DMX – “Been To War” (Feat. Swizz Beatz & French Montana)
One week ago, DMX died. The Yonkers rap great had suffered a heart attack after an overdose, and he’d been unresponsive in a White Plains hospital for days. Even before X’s death, as the world waited for news on his condition, there was an outpouring of love for the music that DMX made during his lifetime. That’s still going, and we’ll presumably get a whole lot more music in the weeks ahead. Before his death, DMX had reportedly finished a new album that’s full of superstar guests. Last week, we got “X Moves,” a track that he recorded with an all-star backing band. And now we get another new song, made with a longtime collaborator.
Swizz Beatz was just 19 when he produced “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” perhaps the definitive DMX banger. For years, Swizz worked with X, both during X’s monstrously dominant five-year run and in the years after, when X was clearly struggling. On the new track “Been To War,” Swizz once again plays producer and hypeman for DMX, turning in a honking, pounding beat and urging X on to bloodthirsty catharsis. X responds: “I done been to jail, I done did numbers/ I donе been to hell, I done been under.”
The track isn’t for DMX’s album; it’s for the soundtrack of Godfather Of Harlem, the Forrest Whitaker Epix series. It also features French Montana, whose sleepy verse mostly underlines how much energy DMX still brought to his music at the very end. On “Been To War,” X sounds hoarse and chaotic, but he still has a whole lot of the magnetism that first made him a sensation. Listen below.
A public memorial for DMX will be held at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on 4/24.