November 14, 2008

DMX - Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood (December 22, 1998)



Okay, seriously, what the fuck is with that album cover? Was Earl Simmons embarrassed at the prom just before his photo shoot?

I'll be honest: I have absolutely no clue how I ended up with a copy of DMX's second album, Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood, in my crates. (Apparently I had a lot of disposable income ten years ago. Ahhh, to be young again.) I've never considered myself to be an actual fan of DMX: with the exception of a handful of tracks from his debut, It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, I found his antics mostly tedious and repetitive. Back in 1998, though, I was clearly in the minority, as other music fans ate this shit up like fresh baked cookies. In fact, Earl's first album was so successful that Def Jam Records rushed a sophomore effort to the shelves in the same year. (I remember reading many articles lavishing DMX with praise, naming him the first rapper in history to release two albums in the same year, both of which hit number on on the Billboard charts, and I always thought to myself: what about 2Pac? Did he not count back in 1995 because the second album he released that year, posthumously, was recorded under the Makaveli alias? And Kool Keith has been releasing multiple albums each year since the dawn of man.)

Since "Ruff Ryders Anthem", the bizarrely paced tirade against the small business owner that was told from the point of view from a hypermegaconglomerate, became the surprise hit of the first album, receiving radio spins eve before it was officially released as a single, the song's producer, Swizz Beats, became DMX's partner in crime for the majority of this sophomore effort, whose title is so long and ridiculous that I don't want to type it again. That motherfucker went from handling only one track on the debut to producing nine tracks. As such, anybody who is on my side in the war against the overrated Swizz Beats should note that DMX is to blame for the man's "success", and also to blame for the spike in sales of Casio keyboards nationwide.

1. MY N----S (SKIT)
Do you recall the intro from DMX's debut album? Remember how good that intro sounded? Picture the polar opposite of that intro, and throw in some additional suckiness, and you'll still not be close to understanding how bad this rap album intro is.

2. BRING YOUR WHOLE CREW
The beat sounds like an afterthought, as if it was created in roughly two minutes. X also sounds exactly the same as he did on the first album, which is an act that had gotten old with all of his guest appearances on other albums. This can't be good.

3. PAC MAN (SKIT)
Generic gangsta interlude #4080 could have been much better if the fake thugs wherein were talking to the actual Pac Man. Running through a maze may have also been a nice touch.

4. AIN'T NO WAY
My God, this shit is boring.

5. WE DON'T GIVE A FUCK (FEAT JADAKISS & STYLES P)
As The Lox were running with the same crew as DMX (they were all from the same area in New York), it makes sense for them to appear on here: what doesn't make sense is the whereabouts of the third guy in the crew, Sheek. Jada's hook is unintentionally goofy, and can also be taken out of context very easily, which helps a lot, but the beat should have been more confrontational, M.O.P. style, given the title. Alas, I don't give a fuck, either.

6. KEEP YOUR SHIT THE HARDEST
The beat still sucks (this will be a recurring theme), but regardless of a title that sounds like it could be better used as a tagline for an anti-stool softener, DMX at least tries to engage the listener, so as a result, there's a bit more energy present on here than the song deserves.

7. COMING FROM (FEAT MARY J BLIGE)
Sounds incomplete, and Mary must have been included for the name brand recognition alone, as her hook is very weak, and her laugh is creepy in a "I've just kidnapped your family and am holding them hostage in the basement" kind of way.

8. IT'S ALL GOOD
The good news is that the beat is completely different than any we've been presented thus far. Swizz actually put his fucking keyboard down and opted to heavily sample Taana Gardner's "Heartbeat" instead, but the sample is so recognizable that you may be waiting on pins and needles for Ini Kamoze to hotstep in. The bad news is that Earl sounds awkward as shit over this type of club beat, and heaven forbid that any female receive a complement from X, as it will inevitably sound wrong.

9. THE OMEN (FEAT MARILYN MANSON)
A sequel to the first album's "Damien", but with 100% more mediocrity. Its attempts to be scary are more in line with direct-to-video slasher sequels than anything else.

10. SLIPPIN'
Whenever DMX says anything with substance (as opposed to shouting about how he doesn't give a fuck and he keeps his shit the hardest, a sure sign that he may require medical attention), he can either sound good or really really bad. "Slippin'", produced by DJ Shok, is a step in the right direction.

11. NO LOVE 4 ME (FEAT DRAG-ON & SWIZZ BEATS)
Whoever gave Swizz Beats his first Casio keyboard for Christmas should be smacked in the fucking mouth. Whoever let the fucker get behind the mic should simply hang their head in shame.

12. DOGS FOR LIFE
The song itself is no consequence, but the reference to Blood In Blood Out: Bound By Honor, one of the funniest (and entertaining as hell) gang/prison movies ever made, was a nice touch. And I say that previous sentence out of love: it's really a good movie, although it is really fucking long.

13. BLACKOUT (FEAT JAY-Z & THE LOX)
DMX upgrades his "N----s Done Started Something" posse by replacing Ma$e with arguably the biggest rap star in the genre, both in 1998 and today. The fact that Jadakiss shouts out Shawn during the intro, coupled with Jay's repetition of his mantra at the time ("You're about to witness a dynasty like no other"), leads me to believe that this was actually Jay's song first: maybe he decided to return it after hearing how fucking underwhelming the final product was.

14. FLESH OF MY FLESH, BLOOD OF MY BLOOD
While the attempt to (finally) wake up the listener is appreciated, shouldn't this track have been placed earlier in the tracklisting? If it had been, perhaps more people would still be listening right now.

15. HEAT
The hook would have sounded better had it been sung by either Glenn Frey or Asia. That is all.

16. READY TO MEET HIM
X has always been a study of contrast. He can be violent, but he is also very spiritual, although that doesn't mean that he feels bad for his violent tendencies. He'll kill you rather than deal with your issues, but he's ready to meet the Lord. He can be a good rapper, but he's usually an awful one. Here's he does alright for himself, but the sentiment is overly sappy. Kudos to Earl for not going full-on Billy Graham on us, though.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood is not a step forward for DMX, as the themes remain consistent from his debut, although if you consider the fact that the debut was just recorded and released earlier that same year, and that the label requested more of the same, it makes more sense. The problem is that DMX's second disc makes his debut sound like The White Album when compared to this mess. DMX is liked because of his style and flow, not because of his beats, although he usually manages to get one or two club bangers to shred on each album, but nothing on this album manages to sound like music at all: it's all noise, like your parents may say after hearing this shit.

BUY OR BURN? Burn if it you must, but I wouldn't. The disc has a couple of high points, but said high points don't come close to the good stuff from his debut.

BEST TRACKS: "Slippin'"

-Max

RELATED POSTS:
DMX - It's Dark and Hell Is Hot

4 comments:

  1. what a hater

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  2. Rick RudeMay 08, 2009

    u must be a fucking idiot! that album was a classic even by DMX's standards, generic maybe but never the less it was still good for its time so stop hatin like u know it all u fuckin prick

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  3. Slippin' is still the best DMX track I've ever heard imo.

    The video is quite a work also.Takes you back to them late 90's.

    I'd rate the album 7/10.

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  4. only great song on this was Bring Ya Whole Crew, not as good as 1st or 3rd albums

    ReplyDelete