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Year of the Dog…Again

DMX.jpgSince stomping out manicured party rap in the late ’90s, DMX has struggled to maintain his potent mix of rage and remorse. Announcing his retirement with the release of 2003’s tepidly received Grand Champ, it seemed that the Dog had had his fill of industry politics. But after a little time off and a messy breakup with Def Jam, X tries to rekindle the magic of yesteryear on his sixth album, Year of the Dog…Again.

Although Dark Man claims to have gotten his “swagger back” on the Swizz Beatz– produced “We in Here,” the song sounds stale, with punch lines referencing outdated pop culture clichés like Grey Poupon and the Clapper cluttering his verses. Elsewhere, X tries out familiar formulas with little success. His 1998 love song “How’s It Goin’ Down” gets a bitter makeover in the form of the misogynistic “Baby Motha.” Even on the standout Busta Rhymes duet “Come Through (Move),” X seems doomed to be stuck in his late-’90s antihero role (“Far from jiggy, but like Biggie, bitches call me Big Poppa”).

As always, X is better served tapping into more introspective material. Fallen friends get a profound send-off on the heaving “Goodbye,” while “Blown Away” shows X at his most autobiographical. And on the stress-releasing “Life Be My Song,” X harmonizes over Dame Grease’s glowing electric piano, rapping, “In my mind, I’m like a little boy, lost and crying/Like a healthy nigga the devil forced into dying.”

Clearly, X’s poetic touch remains intact. But Year of the Dog relies too heavily on nostalgia, ignoring how hip-hop and DMX himself have changed over the years. Lyrically, the project sounds as if the Dog has been living in isolation for years, rarely shifting from his trademark style. Sadly, if X doesn’t learn a few new tricks, things might never be the same…again.—BRENDAN FREDERICK

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  • http://lyrisuisjairusyahoo.com young chuck

    1st bitches!!!!!!!! i dont think dmx has wat it takes to be his old self thats what the streets need….fuck all this snap snap bullshit.

  • smallwood

    dude, im listenin to his new shit on my computer as i type this and that “i run shit” track is killing the keyboard wit tha bass

  • E

    AND ITS 100 % LEGAL


  • AirlineGeneral

    man I don’t know what xxl talkin about they should have gave it an XXL that album is fire niggas don’t understand DMX they think he’s just some crazy ass crackhead, uh no this nigga is real unlike some of these fake motherfuckers who claim to be a rap artist doing pop music this shit is funny to me

  • http://www.sleepsmental.blogspot.com Sleep

    Yo this is some bullshit on the real. I just bought this CD today and I would give it a 4/5 which would convert over to an XL. This magazine/site is awful at reviewing, I mean absolutely terrible. These people wouldn’t throw a good CD if it was thrown at them. To the listeners out there, don’t listen to the critics I know what I’m talking about and I’m telling you if you go out and support the dog you’re not going to be let down at all. This is easily one of the best releases of ’06 so a message to XXL quoting Jay-Z “Do Ya’ll Just Read The Lyrics Or Just Skim Through It??” Majorily *SMH*. Dumbasses. This is better than T.I.-King (Which I really liked) and they gave that a XL so XXL fire your reviewing staff… ASAP.

  • http://www.sleepsmental.blogspot.com Sleep

    These people wouldn’t know* a good CD* (my bad).

  • New York Nigga

    u niggaz must be out ya rabbit azz mind this iz da deepset shit 2 com out of hip hop fo a lone azz time u give FIELD MOBB FUCKIN XL BUT WONT GIVE DMX XL U NIGGAZ R BUNCH OF SUKAS THEY PROBABLY LIVE IN DA SOUTH

  • Trueog

    i have this album, it sucks. DMX next album coming out on KOCH! just like what columbia dun did tah that dirty nigga goin through dre’s trash beats..aka..xzibit.

  • Zway7

    i agree with most of u guys, this album is the best one this year

  • DMX

    Grrrrr…niggas go buy my album so i can afford more crack

  • CKilla

    dis album is da second best, if not, da best album he has put out

  • Corinne

    Trueog, you hate on Xzibit and DMX, huh? You must be a Chingy fan aren’t ya, go pop your bubblegum somewhere else cause no one wants to hear that shit.

  • http://XXLmag.com westside story

    I done heard about 4 tracks off it I give it an average X you have dissapointed me why couldnt you go back towat you were doin on It Dark And Hell Is Hot.X ill buy you album only if I see about at least 16 tracks.



  • jus

    is it me or does x seem like he lives in another world..he is always spaced out.i think hes on some shit.anyway hope this is a good cd his last one was wack.

  • http://www.myspace.com/3ndles3records myspace/3ndles3records

    yo! You gotta compare dis cd to other street cd that bithass niggas been putting out lately.. it will blow those niggas out the sea..dmx is raw n real..i think xxl listener got caught up in the stupid ‘music about nothin’ trend. X is da shit.


    This ALBUM DESERVED A XL. It was good yea it does sound like his older stuff atleast he didnt no 50 cent shit and start doing bubble gum Rap Respect that. X will always be X and if his next album is out on KOCH Ill still buy that (refering to treydog or whatever) this album is worth the money.



  • N-Z

    I’m tired of reading these bullshit reviews from XXL, giving every Aftermath/Interscope/Shady record no less than a XL, this album definitely deserves an XL. I stopped reading XXL when every other cover was Eminem, 50, Busta, etc., XXL fell the fuck off. Now that Benzino’s off the Source, you know that shit is real. FUCK XXL, GO GRAB THE SOURCE, FOREAL

  • BT

    Yeah this album is real street shit, X definately bringin’ it back to “It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot” days, I’m happy that somebody in the rap game ain’t on the candy shop/snap your fingers bullshit and puts thought into the rhymes, X is that nigga

  • Mr. Elite

    Man, aint no squar lil bitch gonna like this music. This shit is only for tha folkz that could feel it. And tha shit he spits is more realla than most of that studio gangsta bullshit! Copp yo self an album mane!

  • Petey Cent

    An “L” What the F*** is that?
    X deserves an XL.

  • H-man

    Go cop DMX (year of da dog)…I gotcha man…KOCH will take U 2 da top…In my opinion you alwayz were on top,dog. Welcome aboard my friend…Id ruff ryde wit cha anytime…I find it ironic dat U go through the same problems that I do, at the same time…Remember dog, GODS chosen favorites have the hardest time here on Earth, dont sweat the haterz, they all just sheep…Baaaa Baaaa

  • H-man

    By the way…KOCH and Damon Dash probably hook U up wit movies again

  • Toothpick

    fuck that review, dmx is worth minimum XL, its true that the reviews are highly influenced by shady records and the aftermath

  • Simeon Smashes Vick All Day

    I don’t know what ya’ll are talking about. I’m a huge X fan, but isn’t one of his best. His 1st 3 were fire, then he came with that Great Depression trash except for a couple of songs. He came back hard with Grand Champ, then he almost went back to the Great Depression level with Year of the Dog. I’m not saying I can’t listen to it or I don’t like DMX anymore. But when I buy a X album, I want to hear he rhyming bout robbing niggaz. The best song he made is “Tales from the Darkside”, that shit is hot.

  • Boogey Man

    Dark Man X is straight tearing the tracks. He is one of the most street niggas ever. And this album just like his others prove it. Fuck that South shit, its all bout dat LA and NY shit. X definetly trying to bring the crown back to New York, xcept ya’ll corny ass white boys just want to snap yo fingaz to that D4L shit. If you dont know X is a down to earth nigga, he spits the truth and does not give a fuck. Ruff Ryders, all day everyday, X I always got your back and keep doing your thing. Los Angeles got love for you.

  • mad-boy

    XXL i respct u for being a good mag
    i´m a big shady g-unit aftermath fan
    still i gotta say these people are right ya´ll too influenced by interscope !!! Year of the dog might not be as hot as It´s Dark And Hell Is Hot but i defenitly know that its one of the best albums out this year if not the best !!! let´s see what banks is doing with his shit !!! check it out next september !! mad

  • fuck b dizzle

    DMX is tight but this album fucking gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to my belief. In his legacy, this shit is small.

  • Locc to tha brain

    Fuck this pussy shit

  • c-don

    all dogs have their day lol

  • Vindi

    I’ve never agreed with a rating as much as this one this album is just OK nothing special and to think it is a GOOD ALBUM u lot must be on crack.

  • Leo

    wat these motherfuckers want is for X to start snappin and leaning…fuck that shit, fuck learning new tricks…all dat new shit is wats fukin up hip-hop…all people think about hip-hop is dat happy-go-lucky shit, there’s more to this shit than cars, jewelry, and bitches, I aint saying it aint a part of it, but it’s not the truest essence…X is doing his thing man…we gotta support real rap music X, Busta, Nas, Papoose, Banks, Budden…common…

  • james

    Fuck all that shit i listin to soulja slim

  • AirlineGeneral

    yo what the fuck is this shit about DMX next album coming out on koch? ya’ll must be out ya’ll fucking he’s too good to do double platinum on koch (which he’ll do on this album) fuck that fake ass rumor shit he’s staying with sony…double R niggas


    lord give me a sign

  • Mike

    I agree with most of ya, DOG OF THE YEAR, IS THE BEST RAP ALBUM OUT right now, X killed, i’m telling ya all get this album U won’t regrate it. To XXL, ya just don’t know what ya talking about, i don’t really think ya heard the album at all.

  • TheChronic

    all i gotta say is this album is fuckin crazy… only two songs are weak and everything else is good… and whoever said that field mob did better than dmx, i agree with taht shit completely… field mob over fuckin DMX?? get outta here.. XXL needs to fuckin get off that dick foreal

  • http://xxlmag.com omegared nyc

    return of real hiphop the struggle will not be televised all popcorn rappers pack your things and hit the road your style is no longer needed goodbye/role call ying twins chingy pastor troy those atl fools lean wit rock wit trash etc etc………….and the gay radio stations that help those gay rappers you get no love.

  • Miguie Z

    X’s new album is not up to par with his first 2 albums. But his album is still the best thus far this year. I’ll not forgive him for shooting the Great 2pac Shakur back in ’94–Trust me he was involved!!!



  • Keep A Bitch Broke

    Anyone know how many units he sold the 1st week and if it was #1…..

  • O-Flex

    DMX comin’ out weak on this shit. I ain’t feelin’ any of it. He tight, but this album is straight up trash. He should of been returned, but damn even DMC tryin’ to get some name in the game still. What the fuck.

  • aret

    my reviews is that this magazine xxl dont listen anymore the just follow the hype, there like the media they like this drama since there mag sucks anyways they want x to shout there name on one of his tracks to get them back on track get it? x got like 5-8 great tracks to listen to and lord gives me a sign puts the icing on the cake, he got over 3million plays on myspace because of that track the best song ive heard in three years! we all know that 5 hot tracks and up on any album can be called a classic so lets stick with the facts rather than personal gain!

  • allnice

    The album has some good moments here and there, but overall, X was just phoning it in for this lackluster CD. You can keep it real and still be nice instead of sleeping through most of your verses. He obviously wants to be a preacher, so why doesn’t he just do that? Or make a gospel album? Whateva X, I feel your effort, but the album just doesn’t have any bite. Seems like he just gave up on trying to make fun songs.

  • Lost&Found

    A “L” rating…
    Man, I surprised ya’ll didn’t give The Massacre a “XXL” rating for the shit 50 put out.
    13 tracks/reasons why it deserved at least a “XL” rating.
    Instead of putting your ear to the streets, how about you actually put the CD into your CD player and listen to content of it, and forget about the production.

    You guys talk about how X is stuck in the past in “We In Here” and you quote him on that, but do you even know what the point of the song is? (SMH)

    XXL writers/reviewers are pathetic.

  • hasler09

    i think this is the best album so far this year why should x try new things who else in the rap game is?he does what he does and thats make good music!

  • The Advocate

    I’ve been listening to DMX for a long time, this is his weakest album. It’s not strong as I would expect. The beats weren’t all that great. Though the themes were more deep, I don’t really feel it. I’m a huge DMX fan but this ain’t something to be proud of.

  • cloro la mancha

    On some fo real shit that nigga need help man that nigga on B.E.T is looking crazy he need some shit is foul seeing someone destroying himself like that

  • cloro la mancha

    And by the way Broadway g’s coming soon Cloro D.P.L coming soon D.M.X stop smoking crack and buy those albulms by the way Benny Broadway coming soon K.K. coming soon Trinitarios stand up


    x is realer then any of them hyphy niggas. e40 is wack and whole crew lord give him sign. g unit!!!!!!!!

  • Chicago

    DMX seems like a real cat but his music has long since died out. Unfortunately he is just not that nice anymore. I think he lost the passion & drive that made him want to be heard in the 1st place. At the end of the day after all the music politics & “Industry Biz” he just aint feeling it know more. I aint felt him since his 2nd joint Flesh of my Flesh Blood of my Blood

  • saketha

    Dmx is as real as it gets, he doesnt need to change anything. Thats what happens to some of the best they change and fuck up. x is x thats what his fans love about him, no other rapper out there is like him. he’s different and not afraid of it.
    so chill and his album is far better than a (L) litsen again assholes!

  • uknowwho

    don’t know what the review staff was thinking (must be from da dirty south) cause cd is the shit!!! it’s wack reviews like this that’s gonna have me start back buying the source!

  • http://blackplanet.com PRINCE CEASAR

    U niggas must be crazy! DMX is going hard once again, and u bitch niggas keep hating on that man. Its not as good as its dark and hell is hot but…its still dark man x in his purest form. FALL THE FUCK BACK AND OPEN YA EARS UP TO REAL HIP HOP!!

  • double R d-block

    yo this album is deff one of the best of 06 no doubt…ima big X fan my fav of all time and im not gon lie this album is fire i love it but not his best obviously its dark and hell is hot and flesh of my flesh are his best but fuck XXL they dont know shit stay true to ur music not all that gay snap south music

  • truckstop joe

    this will never live up to grand champ. whatever he does it ill still be in grand champs shadows

  • Picaso

    Yo I don’t know what ya dudes talking about! This is like 1 of his worst albums! I still bump grand champ and …and then there was X. I can’t even listen to the whole album

  • Full Metal

    That’s the problem with you people. You don’t know how to look at things objectively. DMX is seriously lacking the passion, and the ability to “move with the times” That other superior calibur rappers have. He’s a shell of his former self, (with or without the substance abuse) He delivers on this album, a sub par effort, filled with sub oar beats, and sub par emotion. Recycled verse-concepts, as well as song concepts. XXL was nice enough to give him an “L” He truly deserves an M. Good, truthful, unbiased review. Keep it Up. And oh yeah, I did spend my 11.99 to buy his garbage cd, only to be disappointed thoroughly. Holla.

  • rob

    arf,arf. go buy the clean version at Wal-Mart since you all like this little kid rap. dmx needs to go to the humane society and get neutered. WHAT!

  • http://www.xxlmaeg.com DGX

    man ya some fucking dumbasses man DMX is the best rapper alive and i dont care what ya candy ass niggas saying thats the only rapper i respect come to my house thats all youll see is DMX man yall little punks dont no nuthing about DMX this is his life let em live it how he want to live i dont see ya bitches doing nothing but hating so hate it or love it

  • x’s number 1 fan


  • st8outtacompton

    this cd is sick if you like dmx, cuz nuttin new

  • Hit em hard

    it dont take nuttin 2 go out an make some wack ass candy shit r&b crossover cd like some eminem shady records fool. DMX keeps that shit real an has done on ALL his cds. ye its not his best but it still beats th SHIT outta evrything else. L my ass bitches.

  • J-Roots

    This album’s aight. It would have been hotter if it was good as his first album.

  • DMX Fan

    You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and why would you want to when DMX is putting his sound out.

    Fuck XXL