Listening to DMX’s third LP, I am finally beginning to understand what gives the X-man his appeal. First and foremost, I think anyone can pinpoint that it’s his high amounts of adrenaline and testosterone that people are attracted to. While some may hate it, take a trip to an NYC club and peep the crowd’s reaction when his records are played – fights break out.
X also has a knack for creating chilling reality rap (for lack of a better term), as demonstrated on the album’s opener “One More Road To Cross”. Dark production, along with X’s disturbing second verse, which revolves around robbing a liquor store, awakens the listener’s own morbid curiosity, and in it’s own way is dope. Same goes for “Comin’ For Ya” or even “The Professional”, where he warns “I could be the UPS delivery boy / Or the man working at Toys R Us handing your kid a brand new toy / I could be the one serving your food, where ever you go to eat at / Or that nigga on the corner that you ask ‘Where the weed at?’” Scary.
It’s evident that X’s narrative tracks pack the most authenticity, but of course the album has it’s up-tempo, high-energy, riot inciting, Tunnel bangers. “Fame”, “Make A Move”, and “Party Up” each flex about as much lyrical brilliance as “Get At Me Dog” (read: nil), but easily serve their purpose.
Although among these standout joints, there are quite a few duds, which really makes this just another dull album from DMX. The Sisqo featured “What These Bitches Want” zeroes in on the 2Pac-influence, which combined with the bitten image, seemingly may be the sub-conscious reason why X’s fan base grew so quickly in such a short amount of time. Tracks like “More To A Song”, “Angel” and “Here We Go Again” are also so ridiculously bland production-wise, that even X’s yelling can’t help the listener from falling asleep.
All in all, X is trying to cover all bases here, with the double-edged sword of the 2Pac-fashioned “thug with a conscious”. While ‘Pac was the one who seemingly invented this concept, when listening to him, you feared his lyrics, giving the illusion that this motherfucker really was a killer. X on the other hand is more like that “goth” kid in high school who wanted everyone to think he was evil, but the only ones who did were his parents and the rest of white America. Even when looking at the package as a whole, it is sometimes hard to take X seriously. Just examining the melodramatic cover art work, that presents itself as if this was the second coming of Christ, is pretty ridiculous, being that this is only the third coming of DMX (in two years, no less!) “And Then There Was X” is a like a quick fix of ghetto dope, but will leave most crackheads looking for more.
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