Import edition of the East Coast rapper's 1998 album includes one bonus track, 'Ruff Ryders' Anthem' (live). 20 tracks in all. Universal.
Watching DMX-bald-headed and shirtless, tattooed and muscle-bound--as he simultaneously goes platinum and gets arrested on rape charges (both of which occurred within weeks of this album's release), one can easily see the Yonkers, New York, rapper as a Tupac in training. And he's certainly no stranger to dumb thuggery on his much-anticipated debut. But unlike Tupac, who tempered hard-core beatdowns with party pick-me-ups, DMX is strictly business, part of a street reaction against the Puff Daddy-fuelled, late-1990s slew of lightweight pop-rap crossovers. With a name too true for its own good, It's Dark and Hell Is Hot
could occasionally use a cool breeze of levity. That said, the record is not without merit; despite the album's largely standard-issue beats and rhymes, both DMX's forceful voice and solid production have moments of greatness. At times DMX even manages to squeeze memorable hooks out of this otherwise claustrophobic release. --Roni Sarig
--This text refers to an alternate