DMX has always considered himself part-dog, and it appears he’s been employing his k-9 brain as of late. The controversial rapper just said he would call out Jay-Z to faceoff against him in the popular Instagram Verzuz battle.
The platform has pitted hip-hop legends such as Timbaland & Swizz Beats and DJ Premier & the RZA against each other in a song-for-song battle royale. No battle, however, would be so lopsided as DMX trying to keep pace with Jay-Z.
While you could argue that this is a brilliant move for DMX to get a jolt of publicity, most evidence points to his ‘brilliant’ days being long gone.
The Yonkers rapper had an impressive run in the late-90s and early 2000s. At a time when diamonds, ice, and cars dominated hip-hop, DMX brought it back to the grimy street-level. And fans were ready.
His first three albums debuted at no. 1 on the Billboard charts. Unfortunately, according to Billboard, DMX hasn’t released a top 100 single since 2003.
The only thing sadder than his musical decline has been his strange struggles outside of music. In 2004, DMX crashed into a gate at JFK Airport then impersonated a federal agent. Police found crack cocaine and various other drugs in the rapper’s vehicle. In 2005, he crashed into a police car. In 2008 he had no idea who Barack Obama was. In the same year, he tried to use a fake ID to avoid paying medical bills. In short, the man has some issues.
But, calling out Jay-Z might be one of his craziest stunts yet.
These two rappers might’ve been comparable during those four years when DMX was relevant, but Jay-Z’s brilliance spans decades. He was releasing classic albums before, during, and after DMX’s short stint at the top.
You could argue that Jay-Z could defeat DMX’s entire catalog with his Blueprint album alone. When you throw in classics like Reasonable Doubt, The Black Album, and Vol 2…Hard Knock Life, Jay-Z is light years ahead of his would-be competitor.
Jay-Z has an inventory with variety. He has club classics like “Big Pimpin” and “Dirt Off Ya Shoulder.” He has street anthems like “Hard Knock Life” and “Dead Presidents.” Jay even has softer gems like “Song Cry” and “Empire State of Mind.”
While DMX was great at what he did, most of his hits were either party jams like “Party Up (Up in Here)” or street classics like “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem.” Those songs are great, but he just doesn’t have the same range.
When rappers all too often get lazy with their lyrics, Jay-Z has consistently brought the heat. When he’s not barking, DMX’s lyrics aren’t bad. And that’s not good enough.
It’s hard not to root for DMX. The man has been through a lot. He’s fallen from grace, he’s found God, and he’s undeniably entertaining. Hopefully, he finds his way.
But his life will not get any easier going toe-to-toe with Jay-Z. He should call out another respectable rapper who had a nice run, like Busta Rhymes or Ja Rule.
Disagree? Feel free to join the conversation by voting “angry” for DMX and “happy” for Jay-Z below.