DMX has seen a lot throughout his 28-year rap career. The Yonkers representative is still the only rapper, living or dead, to see his first five albums consecutively debut at number one on the Billboard 200. He was on top of the world until he wasn't.
Rap has gone through several sea changes over the past 28 years, and DMX has surveyed all of them. When asked about the challenges of making new music during a recent interview with Mark Anthony Green of GQ, the veteran recording artist said he holds himself to the same standard now that he did when It's Dark And Hell Is Hot came out in 1998: Be better than the competition.
"The standard that I hold myself to is the same: Better than everything I hear. I need to be better than everything that I hear. And I can hear it. They winning with that? Oh, I'm good. If you don't give people something incredible to listen to, they're going to listen to whatever. And I get that. I'm not mad at the fans for enjoying these songs, or the DJs for playing songs they play. I'm not mad at them or the artists that's winning even though they suck. I'm not mad at them." —DMX
In the currently oversaturated music market, DMX's words hold a lot of weight. It's easier than ever to game the algorithms and put the cheapest product in front of the most eyes. Everybody's gotta eat. But in that same breath, quality will always continue to find its audience.
When asked who his favorite newer artists are, X's answer was simple: "Kendrick [Lamar] is dope. J. Cole. Ya know, lyricists."
DMX is currently working on new music for Def Jam Recordings.