May 19, 2020

DMX "It's Dark and Hell Is Hot" (Press Kit, 1998)

In the book Queens Reigns Supreme, the release of DMX's It's Dark and Hell Is Hot is briefly addressed: "During its first week in stores, more than 250,000 copies of It's Dark... were sold, knocking country music superstar Garth Brooks off the top of the charts. But what made the first-week sales even more impressive was that DMX had received almost no MTV or radio play.... 'When X came,' Irv Gotti explains, 'it was a tidal wave. It was just one of those special things in hip-hop... People was just tired of the Puffy way of doing things and he just came and landslided the whole fucking country.'" The buzz had been created for the album almost entirely through the mixtape scene; DMX's official press kit for the release digs deeper: "Winner of The Source magazine's prestigious "Unsigned Hype" award for January of 1991, the native of Yonkers, New York has recently crashed the airwaves and mix tape circuit with a number of unforgettable guest appearances... including a fever pitch buzz for the release of his kinetic debut single for Ruff Ryders/Def Jam, "Get At Me Dog." Utilizing a classic, tension-filled BT Express guitar sample, the single's keen balance of street grit and dance floor bounce provides the perfect backdrop for the Dark Man X's unshakably aggressive vocal delivery; one whose distinctively hoarse timbre is but the table setter for the main course of irrepressible rhyme.... Having originally earned his name by way of his human beat boxing expertise, DMX later experimented with other acronyms true to his evolving, revolutionary vocal steez (Divine Master of the Unknown) while honing his skills around his home in Yonkers' School Street Projects. Along the way, he bumped heads and built long-lasting friendships with Y-O residents and Bad Boy Recording artists, The Lox.... With the entire Yonkers crew helping out on It's Dark and Hell Is Hot on the smoldering "Niggaz Done Started Something," the bonds obviously remain strong. The Album's additional sterling guest spots include Brooklyn's finest, Jay-Z, adding his acid-tongued wit and wisdom to the downtempo stinger, "Murdergram," along-side Ja who makes an impactful debut. But ultimately it's the range, cleverness and fierceness of DMX's solo showcases that truly distinguishes It's Dark and Hell Is Hot from the remainder of the rap hordes.... If the uncompromising nature of It's Dark and Hell Is Hot musical menu isn't enough to intrigue the fickle minds of rap fanatics, leave it to this human pitbull's own description of his newest creation to cut right to the heart of matters: "It's the same shit they been gettin', man: Raw dog, no condom, straight in the ass, real." This dog's day has arrived. Get at DMX." It's Dark and Hell Is Hot was released on May 19, 1998, but did not include "Murdergram," which was featured on the Streets Is Watching soundtrack that came out a week prior, May 12, 1998.