CD Review | HIP-HOP

DMX, ‘Undisputed’

It seems like another lifetime when DMX ruled hip-hop with his seething, provocative music. On his comeback after years of self-destruction, he doesn’t come close to recapturing the intensity and glorious contradictions of his best work. Despite excellent beats from some of his Ruff Ryder heyday producers including Swizz Beatz, the MC struggles to tap into the menacing, confrontational bark that made him a star (“Ya’ll Don’t Really Know”). The street thug who kneeled before God has matured into a man beaten by life and looking for guidance. On “Head Up,” he confesses, “I’m sick and I need you to heal me/ I’m lost and looking for the real me/ I’m tired and weary.” Too bad his spiritual depletion is reflected in the diminished flow and the lack of inspired rhymes. A DMX record not fraught with sexual tension or conflicted by the struggle between good and evil feels hollow. This is merely serviceable hip-hop by a guy who sounds like a shadow of himself. (Out Tuesday) KEN CAPOBIANCO

ESSENTIAL “Ya’ll Don’t Really Know”