As Griselda, Griselda Records’ members Westside Gunn, Benny the Butcher and Conway the Machine finished DMX’s new song, “Hood Blues.” It’s the lead single from DMX’s upcoming posthumous album Exodus.
Although it’s credited to DMX, the late rapper only shows up on the last verse. That said, Westside Gunn, Benny and Conway all bring the group energy necessary to pay tribute to DMX’s influential style. It has a jazzy instrumental produced by Swizz Beatz and Avenue Beatz. The lyrics are standard brags and allusions to living in the hood.
On DMX’s verse, he comes in with “I grew up at the dark side, apartheid/Where goin’ against the grain’ll get you kidnapped and hogtied.” He sings about being fearless and shedding blood, closing with “Built for war, raw, this .44 will hit you through the door/You exist no more/I done punk’d more n****s than Ashton Kutcher/It’s Westside, Conway, X, Benny the Butcher.”
DMX passed away in April following a cardiac arrest. He was 50 years old. The legendary rapper began work on the album in 2019 after having been released from prison, where he had been for a year due to tax fraud. Snoop Dogg had claimed that DMX recorded the album at his studio in Los Angeles after their Verzuz battle. “He actually did his whole album at my studio when we finished Verzuz,” He stated. “He never left, he stayed in L.A. and rented my studio out and did his whole album. I cooked for them, I laid it out for ‘em. I made it feel like ‘mi casa es su casa.’ That was the best moment, that he felt comfortable enough to do his album at my spot and he didn’t leave L.A. until it was done.”
Swizz Beatz officially announced the album and revealed its artwork in early May. He added, “My brother X was one of the most pure and rare souls I’ve ever met. He lived his life dedicated to his family and music. Most of all, he was generous with his giving and loved his fans beyond measure. This album, X couldn’t wait for his fans all around the world to hear and show just how much he valued each and every single person that has supported him unconditionally.”
Exodus will be DMX’s eighth studio album and his first since 2012’s Undisputed. It will also be the first to be released on Def Jam since his 2003 classic Grand Champ, which produced his hit “Where the Hood At.”
The last music that Griselda had released together was a single called “Fire in the Booth, Pt. 1.” They had shared their debut record, WWCD, in 2019. Since then, Griselda Records founder Westside Gunn has released three albums, including Pray for Paris, Flygod is an Awesome God 2 and Who Made the Sunshine. He has also put out plenty of singles, including “The Hurt Business” with Smoke DZA and Wale.
Benny the Butcher was also featured on Freddy Gibbs’ single “Frank Lucas,” which made it onto mxdwn’s Top Songs of 2020 list. This year, he released an EP called The Plugs I Met 2, featuring “Thanksgiving,” and an album called Trust the Sopranos, featuring “Immunity.” He’s one of the rappers set to play Rolling Loud Miami on July 24, 2021.
Conway the Machine also featured on a Freddy Gibbs song, “Babies & Fools.” He has shared two albums so far this year, If It Bleeds It Can Be Killed with Big Ghost Ltd. and La maquina.