The album: DMX: It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot (Def Jam, 1998)
This week, we are joined by Shea Serrano, contributor at TheRinger.com, author of both The Rap Yearbook and the brand new Basketball (And Other Things). For his heat rock, he choose DMX’s smash debut LP, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot. *woof*
During our conversation, we learned how it was Shea’s grandmother, of all people, who introduced him to DMX and how that album became the formative soundtrack for him as a teenager. Shea drops wisdom nuggets on the nature of pain in DMX’s persona and how this album marked a repudiation of the direction hip-hop was headed in during the jiggy era.
More on DMX and It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot:
- Vibe.com’s “5 Reasons Why DMX’s Debut Album Is A Classic Album.”
- Miles Marshall Lewis’ review of the album for Rolling Stone
More on Shea Serrano:
- Shea’s portfolio at The Ringer and Grantland
- His interview on CBS Sports, talking about this new basketball book.
- His Twitter
- DMX: “Get At Me Dog” It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot
- Mase: “Feel So Good” Money Talks
- DMX: “Fucking With My Dogs” It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot
- DMX: “Catching The Same Hell”
- DMX: “Look Thru My Eyes” It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot
- DMX: “Ruff Ryders Anthem” It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot
- DMX: “Prayer” It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot
- DMX Feat. Eve “Dog Match” Let There Be Eve…Ruff Ryders First Lady
- DMX “Crime Story” It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot
- DMX “For My Dogs” It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot
- 50 Cent “Wanksta”
- Mase “24 Hours To Live” Harlem World
- DMX “How’s It Goin Down” It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot
If you’re not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!
In our episode, I (Oliver) credited the album for helping introduce Swizz Beats to the wider world. That’s true insofar as “The Ruff Ryders Anthem” was one of Swizz’s first big hits. However, it’s the only song on the entire album that Swizz worked on. Most of the album was produced by Dame Grease and P.K. and in my haste, I didn’t do my proper discographic research to give credit where it was properly due.
About the show
Hosted by Oliver Wang and Morgan Rhodes, every episode of Heat Rocks invites a special guest to talk about a heat rock – a hot album, a scorching record. These are in-depth conversations about the albums that shape our lives.
Our guests include musicians, writers, and scholars and though we don’t exclusively focus on any one genre, expect to hear about albums from the worlds of soul, hip-hop, funk, jazz, Latin, and more.
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