During his peak-years, hip hop and the rest of the world had never seen anyone like DMX before. Watching footage of him perform at ’99 Woodstock in front of 200,000 people, you realise you’re watching something truly special.
Before he was a superstar, DMX spent years grinding it out on the streets, battling other rappers (Jay-Z for one), and building a name of himself. After signing with Def Jam in the mid ’90s, X dropped his debut single “Get at Me Dog” and the timeless “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem.” With the anticipation at an all-time high, Def Jam released It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot on May 19, 1998.
In an era where hip hop was dominated by Puffy and Bad Boy, the streets were waiting for a rapper to bring it back to hardcore, gritty music, and they flocked to cop X’s debut. It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot debuted at the top of the charts, moving over 250,000 units in its first week.
But X wasn’t finished for that year. A little over six months after his debut, DMX wrapped up recording for Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood and dropped it in December of ’98. The album, which features appearances from Jay-Z, The LOX, Mary J. Blige and Marilyn Manson, became DMX’s second album to debut on top of the charts – the second rapper to do so in history (the first was Tupac Shakur).
Over the next several years, X would go on to drop three more albums, all debuting at the top of Billboard 200, becoming the first artist in history to have their first five albums debut at number one.
- … And Then There Was X – released December 21, 1999; sold 698,000 copies in its first week.
- The Great Depression – October 23, 2001; sold 440,000 copies in its first week.
- Grand Champ – released September 16, 2003; sold 312,000 copies in its first week