Album Review: DMX - Exodus
Written By: Mike Double G
Grade = 70% or 3.5 ⭐️
Track List - 40 minutes
That’s My Dog (Feat. THE LOX & Swizz Beatz) 5:06 ✅
Bath Salts (Feat. JAY-Z & Nas) 3:00 ⭐️
Dogs Out (Feat. Lil Wayne & Swizz Beatz) 2:46 ❌
Money Money Money (Feat. Moneybagg Yo) 2:09 ❌
Hold Me Down (Feat. Alicia Keys) 3:39 ✅
Skyscrapers (Feat. Bono) 3:25 ❌
Stick Up Skit (Feat. Cross, Infrared, & Icepick) 0:47
Hood Blues (Feat. Westside Gunn, Benny the Butcher, & Conway the Machine) 4:36 ⭐️
Take Control (Feat. Snoop Dogg) 3:51 ✅
Walking in the Rain (Feat. Nas, Exodus Simmons, & Mr. Porter) 4:00 ✅
Exodus Skit 0:21
Letter to My Son (Call Your Father) [Feat. Usher & Brian King Joseph] 4:05 ⭐️
DMX also known as Dark Max X will go down as one the best rappers of all time. He is the first artist to have a number one album 5 times in a row on the billboard 100. His debut album It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot sold over 250,000 copies in it’s first week. Overall, DMX has sold over 74 million records worldwide. Besides rapping, he also was an actor and writer. As far as acting, he appeared in films such as Belly, Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds, Cradle 2 the Grave, and Last Hour. In 2003, he published a book of his memoirs titled E.A.R.L..- The Autobiography of DMX.
DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, was in prison over 30 times for a number of offenses. Those include robbery, assault, carjacking, animal cruelty, reckless driving, DUI, unlicensed driving, drug possession, failure to pay child support, tax evasion, pretending to be a federal agent, and probation violations. His last conviction was in 2017 when he was charged with 14 counts of tax fraud. In November of 2017, he pleaded guilty to to a single count and was ordered to attend a drug treatment program after relapsing on cocaine and oxycodone. In January of 2018, he was sent to jail after leaving the program. DMX was released January 25th 2019, and was ordered to pay $2.29 million in restitution.
On April 2nd, DMX was rushed to the hospital after suffering a heart attack. He was put on life support and eventually died 7 days later after losing function of most of his essential organs. DMX passed away at 50 years old. Many people suspected that this was an overdose since X battled with addiction for most of his life. Simmons has stated that be became addicted to crack cocaine when he was 14 years old after Ready Ron tricked him into smoking a blunt laced with cocaine. While many people believe that Simmons died from an overdose, this was never confirmed. Simmons family was furious after the accusations and stated that they believe he suffered a heart attack after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
The word Exodus means “On the road out” or departure. DMX’s youngest son is also named Exodus. The album was given this name because it was suppose to be his last album. After his death it gave the title even more meaning and has drawn comparisons to Biggie’s “Life After Death” album. In an interview with the breakfast club Swizz Beatz admitted that he felt DMX knew his time was coming to an end. Swizz and X have been friends this the age of 15. Swizz was the main producer on this album but other producers including Kanye West also worked on the project.
After the news of DMX passing, many artists pushed back the released date of there projects to show respect for one of raps legends. This included Lil Baby’s and Lil Durk’s album The Voices of the Heros.
This DMX album had a total of 13 tracks which included 3 skits. Swizz Beatz, Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, Nas, The Lox, Griselda, Snoop Dogg, Usher, Lil Wayne, Moneybagg Yo, and even Bono made an appearance among others. Pop Smoke was suppose to be on the track Money, Money, Money but his verse was taken off the song because it had already been used elsewhere. The Pop Smoke verse was replaced with a Moneybagg Yo verse.
This might be DMX’s most personal album. He gets deep in songs like Hold Me Down” featuring Alicia Keys. This is a very spiritual song. DMX has always been known for having a strong faith. He was known to pray multiple times a day and read the Bible. He also used God as his higher power in recovery. In the first verse of the song he says:
Everyday it gets darker the road gets longer. My body gets weaker my faith gets stronger. The Devil's working on me hard, because God loves me. As long as I'm in His graces, it's gon' get ugly. But, only He can judge me.
In this song he continues to talk about people being judgmental and the words Hold Me Down are directed towards his loved ones. He is asking them to be there for him even when times are hard. DMX finishes the second verse saying:
Man, it hurts when people that I love don't want me. Want it all from me, then think they can judge me. Treat me like I'm ugly. I done did some dumb shit but I never been a dummy. ‘Cause I know God love me...Hold Me Down. Even when the rain falls.
The song that is most personal is Letter To My Son (Call Your Father) featuring Usher and Brian King Joseph. In this song he talks about the people he loves, his drug addiction, and how he feels he’s let his son down. He starts the first verse by admitting he still has love for his son’s mother. He then goes on to say :
I got more kids...You the oldеst, I known you longer, but I don't love them lеss. Had to get that off my chest.
After talking about his family he touches on his drug addiction by saying:
And I don't know what you thought about my use of drugs. But it taught you enough to not use them drugs.
This song was the perfect way to end the album as DMX even talks about his own death. At the end of the last verse he says
What if it's when I'm gone. That you gotta realize you're wrong? And we could've been best of friends all along. But it would kinda defeat the purpose of the song.
Usher then brings in the chorus
I let you down. Should've been there but I let you down. Not too late, I can't give you yesterday but I can learn from my mistakes. Not too late, it ain't too late. Call your father.
This song felt like an apology and goodbye letter. Swizz Beatz told the breakfast club that DMX’s son didn’t hear the song until after his fathers death. His son loved the energy of the whole album but it’s easy to imagine him getting choked up while listening to this song.
Another highlight includes Bath Salts featuring JAY-Z & Nas. JAY-Z and Nas have had a well known beef but DMX has also stated that he saw JAY-Z as an enemy. DMX stated in the past that his rap career slowed down while making his sixth album. At the time, JAY-Z was at Def Jam and had just came out of retirement. X felt like the label dropped him because JAY-Z was the number one artist and JAY saw X as competition. Whether this was a real beef or not this collaboration never seemed possible. DMX, JAY-Z, and Nas all had strong verses but just the fact that you have three legends on the same track made this song a highlight.
The weaker songs on this album are the songs when DMX try’s collaborating with artists that are from a different era. This includes Moneybagg Yo and even Lil Wayne who hit his prime after DMX was at the height of his career. Griselda are considered new artist but they sound like they come from X’s era. They are also closer to his age. The Griselda boys are in there mid to late thirties while many new artist are in there early 20’s. My favorite song on this album was “Hood Blues”. For this record DMX flew out to record with Griselda rather than having them come to his studio. DMX has been very critical of new artists in the game but he liked Griselda . DMX released his best album “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot” in 1998. Between the gritty street content and the lyrical bars this song felt like it was something recorded in the late 90’s.
Overall, this album had some highs and lows. The album sometimes feels dated. Some of the music sounds like it was made in the late 2000’s or early 2010’s. I would have liked to hear more DMX as most of the songs only had one verse from him. With only 10 tracks (minus the skits) that’s just not a lot of material. Swizz Beatz did admit to having more DMX music so maybe he’s tucking it away for another album. He also said that DMX wanted this album to come out sooner but I don’t think it was ready. This album was brief and I believe it was rushed due to his passing. This certainly wasn’t the perfect album but there was some keepers. There are some features on here that are memorable. DMX also gave us one of his most personal albums. The foreshadowing and hints of his death is almost spooky. I think that overall grade of this album depends on your age. If you grew up listening to DMX you’ll like this album but if your younger it might not be very impressive. As a final grade I gave it a 70%.
Best Song = Hood Blues (Feat. Westside Gunn, Benny The Butcher, & Conway The Machine).
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