Recently departed Earl ‘DMX’ Simmons didn’t plan on a posthumous album when he started work on Exodus. His unfortunate death, however, ensured that the highly anticipated DMX’s Exodus is regarded as a posthumous effort.
It’s little wonder that the album preaches the deceased rapper’s personal gospel instead of just being a collection of his unreleased verses as is typical of posthumous albums.
“Exodus”, DMX’s eighth studio album was released on 28 May 2021, almost a month after his demise on 9 April 2021. Exodus comes after nearly a decade after DMX’s last album.
The 13-track body of work was not supposed to be his last official studio album as long-time friend and collaborator, Swizz Beatz, revealed the rapper seemed to have gotten “a new drive” following his Verzuz battle against fellow veteran Snoop Dogg.
For all its worth, “Exodus” appears to be more of groundwork to a newer path, not the end of the road for the New York rapper. The album kicks off with “That’s My Dog” featuring former label mates, The LOX and his good friend, Swizz Beatz, a perfect track to set the ball rolling.
The track was not only sizzling hot, but it also proves that the last combination between X and The LOX, ‘Bout Shit‘, was no fluke.
“Bath Salts” followed with legends Jay-Z and Nas featuring on the song to the excitement of rap fans. Three icons on one track should excite anyone enough. DMX held his own on the song even though his verse showed a glimpse of the rustiness that age brings.
The follow-up to Bath Salts is a sizzling hot Lil Wayne collaboration which on first listen promises to be a fan favorite undoubtedly.
Lil Wayne comes correct on “Dogs Out”, another booming collaboration between X, Wayne and Swizz, reminiscent of Wayne and Swizz’z ‘Uproar‘ off The Carter V.
Lil Wayne easily glides on the beat.
Swizz Beatz did an amazing job with the production work on the album. He seems to find the right balance with the instrumentals and arrangement for every single track.
“Money Money Money” featuring Moneybagg Yo was another perfect combo for the track. Although the song was initially supposed to have Pop Smoke on it, Swizz had to change direction after a leak. Swizz even confirmed in an interview with Apple Music that the instrumental was initially made for Pop Smoke.
The next two tracks that followed are subtle, emotional, and very enjoyable too. “Hold Me Down” featuring Alicia Keys had X opening up about his life, asking his loved ones to stand by him cos that’s all he ever wanted. Alicia Keys’ performance was simple but perfect too.
Bono did a number on “Skyscrapers” even as DMX expresses deep perseverance in his cuts on the track. He said, “That’s what it’s always been, joy with the pain (Ooh), Dark with the light (Ooh), sun with the rain (What?), but, With the right perspective there’s somethin’ to gain, Look for the good in the bad, like the sun when it rains”.
“Take Control” features Snoop Dogg and is reminiscent of “It’s All Good” and “What These B***s Want” in that they all follow the same lead being songs made specifically for the ladies. X raps flirtatiously with outright offensiveness but the smooth hook brings him into your good graces as you listen. Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” was even used as a sample on “Take Control”.
“Exodus” highlights how DMX eased up and sheds light on the fallouts of the vicarious lifestyle he lived at a time which denied him the time he wished he spent with his children.
As opposed to the typical feeling on a posthumous album, DMX’s Exodus is far from a parting gift but rather a shining light of some sort from X as he highlights his new path in a world so familiar to him.
As X flashes back to a life of violence, crime and jail time that plagued his youth, he delivers a sermon-like lecture on “Walking in the Rain” and “Letter to My Son (Call Your Father).” He keeps in touch with his humanity and highlights the dangers of his past life even as he recognizes his transition from a crime kingpin to a more respectable and law-abiding citizen as well as the attendant risks and sacrifices that come with running in with the law.
Exodus leaves you rueing the legendary X’s death and wondering what new heights his recently found passion for recording would have led him to if the cruel hands of death didn’t reach out to snatch him from a grateful and expectant fanbase.
Essentially, DMX’s Exodus seems to look more into the future with the rapper specifically putting emphasis on his new path reflecting a demeanor of peace and giving the listener a curious feeling of what might be. This is far from a farewell but rather a statement of the one and only X’s undeniable legacy!
Here’s a tracklist to Exodus
1. That’s My Dog (feat. THE LOX & Swizz Beatz)
2. Bath Salts (feat. JAY-Z & Nas)
3. Dogs Out (feat. Lil Wayne & Swizz Beatz)
4. Money Money Money (feat. Moneybagg Yo)
5. Hold Me Down (feat. Alicia Keys)
6. Skyscrapers (feat. Bono)
7. Stick Up Skit (feat. Cross, Infrared & Ice Pick)
8. Hood Blues (feat. Westside Gunn, Benny the Butcher & Conway the Machine)
9. Take Control (feat. Snoop Dogg)
10. Walking In The Rain (feat. Nas, Exodus Simmons & Denaun)
11. Exodus Skit
12. Letter To My Son (Call Your Father) [feat. Usher & Brian King Joseph]