More details about DMX’s unreleased gospel album have been disclosed. In a new profile on the Yonkers rapper, Rolling Stone dove into the makings of the project and the obstacles that halted its release.
X started working on the album in the 2000s back when he lived in Arizona. He teamed up with producer Divine Bars and a local artist named Janyce, who sang the hooks and bridges for “Let Me Be Your Angel” and some of his other songs. In one instance, watching Janyce’s process in the studio reportedly brought him to tears and inspired him to freestyle two of his own verses on the spot. “When he got out of the booth, he was in tears,” she recalled. “He was crying out to the Lord.”
Most of the album, per Rolling Stone, was recorded in one night. The rapper worked with producer Pat Gallo, who was present as he wrote and recorded seven songs in one night, taking breaks to indulge in some crack. In the profile, Gallo admits that he may have “enabled” DMX’s drug use and mentioned the time he took him to the hospital for experiencing breathing problems. The biggest obstacles to releasing the album, however, were X’s legal woes.
During his time in Arizona, DMX had constant run-ins with Sheriff Joe Arpaio. In 2007, after police raided his home and discovered firearms, drugs and some dead and mistreated pit bulls, he was taken into custody and charged with several counts of animal cruelty and felony drug possession. He was also charged for a series of other probation violations in the years following the raid.
Upon X’s release from jail, the record label he was signed to began facing its own issues. Songs from the album were eventually leaked on YouYube, and rights to the album were transferred to Seven Arts Entertainment and later to Canadian businessman Howard Mann, who won the rights to the entire Seven Arts catalog. He has reportedly been in talks with engineers and producers who worked alongside DMX with hopes to release his gospel songs. The estate is not working with Mann on the project, family lawyer Ron Sweeney said in a statement, adding that they have “not authorized the use of DMX’s name and likeness.”
X’s gospel LP Walk With Me Now and You’ll Fly With Me Later was supposed to be a double album with one side featuring raw raps and the other displaying profanity-free music. In the wake of his death, Swizz Beatz teased the future release of a gospel project by X.
“He wanted to end up in the spiritual zone with his music,” he said. “That was like his dream, dream, dream. We gotta try to make that happen.”