I have been a fan of DMX since the late 90’s when he started blowin’ up. I first heard of him on LL Cool J’s 4, 3, 2, 1 track featuring Method Man, Redman and of course DMX. Shortly after that, his first major-label album (and I feel a Hip-Hop classic) It’s Dark and Hell is Hot came out and I bought it as soon as I could. I’ve been a fan ever since getting every album that came out.
With each album that X has dropped, I held it up to It’s Dark and Hell is Hot as comparison. Flesh of my Flesh, Blood of my Blood and …and Then There Was X were almost equals to his debut album but I felt The Great Depression was less than stellar. Then he released Grand Champ which I felt moved back up to It’s Dark status and remains to be my favorite DMX album to date. After Grand Champ, DMX kinda fell off of Hip-Hop and eventually released Year of the Dog…Again in 2006 which I felt fell completely flat. Now Undisputed is being released and it’s fallen flatter then Year of the Dog…again.
After listening to this album, I feel Dark Man X (DMX) needs to change his name to Light Man X (LMX). This album is no where NEAR as hard as his first few albums. I’m not sure if he’s just not as pissed off as he used to be or if his old age (currently 41) is catching up to him. Of the 17 tracks on the album, only 5 or 6 tracks feel like hardcore DMX (the best one if which is the very last track on the album). The rest feature a really soft or “pop” like beat. On a majority of the tracks, X is attempting to sing moving his voice up and down to achieve various octaves. One of the best tracks on the album is also the albums first single called I Don’t Dance featuring Machine Gun Kelly. The video is below and while the song is no Ruff Ryders Anthem or Where The Hood At, it’s got a decent beat and X sounds some-what angry.
Conclusion: Undisputed is definitly DMX’s softest album to date. When you gain a reputation as one of the hardest rappers out, an album like this tends to disappoint. That’s not to say however DMX has grown into a bad rapper. While his songs feel soft, they are well written and have good messages. But I don’t listen to DMX for messages. I listen for songs and stories about DMX killing motherfuckers and bangin bitches. I also feel DMX’s creativity has began to slide after The Great Depression. He no longer attempts songs like Stop Being Greedy, Ready To Meet Him (or Prayer II) the Damien trilogy from his first few albums.
I think a bulk of this album fell flat due to production. The album was delayed multiple times and I think was handled poorly by the label United Music and Media Group/Seven Arts Music.
Hopefully X will have at least one more hard album on a decent record label to go out on. If not, I hope to hear X on some good guest appearances in the future.