The first DMX album since his death in April has been released. Exodus features appearances from JAY-Z, Nas, Bono, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, the Lox, Usher, Alicia Keys, Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine, Benny the Butcher, and DMX’s son, Exodus Simmons. Swizz Beatz produced the entire 13-track album.
This album had been in the works since last year, well before DMX's stroke. News of his collaboration with Bono leaked in February and got the streets buzzing about its release.
DMX had just turned 50 and come home, resigning a deal with his first label, Def Jam. He reunited with one of his best friends, and starmaker producers, Swizz Beatz, for this album. Things were looking up. And then the relapse, OD, and stroke happened. Just a really sad situation.
This album was intended to revive DMX's career. There are more guest appearances in these 13 records than on his first three albums combined. They obviously phoned in every favor they could between Swizz and X. They even deaded old grudges. Jay-Z, who DMX once described as his “arch-nemesis”, is featured on "Bath Salt", along with Nas, which if you told me in 2000 would happen I woulda pissed my pants in excitement. Plus there’s a fresh generation of new rappers including recent US chart-topper Moneybagg Yo.
The album starts out with DMX’s old school New York rawness shining through on songs like “That’s My Dog,” and “Hood Blues.”
As the album goes on, it gets bleaker and sadder. The 70s soul sounding "Walking in the Rain" returns to one of DMX’s traditional themes, dissecting his own mental health issues. "Letter to My Son", is heartbreaking to listen to with its warnings to stay away from drugs, clearly intended to reference DMX’s own demons, the Usher-sung chorus – “Dear father, you should have been there when I needed you” really hits home.
The album highlights DMX's true, raw talent and bookends an incredible career. R.I.P.