Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 23:10
DMX is one of the best-selling rappers of all time, but he’ll be remembered more for his astonishing rap sheet than his music. Go ahead, look it up; that’s some super villain type of shit right there.
Undisputed is a lot of what you’d expect from the Dog Man X: rattling beats, growling, and bragging about disposable “bitches.” But a couple of surprises make the record listenable, if hardly essential.
DMX has always been vocal about his love for God, which manifests itself in ballads like “Head Up” and the solemn prayers he’s included on every album. But that doesn’t stop him from screaming about crackin’ heads and casual sex, or from displaying a stunning level of homophobia. Few rappers other than DMX have managed to sound more obsessed with man-on-man fellatio than Rick Santorum.
When not in attack dog mode, X is touchingly vulnerable, looking at his mess of a life and praying to Jesus to grant him salvation. He’s still plenty defensive, though, saying we have no idea what he’s going through. We know this, because he declares it on nearly every track, from “What They Don’t Know” to “Y’all Don’t Really Know.” But “I Got Your Back” is an unexpected treat, with DMX’s tight rhyming over tinkling piano and the drums from Eric B & Rakim’s “Paid In Full.”
Though he’s not entirely successful in evoking the hunger that defined his early career, DMX will never be one of the slick dance floor rappers that now come a dime a dozen. But will he ever truly evolve?