HipHopDX has decided not to give Redemption of The Beast an actual score due to DMX and his management team’s opposition to its release. Details on the legal issues between Seven Arts Entertainment and X are forthcoming. With that in mind, we’ve decided to give those still interested in purchasing the album currently available digitally from various outlets an honest critique of the product itself as released by the media company.
“It’s all good, no stops, no breaks, one drop, one take,” barks DMX on Redemption of The Beast intro “Spit That Shit.” Setting the tone for a project composed of unreleased material, one should know exactly what to expect here. Something that’s so raw, there’s a lack of polish. With that in mind, it makes perfect sense why the Yonkers emcee wanted to distance himself from the project according to recent news. Therefore, the blame for this abomination isn’t solely X’s. Accountability lies with controversial media company Seven Arts Entertainment. For those uninformed, the outlet’s record label arm released the universally panned Undisputed as part of a deal involving master recording acquisitions from both X and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s catalogue. That album was an average yet noble attempt at a failed comeback when let loose upon the world nearly three years ago. Redemption of The Beast gives the impression of either purposely scrapped material from Undisputed or unfinished sessions that’ll never see its true potential. Regardless, the album overwhelmingly feels like a quick cash-in that neither X, his management team nor frequent Ruff Ryder collaborator Swizz Beatz want to associate themselves with.
Who could blame them?
Redemption of The Beast is spoiled past its expiration date. Between the usual woofs, growls and drug induced babel, Earl Simmons treads the same exact water he’s known for since It’s Dark and Hell is Hot. There isn’t a better example than “Built Like A Bitch” and “Solid” featuring Ram-Page. Those visceral bars that once felt vicious, lose their bite too often, unfortunately. To be specific, some come off unintentionally comical. Things get progressively worse whenever X tries his hand at singing hooks. For some reason, he fails to understand that viral renditions of “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” or Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile” don’t necessarily grant permission for cringeworthy vocals. No matter how aspirational “Get Up and Try Again,” “Shout It” and “I’m Gonna Win” sounds, it feels like an uncomfortable sonic equivalent to shower karaoke. Redemption of The Beast lends itself to incredibly outdated production running from early 2000 era boom-bap to horrid rock inspired “We Gonna Make It” and “It’s A Problem.” Adding to those soggy beats are imbalances between vocals and instrumentals which assumingly could make bad mixing the culprit. Ironically, original Undisputed track “Love That Bitch” is shows up again through a “remastered” version.
Swizz Beatz’s only production makes one thankful for an era of 99cent downloads as “56 Bars” is the perfect appetizer for whatever those two current have cooking. That leads into Redemption of The Beast’s second best moment “Where You Been” featuring Freeway. Despite those horribly sung vocals, it’s entertaining enough to be the closest X will probably get to “Party Up” part deux; plus, samples of Herman Kelly & Life’s “Dance to the Drummer’s Beat” never gets old.
There’s cliched quote proclaiming things getting worse before turning around for the better. Redemption of The Beast is an unfortunate addition to DMX’s legacy. The project is a compilation that really shouldn’t have seen the light of day. Sadly, it has anyway. Only the unshaken DMX fan will gain enjoyment in it. Everyone else is better off waiting for the “real” project he has coming with Swizzy.