Release.
Grand Champion

  • Date
    Sep. 15, 2003
  • Catalog
    Grand Champion
  • Genres
    Hip-hop
  • Artists
    DMX
Grand Champion

Champion. A Grand Champion.

For his fifth album in six years, the veteran rapper reprises many of the same themes and motifs that had made his previous efforts so popular among hardcore rap fans. As usual, he barks at his unnamed adversaries over hard-hitting Ruff Ryder beats, flexes his rhetorical muscle with his ever-confrontational rhyme style, advocates valor and faith while disdaining materialism, and frames his world within a polarized context, drawing a bold line between “dogs” and “cats.” However, the initial impact that DMX made with his tremendous and industry-changing debut, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot (1998), lessened with each successive follow-up, and Grand Champ is no exception. It’s a well-crafted and thought-out album but feels like a sequel, and as such, it serves its purpose: to satisfy fans and move units. The anthemic lead single, “Where the Hood At,” is precisely modeled after previous DMX rallying calls like “Ruff Rider Anthem,” “What’s My Name?,” and “Who We Be.” Likewise, “Get It on the Floor” is a trademark Swizz Beatz club-banger — and a remarkable one at that, perhaps one-upping even “Party Up (Up in Here).” Grand Champ closes sentimentally: “Don’t Gotta Go Home” is a fractured-relationship duet with Monica that’s prime urban crossover material; “A’Yo Kato” is a heartfelt ode to a lost dog with a shuffling, almost Latin beat by Swizz Beatz; and “Thank You” is a rousing gospel-rap tune featuring Patti LaBelle that’s surprisingly effective and closes the album with magnificent flair.