DMX had his ups and downs throughout his music career as a rapper. If he’s one of your favorites or not, the 74 million album sales are evidence that Earl Simmons has made it to a status of high elevation by fans. He made history by dropping two albums that went to number one in the same calendar year. DMX is the only one so far to have accomplished the feat. His long absences in between some releases didn’t help him to realize his full potential. He left the earth far too soon, so we’ll never know what might have been. He remains one of the greats of rap. Here are all eight DMX studio albums ranked from worst to best by fans and critics alike.
Hip Hop Golden Age ranks “Undisputed” as the least popular release by the rapper. It dropped in 2012 as the rapper had been off the radar for about six years. His absence impacted album sales. It would take time for his audiences to return after his being gone for so long. Music is a volatile business. Going on hiatus for that long doesn’t inspire the trust that you’re going to stick around. When making a comeback, you got to start somewhere. The most notable tracks on the release were “Already,” “Have You Eva,” “What They Don’t Know, and a few others that were well received. The album received an overall rating of 6 out of 10 and was not his best effort, but die-hard fans were still happy to see his return and supported that by buying the album.
7. “Year of the Dog… Again”
This album dropped in 2006. It didn’t have the impact that Simmons had hoped. His solo musical career was heading toward the rocks due to personal issues he was having at the time. It showed in the music. He was coming back after a three-year hiatus from making albums. It lacked the fire of his previous efforts. He delivered his best at the time as DMX threw the passion that remained into the album, but his religious reflections saw in previous releases were not as convincing. He threw in “Lord Give Me a Sign” helped bring this release up with critics but the R&B “Dog Love” was a dud that did nothing for the ratings. An overall ranking of 6 out of 10 made this his second-worst release of all time.
This drop was the final album released by DMX before his untimely death in April of 2021. The album was unfinished when he left this earth. It turned into a posthumous project instead of a comeback album. A fan favorite on this drop is “Bath Salt,” with Jay-Z popping in adding vocals. “Hood Letter,” is also revered by fans, along with “Dogs Out” with Lil Wayne.” “Letter To My Son,” now takes on even greater meaning in the posthumous album that has become more of a tribute than anything else.
5. “Grand Champ”
Soul in Stereo rates “Grand Champ” as the fifth-best album by DMX of all time. The album was released in 2003 with an overall rating of 3.5 out of 5. It featured “Gogs Out,” “We’re Back,” and “Get It On the Floor.” This was one of his most fun releases and in retrospect, it brings bout a lot of perspective on the rapper.
4. “…And Then There Was X”
This album is running neck and neck with “Grand Champ” in popularity. It dropped in 1999 and gets an overall rating of 3.5 out of 5 points. It was released at a time when DMX was at the top of his game. It is one that fans now look back on as a collection of some of his best hits including “Here We Go Again,” “One More Road to Cross,” and “Fame.” The factor holding it back from being a great success is the lack of cohesion.
3. “The Great Depression”
“The Great Depression was released in 2001. DMX gets a 4 out of 5 for this effort. The drop took fans back to the early years of DMX and the themes of faith gave us all a closer look at Earl Simmons and who he was inside. The best tracks include “I Miss You,” “Damien III,” and “Trina Moe.”
2. “Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood”
This album dropped in 1998, only six months after he made his debut. The album is one of his absolute best featuring Mary J. Blige, Marilyn Manson, and Jay Z as guests. The rating of “Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood” is 4 out of 5 thanks to the tracks “Dogs for Life,” “We Don’t Give a F***,” and the titular song.
1. “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot”
The number one best album ever released by DMX is “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot.” The album dropped in 1998 and it delivered the raw intensity that fans gobbled up. He came across s a troubled sinner that was looking for salvation. It propelled DMX to the status of superstar with fan favorites “ATF,” “Let Me Fly,” and “Intro.” The overall rating of this album is a perfect 5 out of 5. The album was his greatest effort, and it came at a time when fans needed something new. His delivery was fresh and it was powerful. It gave audiences something they could all relate to on different levels of the human experience.