DMX’s Debut Album ‘It’s Dark and Hell is Hot’ is 19 years-old

On May 19, 1998, DMX released his debut studio album, It’s Dark and Hell is Hot. It quickly shot to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 and eventually went quadruple Platinum. In its first week it sold 251,000 copies and it stayed on the Billboard 200 for nearly two years.

X convinced Lyor Cohen to sign him after the Def Jam executive attended a Ruff Ryders session in Yonkers. Cohen was impressed by DMX, who performed in front of Cohen with his jaw wired shut. Cohen said he could “Hear the breaking of the wires.”

It’s Dark and Hell is Hot introduced the world to DMX’s insanely aggressive flow.The album’s main producer was Dame Grease, who also produced songs on the LOX and Ma$e’s debuts.

The album’s most famous single, “Ruff Ryders Anthem,” was the first beat that producer Swizz Beatz sold. Swizz created that track when he was just 16 years old.

DMX’s debut is credited for bringing back New York street rap when party songs by artists like Ma$e and Puff Daddy were dominating the airwaves.

In 1999, Jay Z boycotted the Grammys because It’s Dark and Hell is Hot was not nominated for Best Rap Album.

Hov took home the award that year but stayed true to his word.

In an interview with Power 99FM, Kendrick Lamar stated that DMX inspired him to become a rapper.

“X really started me to actually do music,” he said. “That first album was a classic.”

Watch our Daily Operation video above and stream the entire album below.

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