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Grand Champ

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Album Review

It's often said that you can't teach an old dog new tricks, and that maxim certainly holds true for the self-professed Grand Champ of canines, DMX, on his album of the same name. For his fifth album in six years, the veteran rapper reprises many of the same themes and motifs that had made his previous efforts so popular among hardcore rap fans and influential among his East Coast peers. As usual, he barks at his unnamed adversaries over hard-hitting Ruff Ryder beats, flexes his rhetorical muscle with his ever-confrontational rhyme style, advocates valor and faith while disdaining materialism, and frames his world within a polarized context, drawing a bold line between "dogs" and "cats." By this point, the scenario should be familiar to those who've followed DMX this far into his career; in many ways, his albums are mirror images of each other, in terms of drama, production, ideology, sequencing, and thankfully, to an extent, quality. However, the initial impact that DMX made with his tremendous and industry-changing debut, It's Dark and Hell Is Hot (1998), lessened with each successive follow-up, and Grand Champ is no exception. It's a well-crafted and thought-out album but feels like a sequel, and as such, it serves its purpose: to satisfy fans and move units. The anthemic lead single, "Where the Hood At," is precisely modeled after previous DMX rallying calls like "Ruff Rider Anthem," "What's My Name?," and "Who We Be." Likewise, "Get It on the Floor" is a trademark Swizz Beatz club-banger — and a remarkable one at that, perhaps one-upping even "Party Up (Up in Here)." Grand Champ closes sentimentally: "Don't Gotta Go Home" is a fractured-relationship duet with Monica that's prime urban crossover material; "A'Yo Kato" is a heartfelt ode to a lost dog with a shuffling, almost Latin beat by Swizz Beatz; and "Thank You" is a rousing gospel-rap tune featuring Patti LaBelle that's surprisingly effective and closes the album with magnificent flair (if not for the obligatory bonus track). Yet it's a long road to this sentimental closing run; for every one of the aforementioned highlights, there's at least one, if not two, run-of-the-mill tracks that warrant no more than a couple listens. Not quite the big comeback DMX needed at this point in his quietly sagging rap career, Grand Champ regardless has its share of highlights. Longtime fans may decide to drop off at about this point, if they hadn't already, while those content with the usual — or new to DMX — should find plenty to savor on Grand Champ.

Customer Reviews


There's some stupid people/haters writing reviews so I'm gonna help everyone out. This is a solid album. Where the Hood At is a traditional DMX hit. Shot Down with 50 is also a great song. I believe I heard that A 'Yo Kato is a tribute to Big Pun, but if it's not it's still a really good smooth song. Get it On the Floor, Rob All Night, The Rain, ok 90% of the album is good. If you're a fan of X you probably don't need me to tell you to buy this cause you already have it. Definitely a good purchase with all the fake/commercial rappers that are out there. DMX has a raw street flare and style; he doesn't make music for the radio. He makes songs for himself and his fans, he doesn't cater to the mass markets which is why you probably haven't heard most of this album. Have you EVER heard anyone try to diss DMX??? NO!!! Cause it's the truth that he was the best battle rapper coming up and everyone in the game respects him. So if you like rap from the heart, become a DMX fan. If you want stuff to play for your parents you can skip his stuff. lol

IMO DMX's worst album...

But that says nothing cause it still gets 5 stars b/c even though its his worst, it's very good

not one of my favs..yet still awesome

this album is not one of my favs but i stll have half the songs from him...i have at least 70 X songs on my ipod


Born: December 18, 1970 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

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

Following the deaths of Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G., DMX took over as the undisputed reigning king of hardcore rap. He was that rare commodity: a commercial powerhouse with artistic and street credibility to spare. His rapid ascent to stardom was actually almost a decade in the making, which gave him a chance to develop the theatrical image that made him one of rap's most distinctive personalities during his heyday. Everything about DMX was unremittingly intense, from his muscular, tattooed...
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Grand Champ, DMX
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