Fans of gritty, ultraviolent New York rap rejoice. DMX‘s long-awaited track with the members of Griselda Records, “Hood Blues,” has arrived and it doesn’t disappoint. Opening with a slinky, sinister kick-snare combo and the signature ad-libs of its primary performers — X’s growl and Gunn’s tongue-trilling automatic rifle effects — the new track hearkens back to an era when visiting the wrong neighborhood at the wrong time could result in some pretty unpleasant experiences.
With “Hood Blues” providing a guidepost to the sound of X’s upcoming posthumous album Exodus, fans now have a better idea of what to expect from the Swizz Beatz-produced project, which X’s longtime collaborator played in full for a select group of DJs and fellow industry pros during a private listening session on Zoom last week.
It’s certainly vintage-sounding DMX material, built around a sample of Lee Mason & His Orchestra’s “Shady Blues” and recalling Swizz’s more recent, stripped-down work more so than the raucous, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink synth approach he used earlier in his career. If Exodus continues in the same vein of “Hood Blues,” then it should satisfy longtime X fans and newcomers alike — and, on a personal note, I can’t wait to hear Jay-Z and Nas on a beat in this style, which could bring out the latent chemistry they’ve only rarely been able to tap into.
Listen to “Hood Blues” above. Exodus is out 5/28 on Def Jam.