Late New York rapper DMX has had his first posthumous album, Exodus, released on Friday.
The thirteen-track LP was spearheaded and executive produced by longtime collaborator Swizz Beats, whose connection to X and the Ruff Ryders goes back decades. The initial recording process for Exodus had begun a number of years before X’s untimely death last April.
It’s unclear how much material DMX had recorded before his death. It’s possible that the years-in-the-making album had a large amount of discarded and deferred material that could show up on future releases, possibly as future posthumous albums.
Fellow dearly departed New York rapper Pop Smoke was originally slated to appear on the album, but his verse was ultimately not used in the final cut. Perhaps the aura of death and darkness was just too heavy to include the both of them together.
This doesn’t mean that the album is lacking in guest stars. Quite the contrary: hip-hop titans Jay-Z, Nas, Lil Wayne and Snoop Dogg; Ruff Ryders Judakiss, Styles P and Sheek Louch; R&B stars Alicia Keys and Usher; and even left field “wait, what?” choice Bono. Kanye West gets a production credit on the album closer ‘Prayer’, as does Foxworth Bentley. The stars came out for X’s final ride.
No one discussing the album is currently referring to it as DMX’s “final” studio album but rather his first posthumous album, indicating that other releases are not only possible, but probable, in the future.
Exodus is the eighth studio LP and the first since 2012’s Undisputed. In the years after, DMX dealt with legal issues including multiple arrests for everything from robbery to tax evasion. X also struggled with drug addiction and mental health issues. In the time between Undisputed and X’s death, the only material released from the artist were two songs, ‘Blood Red’ and ‘Bain Iz Back’, and an unauthorized compilation from his then-label Seven Arts Music.
Stream Exodus on Spotify or your streaming platform of choice. The album is available now.