A new album by the late rapper DMX, who died in April, will be released later this month. Featuring new material produced by Swizz Beatz, Exodus is the first DMX album since 2012’s Undisputed and marks his eighth overall.
Swizz Beatz told Rolling Stone: “My brother X was one of the most pure and rare souls I’ve ever met. He lived his life dedicated to his family and music. Most of all, he was generous with his giving and loved his fans beyond measure. This album, X couldn’t wait for his fans all around the world to hear and show just how much he valued each and every single person that has supported him unconditionally.”
The two rappers met when DMX – born Earl Simmons – was in his early 20s and Swizz Beatz was 16: the latter’s beat became the rapper’s hit single Ruff Ryders’ Anthem. Swizz Beatz recently recalled the start of their friendship to New York radio station Hot 97: “The relationship with DMX started with me stealing a radio off a bus that he dared me to do. We was in Yonkers walking … He was like, ‘You cool, but do you got any heart?’”
DMX died on 9 April, aged 50, after being hospitalised for a reported drug overdose and heart attack. “Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end,” his family said. “He loved his family with all of his heart and we cherish the times we spent with him. Earl’s music inspired countless fans across the world and his iconic legacy will live on forever.”
He was born in Baltimore and raised in Yonkers, New York. He began rapping in 1984, rising as a beatboxer for other artists and then issuing his own releases. His first five albums – 1998’s It’s Dark and Hell is Hot and Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, …And Then There Was X (1999), The Great Depression (2001) and Grand Champ (2003) – all debuted at No 1 in the US, a record-breaking run at the time.
The worlds of hip-hop and entertainment paid tribute to DMX after his death. “Even though you had battles you TOUCHED so many through your MUSIC and when you would PRAY so many people FELT THAT,” Missy Elliott tweeted.
Released on 28 May, the album is named after the rapper’s four-year-old son, Exodus Simmons. His eight-year-old daughter, Sonovah Hillman Jr, is also set to appear on the album, and recently told NBC that she planned to release her own album soon.