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Flesh of my Flesh, Blood of my Blood.
on November 3, 2002
If you're looking for "It's dark and hell is hot" Part 2 you may be disappointed with this one. Which makes me wonder why only 7 months after that legendary debut album he released this, he could've just rested on his laurels, the Hard Knock Life Tour w/ Jay-Z was about to happen and a few months later the first Ruff Ryders compilation , "Ryde or Die: Volume 1" was coming out. I can remeber many fans (myself included) who were confused with this sudden follow-up. There were the old and new DMX albums, yet the first one was released last May!
That said, this is an extremely strong album in it's own light. "Slippin" was a somewhat poor choice for a first single in that it was mellow. The opener "My Niggaz" is a semi-skit with a nice keyboard line. Speaking of skits, there's only one more on the entire album, "Pac-Man" which is the perfect compliment to "Mickey" off his debut. DMX's superb flow accompanies the beats well.Trouble maker Damien returns for "The omen", which features a terrific background noise inspired by a Heart rate machine at a hospital. Marilyn Manson, like him or not, sings the chorus. Some may complain that "It's all good" is a bit cliched, but it goes along with his "I don't give a" attitude. There's a clever use of the Tania Gardner "Heartbeat"/"Turnaround" bass line.
The afforementioned "Slippin" is good. X once again employs a female singer with a pretty voice to sing the background vocals.
On "No love 4 me" he continues to demonstrate his lyrical prowess, along with help from fellow Ruff Ryder Drag-ON, who also rips it. Next is my favorite song on the whole CD "Dogs for life" which is widely overlooked in the DMX catalog, it contains deep introspective lyrics from Dark Man and he even speaks a little Spanish. Es Loco, Muy Bien! The organ and piano from Swizz Beatz is top notch. Following that is "Blackout", which ranks alongside Noreaga's "Banned from t.v" among all-time greatest posse cuts. Hey, the L.O.X also appeared on that song, they're batting .1000. Jay-Z has an ice verse and of course X drives it all home with his patented "Grrrrrrrrrr." I always looked at that track as a warm-up for Jay and DMX, preceding their Succesful tour. The title track has an interesting solo at the end, I'm not sure what instrument it is. I enjoy the line saying "Matter of fact I think I'll drop another song tonight" Meaning he doesn't care if it gets 5 Mics in the Source; He's satisfied with it, which ranks above all in terms of importance.
I gotta give credit to that skill, he can rush a tune without making it sound half-assed.
The weakest track on the album beat-wise is "Heat". I think Sheek sings the chorus, though I'm note, The liner notes don't credit anyone, but maybe that adds to it's mysterious-ness.
He gives a shout-out to Boomer, his pet dog who got hit by a van, the words "One love Boomer" are tattooed on DMX' back.
The closer to the record is "Ready to meet him" an epic, spiritual cut that starts out with the expected prayer. This differs from his other albums because the prayer and song are combined as one track. Whereas usually there seperate. If you're not familiar these songs are highly emotional with DMX talking to the lord, voiced by himself. There's scenarios like "Thou shall not kill/but what if he's trying to kill me?" That wordplay paints an eery picture that rolls up smoothly alongside Swizz' Creepy, haunting background melody. This ending track is over 7-minutes long, and unlike It's dark and hell is hot, there's no quick message from DMX to finish the album, I'm not saying that's good or bad, just different.
The actual disc is a little less fancy then the first one, and at first I hated this albums cover, Now it's tied with the debut for number #1, to be honest if he had this cover on his first album, it probably would've been less popular.
Admittedly this album as a whole is just a notch below It's Dark and hell is hot, and this arrived only a short time after it's precursor, still, it shouldn't be overlooked, give this a listen when you get the chance.