It's Dark and Hell Is Hot
|It's Dark and Hell is Hot|
|Studio album by DMX|
|Released||May 12, 1998|
|Genre||Hardcore hip hop, horrorcore, East Coast hip hop, gangsta rap|
|Label||Ruff Ryders, Def Jam|
|Producer||Dame Grease, Irv Gotti, P.K., Swizz Beatz|
|Singles from It's Dark and Hell Is Hot|
It's Dark and Hell is Hot is the debut album of American rapper DMX, released May 12, 1998 on Ruff Ryders Entertainment and Def Jam Recordings. The album featured four singles with music videos, "Get at Me Dog", "Stop Being Greedy", "How's It Goin' Down" and the "Ruff Ryders Anthem". The album is widely considered classic by numerous hip hop fans and critics.
Before the album was released, DMX collaborated with producers Irv Gotti, P.K., Dame Grease, and Swizz Beatz. Each producer utilized their particular style while creating the album's instrumentals. It's Dark and Hell Is Hot features Gothic instrumentals created mostly by P.K.; DMX raps mostly about violence. DMX is commonly known for his rough voice; "dog barks" and "dog growls" are featured throughout the album. Many of the songs on It's Dark and Hell Is Hot are made up of dark beats and harsh lyrics, showing anticipation of violence. Compared to aggressive songs like "Intro", tracks like "Ruff Ryders' Anthem", "How's It Goin' Down" have a lighter theme and delivery. The album also features more introspective tracks including "Let Me Fly", "For My Dogs", and others. "Damien" is a faustian story, with characters voiced by DMX highlighting the relationship between DMX and a character named Damien (who happens to be the devil), with whom the rapper makes a deal which involves committing acts of violence in return for fortune.
Lyrical themes 
It's Dark and Hell Is Hot is known for featuring very extreme lyrics about violence with songs like "Intro","X Is Coming", and a lot more. The album is still known for DMX's painful past life when he was younger which is known on "Look Thru My Eyes" and "Let Me Fly". More topics are included like love, rage, stories, and God. Unlike many hip hop albums DMX features prayers which are dialogues with him and God.
Rolling Stone critic, Miles Marshall Lewis, talked about the lyrics in "X-Is Coming" and he quoted these lines from the song: "If you got a daughter older than fifteen, I'm a rape her/Take her on the living-room floor, right there in fronta you/Then ask you seriously, 'What you wanna do?'" In his response for his reaction to the extreme violent writing ability of DMX, he answered: "Even within the context of a hardcore rap album, DMX goes beyond the pale." Some of DMX's most-violent lyrics, inspired by horror, crime, and hardcore rap created a style that would dominate a portion of the rap industry. The earliest examples of these lyrics would be the unreleased songs "Gotti Style" (Featuring Ja Rule), "Read About It" (Featuring Ja Rule), many unreleased freestyles, and his verse on Mic Geronimo's 1995 song "Time To Build" with appearances by an early Jay-Z and Ja Rule.
|The Daily Vault||A- |
|Entertainment Weekly||C |
|Yahoo! Music||(favorable) |
Critic reviews were largely positive. Allmusic commented that "Unlike so many other hardcore rappers who are more rhetorical than physical, DMX commands an aggressive aura without even speaking a word." Leading Hip Hop magazine The Source described the album as "a mind-gripping opus that fully encompasses the appeal of one of rap's newest sensations." Referred to as one of the best debut rap albums, critics called the album a necessary introduction to one of the greatest hardcore rappers in hip-hop. DMX was praised for his imagery, stories and lyricism.
The album has gained significant commercial success, selling more than 5 million copies worldwide. The album sold 251,000 copies in its first week; debuting at number one on the Billboard Top 200 chart.
Track listing 
|1||"Intro"||Irv Gotti and Lil' Rob||4:09|
|2||"Ruff Ryders' Anthem"||Swizz Beatz||3:34|
|3||"Fuckin' wit' D"||P.K. and Dame Grease||2:18||
|4||"The Storm (Skit)"||1:00|
|5||"Look Thru My Eyes"||P.K. and Dame Grease||3:50|
|6||"Get at Me Dog"||Dame Grease and P.K||Sheek Louch||4:03|
|7||"Let Me Fly"||Dame Grease and Young Lord||4:12||
|10||"How's It Goin' Down"||P.K. and Dame Grease||Faith Evans||4:42|
|12||"Crime Story"||Irv Gotti and Lil' Rob||3:47||
|13||"Stop Being Greedy"||P.K. and Dame Grease||3:37||
|15||"For My Dogs"||Dame Grease||Drag-On, Big Stan, Loose & Kasino||4:11|
|16||"I Can Feel It"||Dame Grease||Nardo (uncredited)||4:13|
|18||"The Convo"||Dame Grease||3:33||
|19||"Niggaz Done Started Something"||Dame Grease||The L.O.X. & Mase||5:09|
|20||"Ruff Ryder's Anthem (Live)" (European Bonus Track)||Swizz Beatz||2:58|
|Canadian Albums Chart||15|
|U.S. Billboard 200||1|
|U.S. Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums||1|
The Limited Series by Garth Brooks
|Billboard 200 number-one album
June 6–12, 1998
City of Angels (soundtrack) by Various artists
See also 
- DMX - discographyallmusic. Accessed October 25, 2008.
- Henry Adaso DMX on 'Top 50 MCs of Our Time'about.com. Accessed October 26, 2008
- Rolling Stone review
- Allmusic review
- Christgau, Robert. "CG: DMX". Robert Christgau.
- The Daily Vault review
- Entertainment Weekly review
- Album reviews at CD Universe
- RapReviews review
- Yahoo! Music review[dead link]
- 22 Ends DMX's Billboard Winning StreakMTV. Accessed February 20, 2009.
- DMX gold&platinum dataRIAA. Accessed October 26, 2008