Many may consider “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” the fourth single off DMX’s classic 1998 debut album It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot, to be one of the greatest Hip-Hop songs of the ’90s and arguably of all-time even. However, one person thought it was pretty wack when the first heard it: Dark Man X himself!

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Sitting down for an exclusive interview with GQ to break down some of his most iconic records, X recalls taking roughly 15 minutes to write the song. However, it wasn’t exactly a pleasurable experience to begin with. The multiplatinum-selling triple threat had this to say about his initial reaction to “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem”:

“I actually didn’t want to write it; I didn’t want to do that song. The beat was simple and repetitive, and the flow I came up with is just like — [there’s] so many other songs with so much substance, that I was like, ‘This song is, like, fucking ABC’s – like elementary!'”


Of course, he went on to appreciate making the record, continuing by stating, “I glad I did do it. I listened…and it worked out.” He also confirms that, during that same recording session, he also wrote “Fuckin’ wit’ D” and “Let Me Fly,” tracks 3 and 7, respectively, off the Billboard 200 chart-topping LP at the topic of this epic story. For the many of us that screamed “STOP! DROP! SHUT ‘EM DOWN, OPEN UP SHOP!” to the top of our lungs, we appreciate you for pulling this one off, X!

Watch the full interview over on GQ, where DMX also breaks down the stories behind “X Gon’ Give It To Ya” off the 2003 Cradle 2 the Grave soundtrack, “What’s My Name?” and “Party Up (Up in Here)” off …And Then There Was X from 2000, plus the special story behind his 2003 Grand Champ lead single “Where the Hood At.”