The latter part of the 1990s was a time where Def Jam Records began to shine. After years of struggling to compete with and match the success of the rise and explosion of West Coast rap music, the label refocused its energies on a myriad of burgeoning rap stars from New York, including a Yonkers-reared talent who called himself DMX. D would ultimately make history as the first rapper to release two number one albums alive (while 2Pac was the first-ever rapper with All Eyez on Me and The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, he had infamously passed before the latter album was released) by the same name in under a year with 1998’s It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot and Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, then going multi-platinum again with 1999’s … And Then There Was X.
By 2000 DMX was one of rap’s royalty, and while overseas he stopped by Tim Westwood’s hugely popular radio show. Fans would be treated to a brief freestyle from the Dark Man over his own backdrop for “It’s On,” lyrics of which would ultimately become the song “Who’s Next” from DJ Clue’s The Professional 2 album (also on Def Jam). It was that sweet spot in music where hip hop would become the most popular sound of its time, and DMX was destined to go down as one of the greats.