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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DMX - An Instant Classic
The first time I picked this CD up was at my friends house over 2 years' ago. I'd never even heard of DMX, but I wanted to give it a chance, like I give all music. That night I walked out a changed guy. Later that week I made a stop at the store and picked up the best CD I ever bought. Every track is a masterpiece, from the intro, to the finely tuned skits. One by...
Published on August 10, 2001 by Jeff LeBlanc

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Escobar syndrome
With as much hype surrounding "Darkman X," i finally decided to buy his first CD. Although I have always liked him, i was always leary of Ruff Ryder releases because of the redundant (and often times annoying)production of Swiss Beats. Let's just say i got what i payed for.
the intro has a 2 and 1/2 min. cut on the end, were X shout "were my dogs...
Published on April 12, 2001 by gaz-l


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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DMX - An Instant Classic, August 10, 2001
By 
Jeff LeBlanc (Center Moriches, NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: It's Dark & Hell Is Hot (Audio CD)
The first time I picked this CD up was at my friends house over 2 years' ago. I'd never even heard of DMX, but I wanted to give it a chance, like I give all music. That night I walked out a changed guy. Later that week I made a stop at the store and picked up the best CD I ever bought. Every track is a masterpiece, from the intro, to the finely tuned skits. One by one, Earl Simmons created a conditioned work of art that cannot be topped. The "Ruff Ryders' Anthem" is an urban classic, with a raw sound and beat that still bangs in parties and clubs today. Another hit, "Get At Me Dog" is another rough, and urban sound, which can get anyone's adrenaline soaring. Important messages are detailed throughout songs such as "Damien", which has some of the most well constructed lyrics I've ever come accross. Other tracks such as "Stop Being Greedy" and "ATF" relect on DMX's past street life, which can grab your attention and never let go. Softer cuts such as "How's It Goin' Down", "The Convo", and the infamous "Prayer" show DMX's softer side, and take away some of the anger and angst that is heard throughout all of the other tracks. This will forever remain a classic in the hip hop industry. It re-opened numerous doors for the east coast rap business, and hip-hop in general. This is one disc you cannot be without - satisfaction guaranteed.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DMX's First Album Was His Best Album, April 24, 2006
By 
This review is from: It's Dark & Hell Is Hot (Audio CD)
DMX came on the scene in 1998 with his first album "It's Dark and Hell is Hot". This album still remains one of my favorite hardcore rap albums of all time. DMX came out straight grimey on this one, dropping extreme rhymes over some gritty production. During the same year X dropped "Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood" (which is a great album, but it doesn't quite measure up to this one), "And Then There Was X" in 1999, "The Great Depression" in 2001, and "Grand Champ" in 2003 (by far his worst album to date). Darkman X started to slip after "FOMFBOMB" but never completely fell off. "Here We Go Again" is scheduled to drop sometime in the next 10 years, but an exact release date is uncertain. However, this album remains his best to date, and hasn't been topped by X yet.

The album starts off with an intro. The next track is the widely known "Ruff Ryders Anthem". "Stop, drop, shut em down open up shop, ohhhh, noooo, that's how Ruff Ryders rooollll" When you hear this song you just gotta sing along to it. What more can I say about it? "F*ckin Wit D'" brings X's energy out to the fullest, especially on the hook. If this song doesn't get you hype I don't know what will. His rugged voice matching with his energetic flow is crazy on this one. "Look Thru My Eyes" is a track about why he does what he does. He's telling you to look at where he came from, and see if you wouldn't be exactly like him. "Get At Me Dog" is all about being a killer. "Let Me Fly" is one of the best tracks on here (honestly that doesn't really say much considering most of these tracks are great). It's more of an introspective track, and the chorus is stellar. I found this on repeat often. "X Is Coming" is just straight grimey. The beat is dark and creepy, and X provides some extremely hardcore lyrics. The chorus uses the song that's from A Nightmare on Elm Street (that "One, Two, Freddy's comin' for you" except Freddy is replaced with X). I love it! "Damien" is one of my favorite songs of all time. It's part 1 to a 3-part series, where the second part, entitled The Omen is found on FOMFBOMB, and Damien III is found on And Then There Was X. On this track, X meets Damien (really the devil) and Damien lures him into doing crime and being evil. However, DMX runs into a tight spot by the end of the track. This one is a classic. "How's It Goin Down" switches things up a bit, where X raps to the ladies. It's more mellow than the rest, but the song is tight nonetheless. "Crime Story" is just that, a crime story with a laidback beat and laidback rapping as well. "Stop Being Greedy" is another hardcore track, "ATF" is a shorter, freestyle type track, again about crime. This is fast paced with an intensified flow.

"For My Dogs" is a standout track for me because partially, in a way, I can relate to it. It's about being there for your friends, or "dawgs" as many MC's put it, and to be ready to lay anyone down for messing with them. I'm just like this; nobody better mess with my friends or they're messing with me. I'll lay it all on the line for them which is what this song is about. "I Can Feel It" is another emotional song. It samples Phil Collins' In the Air Tonight, and his lyrics are exceptional. "Prayer" is a VERY emotional skit. DMX has a talk with God on this skit, there's no music, just X spilling out his heart. I'm an atheist myself, but I was almost moved by this skit. It's just powerful. His voice is strong. "The Convo" is another good song. I like the chorus on this one. The lyrics are good too. "Niggas Done Started Somethin" wraps the album up exceptionally.

It's Dark and Hell is Hot is an almost perfect album in my honest opinion. DMX has a nice blend of introspective, hardcore, and emotional tracks, and it doesn't get redundant as some of his later albums did. This is DMX in his rawest form; he never quite reached this level again with his other albums. His lyrics are great throughout the whole album and the production is rugged and dark. Hip Hop needed a hardcore album like this to slow Puffy's Bad Boy bubblegum pop-rap movement down. Don't overlook this album if you don't already have it. It's worth a purchase. Definitely a 5 star classic.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Has one thing his other albums don't have--VARIETY, March 5, 2003
By 
This review is from: It's Dark & Hell Is Hot (Audio CD)
I can definitely call this album a classic because it shows his versatility ("Stop Being Greedy" and "Damien" finds him rapping in different voices, while "How's It Going Down" is a successful joint for the ladies), his religious manner without being too preachy ("Let Me Fly"), and his energy, of course ("Ruff Ryders Anthem", "Get at Me Dog", "F'n Wit D" and "N'z Done Started Something"). On the latter song, Mase and The Lox guest starred on there to show everyone that they weren't no shiny suit rappers from Bad Boy. DMX also tells good stories on "ATF" and "Crime Story". On every album following this one, all of his songs have too many "What?"'s and "Come On!"'s, too many Swizz beats that derived from Casio, and too many songs that sound like rejects from this album.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dmx da greatest, November 28, 1999
This review is from: It's Dark & Hell Is Hot (Audio CD)
All I have to say is Dmx is the greatest and this cd is awesome. All of yall out there that hate Dmx are just stupid. X's voice is incredible. I love it. No matter what anyone says I will always love Dmx's music and if anyone wants to listen to some real rap you need to go out and buy this cd eventhough it is a little old. You won't be able to stop playing it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent debut album..., January 7, 2003
By 
Karl (Lansing, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: It's Dark & Hell Is Hot (Audio CD)
So, I've heard noise about DMX for a little while now, but I didn't pay any real attention to him until LL's "4,3,2,1." Even with the LL-Canibus backstory, I think I liked his verse the best.
"Believe what I tell ya
Don't make me put ya somewhere
where nobody can smell ya"
It was definitely a different style, if nothing else. Since then, he's shown up quite a bit, releasing "Get At Me Dog" and "Stop Being Greedy," both very in-ya-face, hardcore and quite nice. Now, he's finally dropped his album, aptly titled It's Dark and Hell is Hot.
I think my biggest fear was that his little "arf, arf" barking would wear thin quickly, and then we'd find out that there was nothing else to him. Mind you, there was no fear that he wouldn't be able to make bank. DMX posters are all over the place; he's plugged into the hype machine in a serious way. He'll make money for Def Jam, no doubt.
Of course this is a double-edged sword. Like Snoop, he risks being overhyped. If expectations are too high, he'll disappoint the headz regardless of the quality of his effort. Also, let's face it: if the underground decides he's too commerical, they'll run away in droves. It won't affect this month's paycheck, but it might affect next year's when he's no longer MTV's current flash, and he'll find he has no core audience.
Anyway, I'm here to report that there's more to DMX that an occassional bark, and loud production. DMX has some serious lyrical skill and a very nice flow. This is a solid album, with only a few weak tracks. There's a hint of real talent here, and even at its weakest, It's Dark and Hell is Hot has a lot of energy and lyrical niceitivity.
All is not perfect, though. There are at least two problems. First off, despite the skillz, every once in a while I think I'm listening to Strictly 4 My Niggaz. That's not completely bad--I loved the album--but it does make me do a double take.
Second, while I appreciate that he's essentially taken up the street gangsta mantle of early 2Pac and early Ice Cube--and the hardcore production style that went with it--one sometimes feel there isn't enough of a self-aware political and social conscious. I appreciate an angry voice as much as anyone, but the gangsta nihilism that underlies some of this work is as empty as the big willie silliness that's been taking over mainstream hiphop. As a result, the first person irony of OG: Original Gangsta or Death Certificate seems to be missing sometimes.
Let me be careful, tho'. I'm not suggesting that there is no message here. There is quite a bit of a point or two, certainly after we hit track nine, "Damien". I also wouldn't suggest that DMX has no care other than rappin' about bangin'. Sometimes you have to listen carefully, but he definitely tries to give the impression that he does care, especially towards the last half, as we shall see. On the other hand, there's something about this album that makes It's Dark and Hell Is Hot far darker and sometimes even meaner than it needs to be. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it's there.
Anyway, DMX should have ended here, but instead he ended it with another of the damn posse cuts. Whatever. Let's pretend he did, and "Niggaz Done Started Something" never happened... or maybe happened earlier in the album, and I've already dissected every single line.
There, that was fun.
Okay, before we wrap this up, I should point out that some of you who act now will find a bonus CD with your copy of It's Dark and Hell is Hot. It's called Survival of the Illest and features Ja on "Intro," an Onyx album samples, Def Squad on "Full Cooperation," Cormega, and LL Cool J's "The Ripper Strikes Back." I'd review them, but this has gone on too long as it is.
So, then, the bottom line.
I know that there are some that have been disappointed by this album, and I think I understand why. Still, the truth is, this is really a nice effort. There are some really inventive lyrics throughout, phat presentation and except for a couple of bad choices, the production is tight. If you like gangsta stuff, you'll probably like this. If you're tired of that, then you'll probably hate it. It's fairly simple.
There are three types of tracks here: (1) the in-ya-face punching bag gangsta as bragster, (2) the street stories, and (3) the rest of it. DMX is best known for (1) but I think he's best at (2). The other stuff, I really couldn't care much less about, but I'm all up on the the stories and even the gangsta-bragger. Phat stuff this, kid.
I suggest that you give a serious listen to "Crime Story," "Let Me Fly," "ATF," and "Damien." Then try "Stop Being Greedy," "X-Is Coming," and "Get at Me Dog." Go through those a while, then try "Look Thru My Eyes," "Prayer," and "The Convo." Now give the whole album a listen. This is not quite an all-time classic, but I think you'll find that this was a worth every penny and you'll be playing him for quite a while.
DMX is the natural child of our gangsta eighties. He's the early Ice Cube and breakout 2Pac that so many of us liked and with whom we identified. He's living on the east side, but whatever, it's all the same.
Well, almost. On one level, I really like this album. DMX is a real talent, with a slightly familiar style, but one that at the end is all his own. The production is usually tight, and I appreciate the energy behind his delivery as much as I appreciate the thought behind his rhymes.
On the other hand, this album is like its title. It's dark. Even when he's practically pleading--as in "Prayer"--there's a cold and very scary detachment. There's an almost sociopathic clinicism to his tales. I sense he believes what he says, but there's a cynical air around it all. I don't think this is immaturity (which may have been Cube's thing), the view of a young man who still thinks he's invincible (which may have been 2Pac's thing), or even the man who's given up. I don't know what it is, but whatever it is, it's calculated, and I find that somewhat disconcerting.
Maybe it's just the effect he wants. If it is, it works.
It makes me think twice about "Damien."
Maybe he really is the natural child of our times. I dunno.
Pick it up and let me know.
Arf.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite X Album Overall, June 13, 2003
This review is from: It's Dark & Hell Is Hot (Audio CD)
DMX is definitely one of my favorite rappers. Not quite 2Pac, Nas, KRS-One and a few others of my favorites, but probarly in the top 10.
I bougth this in early '01, a few years after it's realese, and it was worth the money, no doubt. I got a classic album, but it also introduced me to a rapper who has now becomen one of my favorites. This album bangs from start to finish.
The intro to "It's Dark and Hell Is Hot" is one of the best intros ever, listen for yourself. It's more like a song, with a hard-banging beat and with X's rough and loud voice (which is one of the reason I love this cat). Another thing I love about this album besides X's voice and the dark production, is the few guest apperances, he mostly does the job himself. Even though he got a few, which is also a good thing. They all do a great job. My favorite cuts has to be : Intro, Ruff Ryders' Anthem, Damien, Stop Being Greedy, F----- Wit' D, Look Thru My Eyes and Let Me Fly... but their basically all hot, I mean you can actually even listening to the skits. I'll stop now, but I'll end by saying get this if you're into rap/hip-hop 'cause this is in my opinion a street classic. After this, I promise you will get hyped up to get another X album, it's that good. Classic.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark Man X!, May 22, 2000
This review is from: It's Dark & Hell Is Hot (Audio CD)
the true heads of hiphop, 85% aren't feelin DMX but "its dark and hell is hot" -i thought it was a good start for X. X aint the best lyricist, but i wouldn't rank him at the bottom.
My favourite songs would have to be:
Look Thru my Eyes - isn't it obvious? what its like being DMX
Let my Fly - good song, but its a little slow, still..sall good
Damien - this would be the best song out of all of it. it's most like a conversation between X and damien (the son of the devil?)
if you like this type of music, or this style, then go buy the album. dont just jump on the bandwagon.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DMX- It's Dark and Hell is Hot, February 13, 2003
This review is from: It's Dark & Hell Is Hot (Audio CD)
In may 1998 the then mostly unknown DMX (Earl Simmons)dropped his first album "It's Dark and Hell is Hot" one of the illest album in years in my opinion. DMX's gruff growling vocal flow is distinct, unlike anything I had ever heard before. A then unknown Swizz Beats produced the melodic "Ruff Ryders Anthem" which would blow, and become a common anthem in the hiphop world. Years later still bumping "Let Me Fly" one of my all time favourite hiphop tracks. "How's It Going Down" would also blow, another crossover hit, where X talks to the ladies. Hardcore tracks like "Stop Being Greedy" and "Get at Me Dog" where X talked about street life make this album a great album. "Damien" is an entertaining story telling track. Guest appearances are mostly good on this album, especially those from the Lox who would later sign with Ruff Ryders. DMX's lyrics and flow is exceptionally tight on this album, beats and production is excellent, with a few exceptions not being too par, most of these coming from producers outside the Ruff Ryder family like Irv Gotti. One of the reasons X comes across as strong as he does, is he is real, he isnt just talking about stories he has heard, he is talking about himself, and where hes been, and what he has gone through, this is what makes him one of the best in my opinion and its what makes "Its Dark and Hell is Hot" a Classic.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Decadent Millennium Rap, September 5, 2001
By 
Rich-Zed (Székesfehérvár, Magyarország) - See all my reviews
This review is from: It's Dark & Hell Is Hot (Audio CD)
DMX 1st album was so touchy to me (maybe because of being some kinda disturbed person just like D.). I know there's people who say this album is weak but when I saw D on MTV in live I just felt the hairs stand up on my arms. He touched me with songs like "Stop being greedy", "Damien", "How's it going down" and "The convo". I know his lyrical skills ain't as godd as Nas or Black Star but I really like this album except for "For my dogs". He hard, he real and rep the streets. He got karma. He got a voice that rocks your pants off of you. I like listening this CD. "Get at me dog" is my favorite track.
I know he ain't a Roots, Cormega, Tragedy Khadafi or Nas but he aight. And if you real, you gotta recognize the real... you feel!
To me it's classic: 5-stars.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hardest Rapper in the Game, December 2, 2003
By 
This review is from: It's Dark & Hell Is Hot (Audio CD)
A lot of rappers claim to be hard in this rap game. Earl Simmons a.k.a. DMX doesnt have to say that he is hard or that he is a gangster. The way he acts and his life says it all. Its Dark and Hell is hot is his first and best cd of the five. The beats, lyrics, and everything about it is genious.
The thing I love about X and his music is the passion in it. He has gone through a lot as a person and you can tell. His music is filled with anger, sadness, happiness, and prayer. Growing up in the projects in yonkers and going in and out of jail has made him the man he is today. A lot of people in the industry just rap about things that they havent been through or seen. X just tells the truth and his life. Thats being real.
You dont ever have to fast foward through any song on this cd. Every track is good. Here is a list of the tracks.
1. Intro- This is the intro into the cd. The beat is very dark.
2. Ruff Ryders anthem- This was the second single of the album. This song introduced him to the world out of New York. This was the summer jam of 1997.
3. F*ckin wit D- Not one of the best songs on the cd but a good one.
4. Storm (Skit)-Two guys talking about how DMX was robbing people.
5. Look thru my eyes-My personal favorite song on the cd. Very passionate song.
6. Get at me dog-1st single of the cd. Very big song in New York. Fist song that X started barking on songs.
7. Let me Fly-Another great song filled with emotion.
8. X is coming-Dark song with a really hard beat.
9. Damien-Another Great song. Conversation with himself and his inner demons.
10. Hows it going down-Kind of a slow r&b song. But it is still a great song.
11. Mickey (skit)
12. Crime Story-Good song with kind of a jamican style beat.
13. Stop being greedy-Great hardcore song with X changing the style of his voice from verse to verse
14. ATF- Great song that has X running from the 5-0
15. For my dogs-Great song with fellow label mates on it
16. I can feel it-Great song sambled over Phil Collins "In the Air Tonight"
17. Prayer (Skit)
18. Convo-Great song with X having a conversation with God
19. N*ggaz done started somethin-Finishes the cd with a bang. Has other rappers and X's verse might be the best one on the album.
So if you want to own a great rap cd buy this classic.Im gonna end with my favorite thing he says of the album, "If you love something let it go if it comes back to you then its yours if it doesnt youll never know, hold me down baby.
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It's Dark & Hell Is Hot
It's Dark & Hell Is Hot by DMX (Audio CD - 1998)
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