DMX – “Exodus 1:7” review

This is the 8th & final full-length outing from Yonkers icon DMX, whom originally started off as a beatboxer for Ready Ron as a teenager in the mid-80s. However it wasn’t until 1998 when X saved Def Jam Recordings from bankruptcy by dropping 2 of the most critically acclaimed hip hop albums of that decade back to back: It’s Dark & Hell’s Hot and Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood. The follow-up …And Then There Was X at the tail-end of the next year was just as great in my opinion but from there, the next 4 albums from Ruff Ryders Entertainment’s flagship artist would range from average at best or hideous at worst. But after completing Exodus 1:7 just before his unfortunate passing 7 weeks back, Swizz Beatz & Def Jam are coming together to release it publicly.

The araabMUZIK co-produced “That’s My Dog” with The LOX kicks the album off as a misty ode to friendship whereas the next track “Bath Salt” with both JAY-Z & Nas is an aggressive, blaring theme for the streets. We get a cool sample of “California My Way” by The Main Ingredient on “Dog’s Out” as Lil Wayne joins X to wreak havoc on the mic whereas the Moneybagg Yo assisted “Money Money Money” is a weak attempt at trying to get a radio hit despite it’s Phantom of the Opera-esque production.

Meanwhile on “Hold Me Down”, we go into a more electro direction as X alludes to spirituality just before doing his own version of an unreleased Swizz/Kanye collab that is “Skyscrapers” co-produced by the underappreciated Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis. After the “Stick Up” skit, the almighty Griselda comes along for “Hood Blues” as the 4 reminisce on their come-up whilst sampling “Shady Blues” by Lee Mason before things take a turn into a more romantic direction as X & Snoop Dogg jump on a “Sexual Healing” sample provided for the mR. pOrTeR co-produced “Take Control”.

Nas is re-enlisted for the meditative yet uplifting “Walking in the Rain” & after the titular skit, the penultimate track “Letter to My Son” finishes off the album by making a guitar-tinged tribute to X’s youngest son Exodus (whom the album was named after). To round it out, the “Prayer” outro is a spoken word piece that asks God to always look after us whether it be good times or bad times.

Anyone who’s been following me long enough probably already knows my stance on posthumous albums, so I’m not gonna get too deep into it. That being said, Exodus 1:7 is absolutely amongst the better ones out there. I understand some heads might be turned off by the large amount of features going into it which I understand because that tends to be the case with a lot of posthumous albums, but you can definitely tell this was completed before X’s passing because every joint sounds fully fleshed out & he actually has chemistry with those who contributed. Rest In Peace to the Dog!

Score: 3.5/5

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