The inspiration behind the title of DMX’s upcoming The Great Depression is plain and simple: The author of “Stop Being Greedy” has been telling the people who work with him that after his LP drops on September 25, all the other rappers are going to starve.
“You thought I’d let you have this sh-?,” he screams on the album intro, “Sometimes.” “You thought this rap sh- was yours? You muthaf
ers done lost your mind!”
He calms down just a little to give a shout out to all of his friends and family who have been influential in his life on “School Street,” named after the block he grew up on in a Yonkers, New York, project.
Perhaps the person who most touched his life, his grandmother, is remembered on “I Miss You,” featuring Faith Evans. The first song he recorded for the album is produced by newcomer Kid Kold, and finds X asking his grandmother, “Why couldn’t I come when he came to get you?” Then he says he would do anything to have one more hug. DMX also recollects some childhood events, like his grandmother teaching him about religion, and speaks to her in heaven about how every member of the family is doing since she’s been gone. On the chorus, Evans sings what X remembers his grandmother used to say to him: “Baby it’s gon’ be OK.”
The mood shifts about 180 degrees on “When I’m Nothin.” Here, the Dog flips Stephanie Mills’ ’80s hit “What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin’ ” to help him talk about fake friends and admirers who might not be behind him in times of need. Despite the subject matter, the song still gets the party going.
According to a source close to X, Mills was so much in love with how X – who co-produced the song with Dame Grease – used the sample, she requested to sing on the track. She retools her old lyrics to “What you gonna do when I’m nothing?/ You’re crazy about my style/ What you gonna do when I’m nothing/ Please don’t have me acting wild/ Tell me now!” X later chimes in with ad-libs, yelling “What! What!” while Mills barks back “Tell me!”
“We Right Here” is a more conventional rugged X street anthem, where he puts everyone on notice that he wants a diamond award with his new album.
Dark Man, who spent some of his childhood in Baltimore, recently went there to shoot the video for the song, which replaced the even rougher, and less danceable, “Who We Be” as the first single.
The rapper decided to go with “We Right Here” after driving around to various neighborhoods, playing the album, and asking people which song they thought should be the leadoff single, according to the source close to X. He is planning to follow the same procedure for the second single, for which he plans to shoot a video in a couple of weeks.
“Trina Moe” is a spastic-paced, synthesizer-heavy DMX tangent. Here, as he often does, X uses his intense growl to get his point across, saying that it’s his “fourth album and still he’ll still get in that ass!” He also encourages (OK, he downright threatens) rappers to stop bragging about ice and help out the ‘hood. “Trina Moe” has a dual meaning – it’s a dance he does and it’s also the name of one of his friends.
The third installment of the “Damien” song series appears on The Great Depression, and, as on all his albums, X takes time out to speak to the Lord on “Prayer IV.” His main collaborator from the last LP, Swizz Beatz, only put in work on two songs; this time around X chose to go with a more diverse attack of menacing beat makers – Grease, PK, Kold and newcomer Black Key.
Just Blaze provides the track for the guitar-laden “I’ma Bang.” Basically a rock song, X sprays a ferocious freestyle at “ni-as who ain’t got the balls to say to his face what they think behind his back.” Kold also incorporates live rock guitars and drums on “Bloodline Anthem,” where X’s lyrics reiterate what he’s trying to get out on this album: He’s going straight back to the top.
“Told you, ‘go ahead drop a few albums, I’ll do a movie/ But when I come back dog, respect my slot!’ ”
Track List For The Great Depression, According To Def Jam: