl Simmons.

'And There Was X', DMX' new album. Now DMX is an artist I only knew from those occasional times I watched TMF or MTV. Those video’s did not impress me much. Since Def Jam 2000 or something is in a hurry to release as many records as possible, they also did put an imaginary sticker on any of their releases. ‘Parentaly warning: Rushed, so not worth to check it.’ But XXL the HipHop magazine catched my attention. In an interview with DMX you could read the quote: "I don’t think I have that much longer to go, you know? I don’t think I’ll live long because I’m not comfortable with life." Hmm, that sounded interesting and made it more interesting to check him.


He released three records in three years. His debut ‘It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot’ in May 1998. Seven months later in October he released ‘Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood’. And now in 2000 ‘…And Then There Was X’. Looks like someone was in a hurry. Sales were and still are good. But is it good? Like D’Angelo states in an interview in ‘Nieuwe Revu’: "It took my whole live to make my debut album [Brown Sugar]. That was the time I needed to make my music. And when you are a success the record company wants a follow up at once." That’s what is wrong with the album ‘…And There Was X’. Things need time to mature. Maybe it’s the thought of recording as much as possible before his lord takes him away from this planet. "He is going 85 miles an hour in a 15 miles an hour zone", laments Cohen in XXL.

"You niggers really think I give a fuck about how much your watch costs!/how much your watch costs?/I think you’re about to get your watch lost.", More 2 A Song.

Finally checking out DMX, I find he really got potentials to make a masterpiece. He has the potential to be in the same line up as D’Angelo, Common, Everlast, Mos Def and The Roots. Although he’s on the Def Jam 2000 and his album should have been an okay player, and not just sometimes alright player. The lyrics are deep and on point. But the production of the rhythm tracks is kinda wack. Where the flow and lyrics project the rawness, pain and suffering of the man DM the rhythm tracks are often X from exit. Rushed, not taken time to mature.

The tracks that show DMX skills the best as an pure artist and not only an entertainer are ‘One More Road To Cross’, ‘Here We Go Again’, ‘More 2 A Song’, and ‘Angel’ featuring Regina Bell. All the other songs are productions that may sound hot but after one month the album will be put away in the cupboard and will function as a fill up to make the collection look nice and big for the rest of your life. Hopefully DMX will maintain and hang on, simply because the producers and company could not live up to the power and skills Earl Simmons got in store, doesn’t mean he can’t grow no more. The album is nice and hopefully DMX will find some time and space so his fourth album has time to mature in the jam sessions. After ‘And Then There Was X, hopefully comes some rest for the man.

With this album he made me a fan of him. Although in general 90% of all the productions, with an extra focus on the rhythm tracks, make my album rating go to the point of ‘stop’. The lyrics and the flow, DMX himself pulls it to play, are phat.

Prayer III
"…I stand before you a weakened version of your reflection.
Begging for direction for my soul needs resurrection.
I don’t deserve what you give me but you never took it from me…"

Earl Simmons a.k.a. DMX

© 2000 ART12/VanderHoek Publishing. All rights reserved.