Top positive review
5 of 6 people found this helpful
Best Album of 2003, No Debate
on 13 March 2004
Earl 'DMX' Simmons does it again. After a two year absence, DMX returns with what was to be his final album 'Grand Champ'; and it's one hell of a return. Over the last six years, DMX has consistently proven to be one of hip-hop's biggest players, injecting all his material with the token enthusiasm and aggression that first got him noticed, and producing some of the all time great rap anthems. This album is right up there with 'It's Dark and Hell is Hot' and 'Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood', but somehow even manages to surpass those classics.
Some have criticised his overuse of explicit language and some have even dared to say that his subject matter is repetitive; what they failed to mention is that virtually no other rapper projects so much of their soul and character into their raps as DMX does. This album is no exception, as every single song, of which there are 19 (plus 5 skits), stands out as a truly innovative piece of work.
DMX shows here that he doesn't need to recruit the likes of The Neptunes in order to garner interest and record sales, and instead gets the producers he knows best to pepper the album with hot beats and diverse production. Old faces such as Swizz Beatz, Dame Grease and Rockwilder make a welcome return, as well as new recruits Tuneheadz, Kayne West, and Shatek King, to name but a few. And with each different producer comes a different flavour, ranging from the fiery aggression of Tuneheadz' 'Where the Hood At', to the sinister bass of Salaam Wreck's 'Shot Down' to the soulfoul collaboration joint 'Ain't Gotta go Home', which perfectly blends Monica's silky smooth singing voice with X's gruff street slanging.
Of course there are some joints that aren't so hot, namely 'My Life' and 'F**k Y'all', but the hot joints totally eclipse these weaker sections. To summarise, here's a breakdown and verdict of each song:
1. Dog Intro: Odd build up, but great verse. 4/5
2. My Life: Incredibly repetitive verse - chorus structure. 2/5
3. Where the Hood At: Awesome track, typical DMX. 5/5
4. Dogs Out: Bafflingly good sample work from K West. 4/5
5. Get it on the Floor: The album's party piece. Thumping. 5/5
7. Shot Down: Darkness personified, verging on frightening. 4/5
8. Bring the Noize: Quite similar to 'Where the hood At'. 4/5
9. Untouchable: A brilliant Ruff Ryders collabo track. Ace. 5/5
10. F**k Y'all: Quite poor. Nuff said. 2/5
12. We're Back: Excellent production. 5/5
14. Rob All Night: Dodgy beat and re-use of older lyrics. 3/5
15. We Go Hard: Not keen on the tune, or Cam'Ron for that matter. 3/5
16. We 'Bout to Blow: Ace music, Big Stan is awesome. 5/5
17. The Rain: Similar to 'My Life', but not as repetitive. 3/5
19. Don't Gotta Go Home: Just awesome. Incredibly soulful. 5/5
20. A'Yo Kato: Heartfelt tribute to a lost friend. 4/5
21. Thank You: Another soulful joint, maybe a little loud though. 4/5
23. On Top: A bit like a bonus track, but still great. 4/5
24. X Gon' Give it to Ya: Just ace. But strangely censored(!). 5/5
So there you go. People who doubted that DMX could make a comeback after a two year absence have been put in their place. I just hope that he sticks with his decision not to retire, as the game needs more artists like DMX. Long live the king.