Flesh Of My Flesh Blood Of My Blood
Def Jam Records, 1998
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/11/2000
It's been some time since rapper DMX made an appearance on "The Daily Vault" - the last time was for his excellent third album ...And Then There Was X. Shortly after that review, I had the good fortune of landing DMX's first two albums in an eBay auction, hoping that what I had heard on the most recent work was the continuation of a streak of excellence.
Well, close. DMX's debut release, Flesh Of My Flesh Blood Of My Blood has a lot of the promise that would manifest itself into what we have today, but this work is a little clouded and unsure of just where DMX wanted to take things.
Make no mistake, DMX shows early on that he had the chops to be a contender for the gangsta rap throne vacated when Tupac Shakur was tragically gunned down, both in songwriting and in rap delivery. What is also intriguing about DMX is that he is one of the few rappers who dares to actually do some singing, mostly in the choruses. It is almost like he is injecting a little bit of r&b into the mix, and is a wonderful change of pace.
Flesh Of My Flesh Blood Of My Blood isn't quite the firecracker that you would expect. Tracks like "Bring Your Whole Crew," "Ain't No Way" and "Keep Your Shit The Hardest" are impressive, showing DMX's plentiful rap skills. What is also intriguing is his constant battle between good and evil, illustrated in songs about trying to break a deal with the devil ("The Omen") and pleading with God for a chance to redeem himself ("Ready To Meet Him").
Yet there is still some growth that DMX needed to do musically. Some of the interludes (and not all are listed) get a bit tiring, including the mother pleading for the life of her son and the gang hits. A good portion of the second half of the album doesn't really contain DMX's strongest material; tracks like "Blackout" and "Dogs For Life" fail to live up to their full potential. And do my ears deceive me, but is there actual bleeping going on in "Slippin'"? Why bother blocking out the words on an album that already has the Parental Advisory sticker - or was it that DMX was hoping this was a track that would get radio play?
Flesh Of My Flesh Blood Of My Blood still is an intriguing album, and shows that DMX was well on his way to becoming one of today's most exciting rappers. And while this album shows that he was still making the journey, he had learned many of his lessons well.