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Arizona Desert Is Muse To DMX'S Ears

A rapper’s muse is a curious thing. While some MCs have been known to light candles in the studio, watch old TV shows or even indulge in the occasional intoxicant for inspiration, DMX found his inspiration to breathe fire by chillin’ in the serenity of Arizona’s rattlesnake-inhabited desert.

“It’s been a beautiful experience,” said producer Dame Grease, who spent a month and a half there recording DMX’s fourth LP, tentatively titled The Ears. “We had the most fun ever.”

Grease, who laid down 10 tracks for DMX’s debut album, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot, is going back to the studio next week – this time in New York – to begin the album’s mastering process. According to the producer, DMX is nearly finished with the 14 songs selected for the album, which will also feature production work from Ruff Ryders Swizz Beatz and PK.

DMX’s management firm said the rapper who likens himself to a canine will soon see how much love Whitney Houston really has for thugs, as he has reached out to Mrs. Bobby Brown to sing on a song he’s dedicating to his late grandmother. Although Houston’s label, Arista, couldn’t confirm her participation, Grease said ’80s R&B queen Stephanie Mills and crooner Jaheim are onboard for the album, singing the hooks of two different songs. Big Stan, who’s signed to DMX’s Bloodline imprint, will also make an appearance.

“We got some bangin’ party joints, but it’s an album that’s going back to his roots,” said Grease, who has four tracks on the album, including “TrinaMoe,” which he describes as sounding futuristic and gutter. “It’s well-rounded.”

DMX’s label, Def Jam, said he may be going on tour this summer, but no dates have been confirmed. The Ears is scheduled for a September release.

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