DMX was the type of MC that lived and breathed Hip Hop. From his unique cadence to his New York swagger to his barking/screaming ad-libs; Dark Man X was the epitome of Hip Hop for a specific period of time. From 1998-2005, you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing his trademark bark and his gruff voice. In this way, X was one of the best featured guests in Hip Hop history. DMX brought it every-time. Whether it was a posse cut or just a chorus, X gave it everything he had and you could feel it coming through your speakers. As I look back on his life, I couldn’t help but remember all the performances he gave to songs that weren’t his own. These are my personal favorite DMX features.
My Favorite DMX Features
1. Money, Cash, Hoes by Jay-Z f/ DMX
Young Jay and young X is an all-time combination. Before the beef and before the fame really hit, this song features two emcees hungry and ready to take over the rap game. Gotta love the ab-lips by X throughout too.
2. Go To Sleep by Eminem, Obie Trice and DMX (Cradle 2 the Grave Soundtrack)
This is probably the verse I know best from X. I used to have a “pump up” mix that I would play in my portable CD player before basketball games (I know I’m old). “X Gon’ Give it To You” was the first track on it. “Go To Sleep” was second. I’d put my headphones on and my energy level would fly through the roof. As a result, I’d walk on the court muttering “die motherfucker die” for my parochial league games and I’m surprised I didn’t get kicked out right then and there. One of the best DMX features in my opinion.
3. Rollin’ (Urban Assault Vehicle) by Limp Bizkit f/ DMX, Redman and Method Man (The Fast and the Furious Soundtrack)
If we can just move past the fact that this is a Limp Bizkit song and look at the lineup, you gotta appreciate it. X brings it on his verse with his classic start and stop flow with lines like “And at the funeral you won’t need a casket (Uh!) // Leavin’ just enough of him to stuff in a basket.” Any track that features DMX, Redman and Method Man is incredible despite the fact Fred Durst is way too prevalent here.
4. Money, Power & Respect by The Lox f/ DMX & Lil’ Kim
X closes out this Lox classic in a way only he can. Classic verse, classic song and a track that when we look back on X’s life, was a pivotal moment in his career.
5. 4, 3, 2, 1 by LL Cool J f/ Method Man, Redman, DMX & Canibus
One of my favorite rap songs of all time. It’s perfect from top to bottom. DMX was ideally suited for posse cuts like this because the moment he comes on a record, he’s recognizable immediately. “Stay out the dark, cause if I catch you when the sun is down
Run it clown, come up off that, or I’m gon’ gun it down”.
6. Shut ‘Em Down by Onyx f/ DMX
When I think of X, I tend to gravitate towards songs like this. Hard-hitting, explicit lyrics and verses that try and take your head off. Case in point: “Hey yo I bet you this motherfuckin’ double barrel will blast his face // Be on the look out for a basket case”. DMX was ideally suited for this track and steals the show.
7. Tear it Up by Yung Wun f/ DMX, Lil’ Flip & David Banner
I’m not sure if I should really count this track as one of DMX best features if he’s only on the hook and intro. However, his barking is present throughout, the hook makes you want to run through a brick wall and his general aura and energy is felt throughout this track without even getting a verse. (Side note: Yung Wun really fumbled an all-time co-sign with David Banner and Swizz Beats handling production on his album.)
8. Why We Die by Busta Rhymes f/ DMX & Jay-Z
DMX always rapped in his own style and it worked on everything. Even on songs with guys like Busta and Hov, X managed to stand out. This song also acts as a time capsule for the state of rap at that time. What a time to be alive.
9. 24 Hours to Live by Ma$e f/ The LOX, Black Rob and DMX
I don’t know if you readers have noticed but DMX tends to finish out most of these songs. Posse cuts in Hip Hop typically save the best verse for last. However, I think X was such a great closer because every single verse he wrote contained his whole heart and soul. You could feel the energy. The Mariano Rivera of rap.
10. It’s Murda by Ja Rule f/ Jay-Z & DMX
Yet on the flip side… if you put X in that lead off spot, you were guaranteed a banger. The way his growl comes through with the beat is iconic and the verse that follows is incredible. Despite the beef between these three and the what could have been vibes this songs give off; it’s still a banger and a pivotal moment in all three artists careers.
11. Scream Double R by Eve f/ DMX
Let’s end this post on a high note. X and Eve were one of the most dynamic duo’s in rap at the time. DMX’s Ruff Ryders crew was recognizable everywhere they went. With the “double R” logo on shirts, chains and motorcycles; this was a moment in time where DMX and double R could do no wrong. Looking back on DMX’s legacy, that logo will go down in Hip Hop history.
Thanks for rocking with me on this playlist. It’s hard to believe we won’t hear DMX’s iconic barking ever again but his legacy will live on through his own music and the features he blessed his fellow emcees with. Check out the whole playlist below or on Spotify.