On April 9, 2021 DMX, one of the world’s most beloved rappers, died of a cocaine-induced heart attack at the age of 50. From the streets of Yonkers, New York to the neighborhood record store and a streaming app near you, X had a cult-like following.
When he passed away, millions of fans were struck by the possibility that they would never hear the graveled voice of Dark Man X on new music again, but on the very day of his death, the song “X Moves” was released, teasing his posthumous release Exodus. One week later on April 16, the song “Been to War” by DMX, featuring Swizz Beatz and French Montana, was released as part of the soundtrack to the television series Godfather of Harlem.
On May 28, 2021 Def Jam Recordings released Exodus, DMX’s first studio album since 2012’s Undisputed and his first with Def Jam since Grand Champ. Exodus contained the track “Bath Salts,” featuring Jay-Z and Nas, which was nominated for a Grammy Award for best rap song.
Now fans have been given a new rock-tinged DMX single “Know What I Am.” Produced by British guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite, “Know What I Am” starts with an aggressive, guitar laden introduction that is combined with vocalizations from Thwaite that complement X’s lyrics and the coarse growls that endeared him to fans across genres.
The new posthumous song comes as DMX’s name continues to be lifted up by his friends and peers. In a recent interview with TMZ, producer Irv Gotti said that the House Music influences in Drake’s new album, Honestly, Nevermind, made him want to look for a “new DMX.”
“Personally, I love Drake,” he said. “I think Drake is a great person, he’s a great human being. But I listened to his album — and Drake can do whatever he wants as an artist … but Drake’s new album is not Hip Hop…I gotta get back in the game and find me a n-gga. That’s what that album made me feel like. It made me feel like going and finding me a raw new DMX, new Ja [Rule], new Jay[-Z] and serving n-ggas and fucking bringing back great Hip Hop.”
Listen to “Know What I Am” below.