Man, I’m sure to get crucified for this one, but fuck it, I’ve been meaning to get this off of my chest for a minute. When it comes to Hip-hop classics we have albums that just aren’t up for debate; Snoop’s Doggystyle, Nas’ Illmatic, Dre’s The Chronic, and Outkast’s Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik amongst a few others. Other supposed classics are debatable and when me and my peoples (any fellow XXL staffers) have this debate DMX’s It’s Dark and Hell is Hot comes up often, but I beg to differ. On the contrary in my opinion, X’s first album is perhaps Hip-Hop’s most overrated disc.
Ok I get it, in the face of Bad Boy’s jiggy dominance; X was the perfect counter measure with his overt thugisms and dog like barks. But does Earl’s impeccable timing alone constitute a classic? The album while dope, wasn’t a top to bottom masterpiece. Here are 5 reasons why. — Rob the Music Ed
1. “Ruff Ryder’s Anthem”: General consensus says that this joint is illy, I say the track’s shitty keys detract from X’s energetic rants. Plus, can a song which contains the lyrics, “I’m about to show niggas how easily we blow niggas” really be considered a classic? Ayooooooooooo!
2. “Damien”: Oddly enough, most hardcore X fans cite this as one of his better joints. On the track Earl strikes an accord with the Devil in exchange for riches and stardom… FUCK THAT I know “Murder Was the Case” when I hear it. Seems like X was eatin’ out another Dogg’s bowl on this one. FAIL!
3. “Stop Being Greedy”: Back in the day Big did this song called “Gimme the Loot” maybe ya’ll heard of it. We know X did because he bit the whole concept. I gotta admit, the Dog’s version was one of the album’s better joints (and might even be better than Big’s song) even if it was a full-time jack move.
4.”For My Dogs”: On this posse cut X shows loves to his pound puppies, puttin’ his mans ‘n ‘em on. But I give props to anyone who can name all the weed carriers on this track not named Drag-On. Here’s a hint, Cam’Ron used to hang out with one of them “On Mother’s day because [his] mother’s dead.” According to Cam he also “fucked Big L’s album up.” Winner gets a bootleg copy of Belly.
5. “I Can Feel”: From what I understand X had little to do with the production of this album, he just laid his verses and bounced from the studio to go chase moving cars or some shit. Sucks for him. The Dog gets points for the Phil Collins sample, but Nardo’s soulless hook is unforgivable. If the Ruff Ryder’s camp planned to butcher something they should’ve sampled “Sussudio” instead.
“Niggaz Done Started Something”: The LOX, Murder Mase and DMX; what?!? This song was fuckin’ crazy! Too bad it was almost 2 years old when the album dropped. I had like 5 mixtapes with it, plus I tapped it off of Stretch and Bob.
“How’s It Goin’ Down”: My favorite X joint has always been “How’s It Goin’ Down.” What can I say I’m a sucker for Rap&B, plus I could relate to the song because I was goin’ through a similar situation at the time. However it always bothered me that the album version didn’t have Faith Evans on it, I hate when they do that shit!
PS. “X is coming” was a pretty dope joint, but there was one lyric that ALWAYS bothered me. Earl says, “If you got a daughter older than 15, I’ma rape her;” then again at least he didn’t say 14—that would’ve just been wrong. What the fuck?!?