DMX will always be remembered as a legendary rapper with many hit songs under his belt. He had a longstanding relationship with record producer Swizz Beatz, who has taken to social media to pay tribute to the hip-hop great in the wake of his sudden and tragic death in April 2021.

DMX and Swizz Beatz are both from New York

Both DMX and Swizz Beatz came up around the same time in the same hip-hop scene. Swizz Beatz grew up in the Bronx, while DMX grew up not far away in Yonkers.

DMX had a difficult childhood that consisted of abuse at home, drug addiction, and legal troubles. Despite being incarcerated several times over the years, DMX always projected positivity into the world and sought to speak truth to power in his music.

Swizz Beatz began DJing and producing tracks as a teenager in the Bronx. His uncles Waah and Dee Dean were co-CEOs of the Ruff Ryders Entertainment record label, which at the time included the upcoming rapper DMX.

Swizz Beatz’s first song ever was DMX’s hit single ‘Ruff Ryders’ Anthem’

With the blessing of his uncles and the rest of the Ruff Ryders crew, Swizz Beatz began his career as a producer at age 16. Just a year later, he sold his first beat to Ruff Ryders, which eventually became DMX’s breakout single “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem.”

According to the prolific producer, DMX wasn’t impressed with the beat at first. “I made the ‘Ruff Ryders’ Anthem’ beat in Atlanta,” he recalled in a 2011 interview with Complex. “That track was the perfect blend [of New York and Atlanta rap] which was awkward and different at the time because nobody had ever heard anything like that.”

“DMX didn’t want to do it,” he continued. “He was like, ‘Man, that sounds like some rock ‘n’ roll track; I need some hip-hop sh*t. I’m not doing that. It’s not hood enough.” 

‘Ruff Ryders’ Anthem’ was a hit for DMX and for Swizz Beatz

After some encouragement from the other Ruff Ryders, DMX recorded “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” and changed both his and Swizz Beatz’s lives forever. The song was released just a week before DMX’s number-one debut album It’s Dark and Hell is Hot in May 1998.

DMX’s career took off; by the end of the year, he released his follow-up album, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood. The following year, he released his best-selling and third number-one album …And Then There Was X and had solidified his place in the pantheon of iconic New York rappers.

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