The rap legend died Friday at 50 after suffering a heart attack. While hip-hop mourns the devastating loss, X is leaving behind a timeless catalog as well as new music. He had reportedly completed an album prior to his passing and was planning to release it this summer.
Speaking with Lisa Evers of Fox 5 New York on Friday, Darrin “Dee” Dean of Ruff Ryders confirmed that X was working on new music. At the start of the pandemic last year, he and X drove in an RV to Nashville and stayed there for a couple months recording the project.
“It’s sad that he’s not gonna be here, but the music…This album right here is special,” said Dean. “Like you probably never heard no music like you heard on this one that we did right now. This is probably one of his great albums. One of the best. It’s a classic, for sure.”
Craig Brodhead, DMX’s manager, added, “He was excited about it, he couldn’t wait to promote it and get out there with the music.”
DMX signed a new deal with Def Jam in 2019 and had been working on the album with longtime collaborator Swizz Beatz. During one of his final interviews with N.O.R.E.’s “Drink Champs” podcast earlier this year, X revealed some of the featured guests including the late Pop Smoke, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys, and Usher, as well as members of the Griselda crew including Benny the Butcher, Conway the Machine, and Westside Gunn.
He also had a collaboration with U2’s Bono called “Skyscrapers.” “It’s crazy,” X said of the track, which was originally recorded for Swizz’ album Haute Living in 2011 and featured Kanye West. “It got like a Miami feel to it. I feel like I want to shoot the video here.”
Back in 2019, Swizz spoke about X’s comeback. “Just re-signed so it’s gonna be a good year for him, God willing,” he told “The Breakfast Club.” “I just want it to happen so he can go to where he been supposed to have went.”
X’s last studio album, Undisputed, was released in September 2012. He released five albums under Def Jam including his 1998 debut It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot.
In addition to music, X was developing a show about fatherhood. “He was bringing his children together, not only repairing his relationships with them, but introducing a lot of them for the first time to one another,” said Brodhead, who contacted X’s children and their mothers and brought them to New York to meet for the first time while he was in the hospital. “You would have thought they’d known each other forever. They clicked immediately right away.”
AllHipHop also reports that a documentary for HBO was finished prior to X’s death.