So far in the First Week Album Series, we’ve covered  Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Kanye West, Nas, Eminem, Young Jeezy, The Game and Rick Ross. This time Stop The Breaks is going to look at DMX’s first week album sales run from the beginning until now.

There are very few rappers out there who have managed to consistently drop commercially successful projects like DMX. He might not be in the same position as he was back in the late ’90s and early 2000s but DMX has done enough in his career to leave a lasting impact on the rap game.

From his debut album, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot, to 2012’s Undisputed, Stop The Breaks ranks DMX’s first week album sales from best to worst.

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1. …And Then There Was X

Released: December 21, 1999

Label: Ruff Ryders, Def Jam

First Week Album Sales: 698,000

Just a year after DMX crushed the rap game with his double release, the Yonkers rapper was back on his shit. With three singles “What’s My Name?,” “Party Up (Up in Here)” and “What These Bitches Want,” X had the streets, the charts and the clubs on lock.

…And Then There Was X debuted on top of the charts upon release, selling 698,000 units in its first week album sales. The album was certified 4x platinum a year later and was nominated for the Best Rap Album at the 2001 Grammys after the committee slept on X the previous year. DMX season was officially in.

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2. Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood

Released: December 22, 1998

Label: Ruff Ryders, Def Jam

First Week Album Sales: 670,000

After his first album, It’s Dark and Hell is Hot, lit the rap industry on fire and damn near singlehandedly saved Def Jam from bankruptcy, DMX was back in the studio.

The album’s lead single, “Slippin’,” was different from X’s previous, more aggressive singles and showcased a more vulnerable side to the rapper. When Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood dropped in December of ’98, a mere 7 months after his debut, the album topped the charts, selling 670,000 copies in its first week album sales.

With this feat, DMX was the second rapper to have two albums debut at number one on the charts – 2Pac was the first.

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3. The Great Depression

Released: October 23, 2001

Label: Ruff Ryders, Def Jam

First Week Album Sales: 439,000

By his fourth album, DMX has established a very successful formula – hardcore rap songs mixed in with anthemic singles. Even though The Great Depression is far from X’s best record, fans still came out in flocks to support him – the album debuted (yet again) at number one of the charts, selling 439,000 copies in its first week.

As if that wasn’t enough, The Great Depression was certified platinum by the end of the year – just a few months after it was released.

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4. Grand Champ

Released: September 16, 2003

Label: Ruff Ryders, Def Jam

First Week Album Sales: 312,000

By 2003, DMX was on top of the world and this hip-hop shit was looking just too easy for him. X’s previous four albums debuted on top of the charts and each one went on to sell millions more copies – Grand Champ wasn’t going be much different.

With the call-to-arms single, “Where the Hood At?,” setting the stage, Grand Champ debuted on top of the charts, moving over 300,000 copies in the first week album sales.

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5. It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot

Released: May 12, 1998

Label: Ruff Ryders, Def Jam

First Week Album Sales: 251,000

New York hip-hop in ’98 was dominated by two camps. On one hand you had Puff Daddy and his Bad Boy cohorts burning up the charts and locking down the radio with smash hit after smash hit. On the other hand you had Jay-Z and his Roc-A-Fella team with their eye on the throne.

In between both camps, you had DMX quietly scheming an industry takeover. The warning shot took the form of the classic “Get at Me Dog” – one of the greatest hip-hop singles of all time. DMX singlehandedly established a commercially viable alternative to Puff and Jig, proving to the rap industry that fans were willing to drop money on that street shit.

Def Jam released It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot a couple months after “Get at Me Dog” and it was an unbelievable success, moving 251,000 copies in its first week album sales and debuting on top of the charts.

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6. Year of the Dog… Again

Released: August 1, 2006

Label: Ruff Ryders, Sony Urban, Columbia

First Week Album Sales: 125,000

DMX’s 2006 album, Year of the Dog… Again, was the first time the cracks started to show in the rapper’s indomitable character. It was also DMX’s first release not to have debuted on top of the Billboard Top 200 – his first five albums had set the record. Lastly, after leaving the label due to creative differences, it was X’s first album not to be on Def Jam.

At the time, hip-hop was shifting away from the streets and more towards more diverse artists like Kanye West and Lil Wayne. The album’s two singles – “We in Here” and “Lord Give Me a Sign” – didn’t have much success on the charts so when Year of the Dog… Again dropped, it only managed to move 125,000 units – a respectable number but a shadow of DMX’s past track record.

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7. Undisputed

Released: September 11, 2012

Label: Seven Arts Music, Fontana

First Week Album Sales: 17,000

Unlike other veterans such as Nas or Jay-Z who achieved steadily better commercial success later in the years, DMX came into the game on fire and in the past few years his commercial prowess has waned.

DMX’s last album to date, 2012’s Undisputed, might be one of the biggest let down moments in hip-hop. After going six years without dropping a record, DMX announced that he was back in the studio with longtime collaborators, Dame Grease and Swizz Beatz, and getting ready to drop an album.

Unfortunately, in a hip-hop landscape dominated by Drake, Kanye West and Lil Wayne, DMX’s gruff persona and grimy street rhymes didn’t mesh well – Undisputed only 17,000 units in its first week album sales and did not put X back on the comeback trail as so many had hoped.

More in the Rapper First Week Album Sales series:

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Written by Hao Nguyen
Stop The Breaks is an independent music marketing company focused on showcasing independent hip-hop artists. Our goal is to help motivate, inspire and educate independent artists grinding around the world. We provide branding, content marketing, social media, SEO and music promotion services.