Ok so first: Unrelated to DMX, Tyler the Creator dropped a new single which means it’s officially TYLER THE CREATOR ALBUM SEASON. And I’m soooooo excited, so I wore my IGOR shirt today in celebration. “LUMBERJACK” sounds so good, and I’m hyped to see what Tyler is gonna give us on this next project. I…just….Tyler is so great lol. The last time I did a Bite-Sized Album review, I did it on DMX, so it only felt fitting to continue to get back into the groove of things by doing this week’s one on DMX’s first posthumous release, Exodus (2021). I’m not sure if there are plans to release more albums after Exodus, but if so, this album is not a bad introduction to DMX’s posthumous release world. There were a few little struggle moments, but otherwise, Exodus is a solid project.
I think – thematically – Exodus stays true to the other projects that I’ve heard from DMX. There’s a lot of life and self-comtemplation that happens throughout the album (like on songs like “Letter to My Son” and “Prayer”), as well as some tracks like “Bath Salts” and “Hood Blues” where DMX and his collaborators (namely Jay-Z and Nas on the former and Benny the Butcher, Westside Gunn, and Conway the Machine on the latter) bar out about their many accomplishments in life, how much better than everyone else they are, and various levels of street talk. I will say that songs like “Letter to My Son” feel a little heartbreaking to listen to post-DMX’s death.
Like the album’s thematic components, Exodus doesn’t deviate too much sonically from other tracks in DMX’s discography. And there are highs and lows in that. “Hood Blues,” “Bath Salts,” and “Walking in the Rain” are three of my favorite moments from this project. DMX’s verses and flow sound crisp, albeit a little aged (but it’s more of a wine moment, so instead of sounding tired, he sounds like he’s had many years of growth and experience, and you can hear that in his voice), and the songs come together really well. I LOVEEDDDDDDD DMX’s son Exodus singing the chorus on “Walking in the Rain.” My heart reached unimaginable levels of warmth. One of the things I noted throughout the entire project was how instead of flying too much above DMX, the features sit beside him nicely. I wasn’t expecting to like “Hood Blues” with the folks from Griselda so much, but Westside Gunn’s “boom boom BOOM” adlibs mixed with X’s growls are absolute perfection together. And the production on that song is great.The only feature that could have been left off was Alicia Keys’s feature on “Hold Me Down.” Sometimes Miss Keys does too much and flies too heavily out of pocket, and “Hold Me Down” was one of those moments where she really could have been left off. Usher’s feature on “Letter to My Son” wasn’t my favorite either; the chorus of the song was a little weak, in my opinion. (edit: I forgot how much I didn’t like “Take Control” LOL that song is a train wreck)
I think I would have liked an album a little bit stronger to be DMX’s (first) musical send off, but it’s a pretty good project. A little milder than previous projects (well…the previous projects I’ve heard), but still a solid album. Also the album art is FIRE.
I listened to this album around the time it came out – a few weeks ago – so I’m listening through it a little bit again while writing this to get back familiar with how it sounds, and it’s still holding up pretty well on the second listen. There are a few songs that I wasn’t really feeling on the first listen that I still don’t like that much after hearing them again, but I’ve saved a few more songs to my Spotify library since re-listening to the project. So the replay value isn’t to the roof, but it’s higher than it would be if I were to have done a write-up on it before listening to it again.
3 songs i dig…
“Hood Blues” “How’s It Goin’ Down” and “Walking in the Rain”
Featured Image via Vanity Fair
Overall Album Rating
(listen to Exodus on spotify, by clicking on the image below)