An entire month has passed since iconic rapper DMX has died and the hip-hop community is still mourning his loss. While many people are still grieving, they can now gain closure by listening to his posthumously released eighth studio album, “Exodus.” “Exodus” is named after the rapper’s youngest son and the Bible verse Exodus 1:7. It was released under Def jam records; his first release with the label since 2003. This haunting record was primarily produced by Swizz Beatz, and it features a star-studded guest list, including Jay-Z, Nas, Alicia Keys, and many more.
On Exodus, fans can expect raw, honest material that is heavily focused on issues within the rapper’s life. Since his debut in 1998, DMX has always been transparent with his struggles and on this record, it is no different than before. The opening song “That’s My Dog” is a dark rigid gritty number featuring The LOX and Swizz Beatz. It consists of drum patterns and piano loops that are almost reminiscent of the classic east coast hip-hop sound the ruled the airwaves in the 1990s. While this song is a nod to the past, listeners should not expect this type of sound to dominate the album. For example, the up-tempo “Money, Money, Money,” is drenched in modern hip-hop. On the song, he teams up with Trap rapper Moneybagg Yo and together the two rappers boast about materialistic things.
Towards the middle of the album, there is a shift, and the material is less flashy and more serious. The sixth track “Skyscrapers” featuring U2 member Bono is more on the mainstream side, and it features a piano-backed instrumental. In the song, DMX reflects on some of the challenges he has faced throughout his life, his regrets, and how he wanted to be remembered. “I just Wanna be heard, fuck the fame / my words will live forever, fuck my name”, he raps.”
Other songs that highlight DMX’s vulnerability are “Walking in the Rain” and “Letter to My Son (Call Your Father)”. “Walking in the Rain” features Nas, Exodus Simmons, and Denaun; it is inspired by soul music from the 1970s. In the song, the rapper reflects on his mental health issues. Meanwhile, “Letter to My Son” featuring Usher and Brian King Joseph is a mellow song with piano and violin sounds. For four minutes and 5 seconds, the rapper emotionally discusses the strained relationship that he has with his eldest son. He owns up to his mistakes as a father and he pleads with his son to call him. This song is very eerie it is like DMX knew he did not have much time left on earth and he wanted to make peace with his son.
The album closes with “Prayer,” an audio clip of the rapper praying during one of his shows. In the clip, you can feel the emotions run deep as he is praying to God. He can be heard asking God to forgive and heal everyone in the room. This audio was a perfect way to end an album that was built on the foundation of emotions. Exodus is an emotional bi-polar record that is unfiltered it serves as a wonderful tribute to fallen angel Earl Simmons known as DMX.