In the late 1990s, DMX signed to Def Jam and released his major label debut It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot… but Diddy apparently tried to swoop in and offer him more.
In a recent episode of N.O.R.E.’s podcast, Drink Champs, the New York rap legend told the story of how he almost ended up on Bad Boy Records.
X says he actually had a meeting with Puff Daddy first, but the mogul dismissed him as “not marketable.” However, after hearing to Def Jam’s interest , he changed his tune.
“One thing I respect about Puff is that at least he told me to my face what he felt,” DMX explained. “[Ruff Ryders executive] Dee told Puff, ‘If you like the Lox, you’re gonna love X.’ I spit, or whatever, and he was like, ‘Uhh. His voice too rough and you’re not marketable.’ [I] didn’t like it, but I had to respect it.”
Three weeks later, Puff offered to double what he had on the table with Def Jam, but X ultimately turned it down.
“He was like, ‘I’ll lace your pockets. I’ll double what they gave you and lace your pockets’. Nah, homie, ’cause if you didn’t see the beast that I was then… I respect that about Puff,” he adds. “A lot of muthaf*ckas, they send you on a wild goose [chase]. They won’t tell you [no]. They’ll be like, ‘Call me later.’ I respect the fact that he told me to my face. ‘You know what? Your voice is too rough and you’re not marketable.’ ”
Without Diddy, DMX would go on to have major success in the music industry. To date, he’s sold more than 17.1 million albums in the U.S. and much more worldwide. His 1998 debut, It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot, sold more than 4 million copies, helping launch him into the mainstream and make him a rap superstar.
X went on to release five more multi-platinum projects.