DMX Won a $1 Million Bet By Recording an Album in Less Than a Month

DMX was a prolific rapper and one of the most respected artists in hip-hop history. He’ll be remembered for his dedication to his craft and his humble attitude regardless of how famous he got. The “X Gon’ Give It to Ya” rapper hit the ground running after his career took off in the late 1990s and never looked back.

DMX outside of New York courthouse
DMX | John Lamparski/Getty Images

DMX’s debut album ‘It’s Dark and Hell is Hot’ was a hit

DMX put in a decade of work as an underground rapper in New York before he signed a record deal in the late ’90s. He released his debut album It’s Dark and Hell is Hot in 1998 and the whole industry took notice of the Yonkers-bred rapper.

It’s Dark and Hell is Hot included hit singles such as “Get At Me Dog,” “Ruff Ryders Anthem,” and “How’s It Goin’ Down.” The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart. DMX was a new star in the hip-hop scene, and he would only continue to grow and work harder after that.

DMX in a Never Die Alone promo shoot
DMX | Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

DMX got a $1 million for ‘Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood’

Fresh off his smash debut, record executives at Def Jam wanted to see DMX replicate his success for his sophomore effort. According to Urban Legends, label exec Lyor Cohen offered $1 million of Def Jam’s money if DMX was able to write and record another album in 30 days.

DMX accepted the challenge without a second thought and his team got to work. He put in hours of work every day recording and mixing new songs in studios from Yonkers and Manhattan to Miami and Los Angeles. And in just one month, his second album Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood was done.

In a 2016 interview with The Fader, DMX admitted the million-dollar bonus was the source of his motivation for Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood. “That was the whole drive,” he said. “I wanted to get that bonus. So I wasn’t playing with that whole studio sh*t. I wanted to get it out.”

DMX with his arms wide open
DMX | Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

DMX Had Major Issues With the Music Industry

‘Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood’ was the predecessor to DMX’s biggest album

Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood debuted at number one on the Billboard albums chart, making DMX the first hip-hop artist in history to have two albums debut at number one in the same year.

After a phenomenal breakout year, DMX went on to top himself less than a year later. Following the success of Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, the “Slippin'” rapper released his third album ...And Then There Was X in December 1999. The album included Billboard hit singles “Party Up” and “What’s My Name” and debuted at number one on the albums chart, extending his number-one album streak to three in a row.

…And Then There Was X became DMX’s best-selling album, earning a 5-times platinum certification for over five million records sold.