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Ruff Ryders: Ryde or Die, Vol. 1

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Album Review

Ruff Ryders, the production team behind DMX's first two platinum-plus albums, made their bid for superstardom with Ryde or Die, Vol. 1. The trio appeared to be following the blueprint of No Limit's Master P: they've formed their own label, assembled a cast of wide-ranging acts under its umbrella, and surrounded them with a variety of productions by Ruff Ryders associates like Swizz Beatz and DJ Clue? Ryde or Die, Vol. 1 features tracks from established names like the LOX, Jay-Z, Jermaine Dupri, Big Pun, Mase, and DMX himself, plus new signees to the label like Eve and Drag-On. Though several of the track productions are excellent (including the New Orleans horns of "Down Bottom," featuring native-born Juvenile, and the salsa rhythms on "What Ya Want"), the album suffers elsewhere by trying to be everything to everyone. It's got a few hardcore tracks, a few bounce tracks, and a few midtempo R&B tracks, but it's far too scattershot and never jells as it should (two complaints often lodged against No Limit albums). The team saves their best productions for DMX spotlights: the minute-long "Bugout" and the title track.

Biography

Formed: 1999 in New York, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The all-star hip-hop collective/production team Ruff Ryders included CEOs Chivon, Dee, and Waah Dean, producers Swizz Beatz, DJ Shok, and PK, and gold- and platinum-selling rappers DMX, Eve, Drag On, and the LOX (Shawn "Sheek" Jacobs, Jayson Phillips, and David Styles). This incarnation of the Ruff Ryders crafted 1999's Ryde or Die, Vol. 1, which also featured appearances from Big Pun, Mase, Jay-Z, and Jermaine Dupri. Parle, Yung Wun, and Cross & Infa-Red also appeared on Ruff Ryders tracks, with...
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Ruff Ryders: Ryde or Die, Vol. 1, Ruff Ryders
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