Today, May 12, we celebrate 23 years since the release of the debut studio album by DMX “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot”.
Back in 1998, on this date, X changed the history and the direction of hip hop music forever with his unique album. Unfortunately, this anniversary of the release is so gloomy and cold for the Simmons family, friends and for millions of fans since the world recently lost one of the most influential hip-hop artists of all time DMX.
X was taken to the White Plains Hospital on April 2 after suffering a heart attack caused by an overdose, a few days later the legendary MC passed away on Friday (April 9, 2021).
X’s legacy has been circulating among hip-hop culture and fans all around the world for more than two decades.
The “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot” album debuted at number 1 in the Billboard 200 chart. The project sold 251,000 copies in the first week in the United States and was certified 4x Multi-Platinum by the RIAA. The album is considered an absolute classic among fans, hip-hop circles and music critics.
It is led by 4 singles with videos “Get at Me Dog”, “Stop Being Greedy”, “Ruff Ryders Anthem” and “How’s It Goin ‘Down”. “It’s dark and hell is hot” is produced mainly by Dame Grease and PK, and in addition, Irv Gotti, Swizz Beatz, Lil Rob and Younglord.
Even though Wikipedia says the album is released on May 19, 1998, that seems to be a false statement. X’s family has celebrated the album’s anniversary via his official Instagram profile, proving Wiki wrong.
The masterpiece contains 19 tracks that take us through the mind, heart and soul of X, which is filled with a lot of anger, pain, suffering and horror. This is what gives the unique and inherent dark aura that accompanies DMX, embodying part of his life and each song as a mini-story.
The release of the “It’s dark and hell is hot” turned upside down the course of the “shiny era of hip-hop” filled with lavish parties, shiny costumes, expensive cars and private jets. Back in the ’90s Bad Boy Records had taken over the charts after the deaths of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G.
Puff Daddy once refused to sign X because of his hoarse voice and street-aggressive style. However, the world goes in the opposite direction and gets just that roar of the streets, full of hardcore rhythms and songs full of pain, betrayal, horror and violence.
Songs like “Get at me Dog” appeared where the video was shot live with thermal cameras in New York-based nightclub “The Tunnel”.
“Ruff Ryders Anthem” which leaves to this day one of his greatest hits, with the city’s bikers driving wildly on the streets produced by the young Swizz Beatz, creating a name for himself and later putting him in a prominent place as one of the greatest stylists and producing much of DMX’s second number 1 album “Flesh of My Flesh Blood Of My Blood” released in just seven months after X’s debut album. This made X the only live rapper back then with two number 1 albums in a calendar year. Success for DMX in 98′ not only subsided with the release of two number one albums in one year but also in the same year participated in the crime drama Belly alongside rappers like Nas, Method Man, T-boyz, and Taral Hicks.
Revisit the classic “it’s Dark And Hell Is Hot” below via Spotify.