The only reason DMX made ‘Ruff Ryders Anthem’
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The only reason DMX made ‘Ruff Ryders Anthem’

The late DMX (real name Earl Simmons) was an unstoppable force in his prime who seemed able to make anthems with ease. From ‘What’s My Name?’ to ‘Where the Hood At?’, the New York rapper was an unparalleled hit-maker.

Arguably, one of DMX’s most well-known songs is, ‘Ruff Ryders Anthem.’ Released in May 1998, the single is so impactful it’s played in clubs to this day. Many know the song as an ode to the artist’s crew. However, the crew has a fascinating backstory of its own.

Ruff Ryders, the collective, took on the name from Ruff Ryders Entertainment, an artist management firm founded in the early 80s. DMX was, in fact, temporarily managed by the firm. Furthermore, the company tried to launch DMX in 1992 with the single ‘Born Loser,’ but distributed by Columbia Records, it went nowhere.

However, while under their management, Simmons met two young, talented producers the firm also managed. One would go on to produce his ‘Ruff Ryders Anthem’. The legendary Swizz Beatz.

Swizz Beatz’ family ran Ruff Ryders Entertainment. Both Joaquin and Darrin Dean are his uncles. As such, he had a lot of power in the company. DMX initially didn’t want to record over the beat for ‘Ruff Ryders Anthem’. However, in a recent appearance on Hotboxin With Mike Tyson, Swizz explained how he managed to get Simmons on the instrumental.

Detailing how it unfolded, Swizz Beatz (real name Kasseem Dean) recalled, “He didn’t wanna do the song. He lost a bet to my uncle Darrin in a card game, and my uncle Darrin [had] said, ‘[If] you lose the bet, you do the song.'”

He continued, “So if you listen to the song, he’s kind of irritated on the song, but he didn’t lose the bet because it became ‘Ruff Ryders Anthem’, and that crossed him over into a whole other world to where he was doing Woodstock!”

To this day, the track is considered a classic. However, few know he only recorded the track because he lost a bet. You can listen to Swizz Beatz on Hotboxin With Mike Tyson below.