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It's obvious that hip-hop has finally come into its own when one of its most respected rappers (among all kinds of fans) is also one of its best-selling artists, and a successful crossover act to rock fans as well. DMX built himself an excellent reputation in the rap game, working the fragile territory between intense, metaphysical lyrical concerns and his image as a canine-obsessed personality who often uses a backing track to bark assent to his own raps. All this from a tremendously successful chart act, whose first three albums debuted at number one and sold well over ten million records in just a year and a half. With Nas and Jay-Z (both of whom also made it on an artistic and commercial level), DMX is the kingpin of hip-hop in the years after the twin giants, Biggie and 2Pac, were gunned down.

A rough-toned Yonkers MC who debuted with hometown friends the Lox on a DJ Clue mix-tape, DMX hit the big time in early 1998 when his single "Get at Me Dog" became a club and radio smash. The rapper had first appeared seven years earlier however, in an "Unsigned Hype" column by The Source back in 1991. He was signed to Columbia a few years later, but the deal fell through before recording had even begun. DMX guested on tracks by LL Cool J, Mase and Mic Geronimo (among others), then signed to Def Jam in 1997. His debut album It's Dark and Hell Is Hot debuted at number one in May 1998, and eventually sold platinum four times over. Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood followed just six months later (also debuting at the top), and in late 1999 DMX returned with ...And Then There Was X. Once again, he entered the charts at number one. ~ John Bush, All Music Guide
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