dark and h is hot

5 Reasons Why DMX’s Debut Album Is A Classic Album

This week marked the 15th anniversary of DMX’s debut album It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot. The dark, raw offering introduced the world at large to DMX and helped change the late 90s, early 200s hip-hop landscape. Dust off your old CD and revisit why this album is a modern hip-hop classic. ---Sowmya Krishnamurthy

Vocal Delivery
Most rappers bark more than they bite, but for DMX, this was literal. The rapper’s brusque delivery was peppered with his signature dog barks and growls, which to this day, might be some of rap’s strangest ad libs. The album’s lead single, “Get At Me Dog,” was a fitting introduction to the animalistic rapper and proved that the dog was out for rapper blood.

Hardcore Lyrics
Darkness dominated DMX’s lyrical content on the album. Songs like “X Is Coming” were openly violent and horrifying while even introspective cuts like “Look Thru My Eyes” and “Let Me Fly” were depressing as hell. Rapper authenticity was never questioned when it came to Dark Man X; he was rapping bar by bar the bleak and twisted life he led.

Dark ‘N Emo
From the get go, DMX had star quality. The album and its subsequent music videos proved that X could do it all. He was dangerous but also alluring; men wanted to be him and women wanted to be with him. Cuts like “How’s It Goin’ Down” with Faith Evans showed his sex appeal, while retaining his male bravado (Not an easy task). One of the album’s standout cuts, “Prayer (Skit),” was a raw showing of contrition and asking God for guidance. X’s live performances of the affective cut still stand as some of rap’s most moving and by the end of many shows, X would literally be weeping onstage. Like 2Pac before him, DMX was not afraid to show emotion and let it all hang out and fans loved him for that.

Meet Swizz Beatz
Before Swizz Beatz was buying Basquiats and looking cutesy with wifey Alicia Keys, he was just another producer on the Ruff Ryders roster. Swizz, along with Irv Gotti and Dame Grease, produced much of the album, including the aggressively catchy “Ruff Ryders Anthem.” After It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot, Swizz became a go-to producer for the rest of the Ruff Ryder roster and quickly turned into a celebrity in his own right

Def Jam Back
When the album came out in 1998, hip-hop was a landscape of shiny suits (Hi Diddy and Ma$e!) and party rap. It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot brought back gritty street rap and helped usher in new life into Def Jam Records. Soon thereafter, DMX, Jay-Z and Ja Rule would make Def Jam into a powerhouse and burn those shiny suits once and for all.

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Schoolboy Q Drops New Album 'CrasH Talk'

Schoolboy Q's new album, CrasH Talk is here. The rapper's fifth studio album arrived on Friday (April 26).

The album is comprised of 14 tracks and features special appearances from Travis Scott, Ty Dolla $ign, 21 Savage, YG, Kid Cudi, Lil Baby, and 6lack. It includes the pre-released track, "CrasH."

According to Q, this wasn't the first version of his album. He actually canned two albums because "they were trash." At the time, he said he was going through a lot of lows in his life. "I'd be in the house smoking weed, just waiting to go to the studio every day," Q told GQ. "That's not a good life. That brings on depression."

It was his fellow TDE members Kendrick Lamar and Jay Rock that inspired him to keep working on the album. And the rest is history. CrasH Talk follows 2016's Blank Face. Stream the new project below.

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Wendy Williams Reportedly Hires New Manager After Firing Estranged Husband

Wendy Williams hired a new team members after splitting from her estranged husband, Kevin Hunter, earlier in the month and firing him as her manager.

Veteran producer Bernie Young has signed on as Williams’ manager and executive producer of The Wendy Williams Show, Page Six reports. Young replaces Williams’ estranged husband who was reportedly booted as executive producer of the show after she served him with divorce papers.

Young worked as co-executive producer of the Rosie O’Donnell Show from 1996 until 2002, and Martha Stewarts’s talk show, Martha, from 2005 until 2012.

Williams split from Hunter amid rumors that he had been cheating on her for several years with a woman named, Sharina Hudson. Hunter and Hudson allegedly welcomed a child together late last month. Williams supposedly gave Hunter only 48 hours to move out, and cut off his funds.

Following news of the split, Hunter released a statement apologizing to Williams. “I am not proud of my recent actions and take full accountability and apologize to my wife, my family and her amazing fans,” he said. “I am going through a time of self-reflection and am trying to right some wrongs.”

Aside from a few jokes and flirty comments, Williams hasn’t said much about the split from Hunter. The 54-year-old daytime talk show host, who has battled drug addiction, announced that she was moving out of the sober house that she had been living in following a reported relapse.

 

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California Approves Bill Banning Racial Discrimination Based On Hairstyles

California is set to become the latest state to ban racial discrimination based on hairstyles. Senate Bill 188, also known as The Crown Act, was introduced by state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) in January and unanimously approved in a 37-0 vote Monday (April 22).

The bill outlines the proximity between race and hair and how the history of the U.S. has been “riddled with laws and societal norms” that equate  “blackness’” which includes physical traits such as “dark skin, kinky and curly hair” with inferiority, and therefore subjecting black people to “separate and unequal treatment.”

“This idea also permeated societal understanding of professionalism,” Morgan states in the bill. “Professionalism was, and still is, closely linked to European features and mannerisms, which entails that those who do not naturally fall into Eurocentric norms must alter their appearances, sometimes drastically and permanently, in order to be deemed professional.

“Despite the great strides American society and laws have made to reverse the racist ideology that Black traits are inferior, hair remains a rampant source of racial discrimination with serious economic and health consequences, especially for Black individuals,” Morgan continues.

Furthermore, dress codes and grooming policies prohibiting “natural hair” have a “disparate impact on Black individuals as these policies are more likely to deter Black applicants and burden or punish Black employees than any other group.”

The 1964 Civil Rights Act banning racial discrimination extends to afros as well, but doesn’t include other hairstyles. As pointed out in SB 188, “courts do not understand that afros are not the only natural presentation of Black hair. Black hair can also be naturally presented in braids, twists, and locks.”

Although the bill has yet to be signed into law, the state isn't alone in making moves to end the racist bias against natural hair. In February, New York City passed a similar bill in February imposing a $250,000 penalty for hair discrimination.

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