DMX was to start functioning soon.
Nearing 50, after spending a year in prison for tax evasion, the rapper signed a new deal with his old label, Def Jam, and was set to make his debut album in nearly a decade. His bark remained ruthless in the studio. But DMX, who had been battling drug addiction for a long time, knew that he had gained some weight as well and was feeling self-conscious.
“At first he felt his look was off,” said Swizz Beatz, a longtime friend and producer of DMX. But as the recording process progressed, the rapper came into his own and stopped caring. “He wanted people to post videos of him dancing,” the producer said. “His confidence was back and that’s what we needed to complete the album.” A two-month strict diet plan with a personal trainer was the next step.
But the full DMX return never came. On 9 April, a week after a heart attack, the artist was born Earl Simmons died in White Plains, NY, hospitalThe world of hip-hop was stunned. in between Rain of grief And Appreciation, Def Jam, announced that “Exodus,” DMX’s eighth album – and their first on the label since 2003 – would still see the light of day, with Swizz Beatz as its manager and executive producer.
On Friday, the 13 tracks on “Exodus” feature DMX’s permanent snoring and veteran psyche with guest appearances by Jay-Z, Nas, Bono, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg and Alicia Keys. And although the album begins with DMX’s trademark New York Rawnes on songs like “That’s My Dog,” “Bath Salts” and “Hood Blues,” the album speaks to DMX about his lifelong struggle over his children mournful violin. ” Letter to “My son.” And then he prays.
This week, Swizz Beatz discusses the process of recording “Exodus” and the responsibility he felt in driving DMX’s career, both in life and death. These are edited excerpts of the conversation.
Is it pain or pleasure to listen to this music now?
It is a pleasure. Am i in pain Yes. But I am hiding in the cracks of creativity, staying strong so that I can make it to the finish line and give people what they wanted. The whole plan was. This was their reconstruction – physically, spiritually and mentally. He was devoted. You know, showed it to the studio at 12 o’clock. We will be finished by 4.
Will you record during the day?
You need it in the daytime. Night time is just – there may be many things going on in his mind at that time. A lot of people gathered around him. So I loved catching her before that. It was like a job. We had never done anything like that for over 13 years, that kind of solidarity in the studio every day.
How was it to do dmx Snoop. With Verzuz Last year? Was this where it all started?
I definitely had to be patient with Verzuz with him, as he is a real war rapper. He is like, “I’m trying to cut off someone’s head.” And I was like, “Uh …” But I gave him some time to understand the concept, and then when he understood that it was a celebration with two people who respected each other, two people Unlike biting the head, he surrounds it.
After that Verzuzu, He was just ready, he felt loved by the people – from the fans, from his teammates. This put him in a very celebratory mood. We stayed at Snoop’s studio and finished the album. It is as if we took that energy and bottled it and put it on the dresser. And we came to the studio and touched the bottle everyday. Snoop will cook for us. X felt comfortable.
A lot of rappers are not putting albums at 50. What goals did you discuss for this comeback?
I wanted to take him to the level he wanted to be, except for the trials and tribulations he has been dealing with since he was 14 years old. He still had more gas in the car. And it was like, man, we can still play in the race. So the features feel like it, from Bono to Alicia Keys to Lil Wayne to Jay-Z and NAS. Around him is a supporting cast of people who are at that level of greatness.
Friends like you, 50, Dre, Jay, NAS – you are capable of making changes in technology, art, fashion, business. X never really got that chance. Did you both talk about this?
He was definitely in a business mind this time. X is a very simple person, not a materialist – he just wants to take care of his family, play with remote-control cars, ride four-wheelers. But he is a great writer and he was writing these TV shows.
Did you feel any responsibility or guilt with him, because you have been so successful in the later stages of your career?
One thousand percent. I did not fall asleep knowing that she was not at her full potential. Because X is fighting his habit from 14, when the world first heard X, he was fighting the same battle. Not that it came later. We can all be busy in this world, but I can’t be more busy for that. I have closed all my projects. I was like, I fix it. He was a driver for me, because X created a lot of opportunities for a lot of people, including me.
We have lost X in the last few months, Shock Ji And Black rob. So many hip-hop giants are barely out of their 40s and 50s. Do you think the industry and your fellow black artists put in enough effort to take care of them as they age?
I don’t think it’s set up that way. We have to take responsibility personally. We cannot wait for an industry to change. We have to take responsibility and give artists that we respect and examine their flowers and try to make some kind of plan.
The founders of hip-hop need to be on the jet every day. We need to do something where we pay the dues to the founders. How will we own culture and we are not doing what we should have done? We should not depend on other people or any type of corporation to protect us. We got enough people together. Everyone is talking about millions and crores and billions – there are not too many people who are the founders of Hip-Hop. They should get at least one million dollars annually among everyone. Just out of respect.
What did you learn about addiction around DMX?
Although X had an addiction, I never noticed his addiction – I saw him as a human and I knew so many aspects of him that overshadowed the addiction for me. It felt as if something had happened when bored. I knew that he was a gentleman and I knew him for his greatness and I never judged him based on his addiction. I always talked to him, but I never told him what to do. I never asked him to go to rehab.
Do you wish you had
He knew what he had to do. I would have a separate conversation with him, encouraging him to go to a place where he could do what he really wanted for himself and his children. The way I treated X was very gentle. That’s how I reached her. I talked to him like a human being – not a rapper, not a drug addict, but as a good person.
As far as you knew, was it clear when you guys were working?
Yes, so he gained so much weight. I was making fun of him, but at the same time I was happy.
When did you guys break up?
We finished the album about two months before he left us. He called me one day and I was going from the country to Saudi Arabia and he said, “Man, I need to be with you. I want to be next to your energy.” I like, X never says that. I said, “Thing is, you should come on a trip now.” I’m leaving in two days. “He said,” Well, how long is the flight? “” 17 hours. “He said,” Umm, I don’t know if I want to be so close to you! ” [Laughs]
Of course, I did not hear back from him. I get there and he writes to me and says, “All I want to tell you is that I am grateful for everything you have done for me” – just from anywhere. I said, “I appreciate you too, love for life.” And I sent him the Mr. Magic “Rap Attack” playlist, which I found online of old-school hip-hop. That was the last time we talked.
Were you in Saudi Arabia when you heard?
I have never seen rain in Saudi Arabia – it rained all day. I could not get up from bed, I broke into hives.
Do you think he was tense about the idea of this comeback?
No, I think he was excited for it. But I know that when he comes to New York, there is not always a good environment for him. There are all the demons here.
Posthumous albums can be complicated. “Exodus” did not have a release date before DMX passed. Do you think it would have been difficult to put the label behind this album if he were alive?
Def Jam has been very supportive. Every request, I have not heard “no” yet and it is very rare, especially when you are working with an older artist.
How do you avoid the presence of trying to capitalize on someone’s death?
I just know what the truth is. The honor is there. Also helping with the funeral – Def Jam helped with the funeral. They simply did not talk about it, which I felt is classy.
What happened to the Pop Smoke collaboration that people expected from this album?
We had to remove it from the record. He used the poem on something else, which is good. I put a moneybag yo on the song. But this is an album that he did perfectly while he was alive. This is not something we put together because she is no longer here. These are the songs he approved. The only thing that has changed is pop smoke.
When you lose someone, often old memories come back, things you hadn’t thought about for years. Are you doing this with x?
I act like I’m strong and I hide with music, but I’m hurt. I can hear now “Stop, drop” Ever since he has passed – I am recovering with playing it right now. And the reason I am okay with it is because he came to me in my dream and was watching “South Park”. It was his favorite show.
We always did mischief with each other, so in the dream I ran after him and shook him to try to scare him. He just started laughing. She turned around and we started wrestling like how we would do – game-fighting, pinning each other on the floor. He got up and grabbed both my arms and saw me dead in my eyes and nodded like, I’m good – don’t worry me i’m good. He felt that he was about to cry. He turned and walked into a room and the door closed. And then I woke up.
Any other X stories that have been popping your mind lately?
Just a weird one – me and Jadakiss were talking about it. He would rent a car – imagine Avis or whatever going and renting a Cadillac truck and you take a Cadillac truck to take new rims on it and wrap it up. A fare. For weekends only. X was comfortable like that. “It’s mine for the weekend, so I want it to look like I want to see it!”
And he will leave it back to Avis?
With rims and everything. They would be like, “What is this?” And he’s like, “Understand this!”