September 16, 2021

DMX "Grand Champ" (September 16, 2003)

DMX. Earl Simmons. One of the most memorable MCs of all time. The only artist who has spent a career inspiring followers around the world to bark and rhyme in loud bursts of music, ghetto energy, only then to get them to read and rap and think and cry in private moments of honest thought and introspection. No one in hip-hop has ever done it better. No one has meant more. Now, in September 2003, a final book of verse: Grand Champ. Not only does the album mark a return to form for The Darkman X, it is the perfect coda for a career that began in 1998 with It's Dark & Hell Is Hot and Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood, continued the following year with And Then There Was X (2000), and most recently set the streets off The Great Depression (2001). Grand Champ also represents a creative reunion with Dee and Waah Dean, the two brothers, who along with X, turned the Ruff Ryders label during this same period into the biggest in the world. Are you ready to roll? We start with the title. Like all of DMX's album title, this fifth one means what it says but then so much more. As much as It's Dark & Hell Is Hot was a haunting self-description, and Flesh Of My Flesh represented a life-giving bond to the community from whence he came, Grand Champ is the final, absolute statement of presence and purpose. Last year, X asked the world "who we be," now he answers the question "who he is...." Revisit DMX's Grand Champ album + more cont'd below...

A dog term, the "Grand Champ" is the title bestowed upon the penultimate winner of a dog fight, a pit-bull fight, as you better know by now. It's a title not easily earned, a spot not easily took, so best believe our favorite hero is bringing all the heat and the drama, the pain, suffering and joy the defines the world of DMX. Let's be clear, there are no competitors. Now what better way to jump off than with the most fundamental question... where the hood at? "Where The Hood At?," the album's first single is a ferocious ball of fire and brimstone that has already become an instant DMX classic to be put in the history books next to "Get At Me Dog," "What's My Name?" and "Who We Be." Set off with a monster bass thump by Tuneheadz, the latest in a phenomenal line of double-R producers, "Where The Hood At?" is heavy enough to get a Hummer H2 bouncing like one of the many tricked-out Impalas the dog collects along his west coast travels. One listen to the joint's triumphant horns, and you will hear the announcement. No apologies allowed, the "dog is here." You can't be f#cking serious.... - Press Kit. Certainly not X's best work, but worth revisiting. R.I.P., DMX.